Is Social Security Disability Money Considered Marital Property in Michigan Divorce Cases?

By Melanie Jo Triebel

Social Security disability benefits are paid by the federal government to former workers who have become disabled. Depending upon such factors as the length of the marriage and when the benefits were received, these funds may be considered marital or separate property in a Michigan divorce. The right to receive Social Security benefits in the future can also impact other aspects of a Michigan divorce case.

Social Security disability benefits are paid by the federal government to former workers who have become disabled. Depending upon such factors as the length of the marriage and when the benefits were received, these funds may be considered marital or separate property in a Michigan divorce. The right to receive Social Security benefits in the future can also impact other aspects of a Michigan divorce case.

Disability Benefits as Marital Property

In Michigan, the ongoing right to receive Social Security disability payments is not considered marital property, so the court will not divide these benefits between the parties or order that some portion of each future disability check be paid to the other spouse. Disability benefits that were received during the marriage, however, are considered marital property. As with other forms of marital property, Michigan divorce courts will divide these funds equitably between the parties.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Equitable Division

Social Security disability benefits received during the marriage, along with other marital property, will be fairly divided between the divorcing spouses. This does not mean, however, that the division will be equal. The court will consider factors such as the cause of the divorce, who initially acquired the property, the length of the marriage, and which spouse has the greater need, including whether one spouse is disabled and unable to work.

Separate Spousal Benefits

Although one spouse's ongoing disability benefits are not marital property to be divided up or awarded to the other spouse by the divorce court, the non-disabled spouse may be able to obtain his own benefits directly from the federal government. If the marriage lasted at least 10 years, and other legal prerequisites are met, a divorced person may qualify for her own Social Security disability and retirement benefits based upon the work history of her ex-spouse.

Other Implications

Although the ongoing right to disability payments is not marital property, it can and does impact other aspects of the divorce. The court will consider a spouse's right to receive Social Security disability payments as a form of income and part of that spouse's financial condition. As a result, the right to disability payments can influence such things as how the judge divides marital property and whether spousal support or child support is ordered and in what amount.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Financial Gifts in a Divorce

References

Related articles

Divorce Retirement Questions in Michigan

If you're divorcing in Michigan, you may have questions about how your retirement plan and that of your soon to be ex-spouse will be divided. State law determines how Michigan will divide retirement plans upon divorce; however, judges are given leeway as to the division amounts.

North Carolina Considerations in Separation of Assets During a Divorce

Property division is one of the most important issues a divorcing couple faces -- and sometimes one of the most contentious. North Carolina law provides guidelines for North Carolina courts to consider when dividing property, and spouses can reach their own property division agreements instead of asking a judge to decide for them.

Illinios Law Concerning Divorce & VA Pension

Pensions can be one of the most contentious issues in the division of property in a divorce. In addition, they are often one of the most misunderstood aspects of the marital estate. However, Illinois law -- in combination with federal law -- provides clear guidelines for dealing with VA pensions in the event of a divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Divorce & Veterans Disability Pension

When couples consider divorce, one of the first questions that usually arises is who will get what. Couples are often ...

How to Divide Pension Income in a Divorce in Illinois

Illinois couples must split their assets as part of their divorce, and these assets can include many types of ...

Texas Divorce Laws on the Distribution of Pension Income

Before a divorce decree is issued, the court must first make sure any and all marital issues have been resolved, such ...

Tips Regarding a Husband's Retirement Benefits in a Divorce

Financial disputes take center stage in many divorces and a court may decide how a couple must divide their assets ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED