A recent case from the Michigan Supreme Court (Maher v Maher, Court of Appeals No. 287309) has indicated that the appreciation of separate property, such as an investment account, might not be marital property subject to division by the Court, if that appreciation was only “passive” (i.e. the other spouse’s actions had no bearing on or contribution to the appreciation of the asset).
In some cases, determining precisely what is included, and what is not, in the marital estate, can be a very important question. If an asset is included in the marital estate, it is subject to a claim of the spouse in a divorce case. If the asset is not part of the marital estate, it is not part of the marital “pie” that the Court can divide and allocate between the spouses.