Is husband's income considered marital property in the state of Michigan, and do I have a right to it as his wife?

Asked over 1 year ago - Ann Arbor, MI

I am unemployed due to a lay off. My husband & I have a joint checking account that only his income is going into at this time, as I have no income now . However, he will complain when I do simple things like put gas in my car, etc, stating it is "his money". We got in an argument recently (not involving money at all), and he took all the money out of our joint account, closed the account completely, and put the money in an account in his name only that I don't have access to. He is constantly telling me that all money he makes is HIS money ONLY and I don't have any right to it. I've told him that it's considered marital property and I do have rights to it. He's basically told me I don't have rights to his income our entire marriage. I'm considering divorce. What are my rights?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Laurel Stuart-Fink

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with the comments already made. However, I want to stress also that the rights being described are those associated with filing for a divorce. As long as you and your husband are not in a divorce proceeding, there is no one to enforce your financial interests (like a judge with court orders). Therefore, while he may not have the "right" to take money and hide it from you, there is no practical way to stop him short of filing for divorce. You really need to consult with an experienced family law attorney. One concern I would have is that, if he's already exerted full control over the earnings, what assets can he get his hands on to hide? The longer you let him exercise this type of control, the more difficult the divorce proceedings are likely to become. Protect yourself by seeking a divorce attorney now, and good luck to you.
    Laurel Stuart-Fink
    (248) 626-5450

    This comment is designed for general information only, and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor... more
  2. Patrick J. Crowley

    Contributor Level 5

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The income of either party is technically considered "marital" once it hits a joint account. If your husband prevents his checks from becoming "co-mingled" then he has a much better argument that that money is his separate property. BUT, he does not have a "good" argument for this.

    In the event of a divorce, the Court is going to look to income amounts, not individual behavior to determine alimony and property division. This means that his extremely controlling behavior is MORE likely to yield you a percentage of his income going forward.

    I would definitely recommend you see a lawyer BEFORE mentioning to your husband that you intend to file for divorce.

  3. Henry S. Gornbein

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Hi, Income is not property it is income. It is not his, it is marital and is to be used towards your support as well as his. You do have a right to income through spousal support/alimony depending upon the circumstances. He has an obligation to support you with the income generated by him. I urge you to talk to an attorney for more advice and information. Good luck to you.

    Henry Gornbein

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