Property division: Divorce property Distribution in Michigan.
Michigan’s No Fault Divorce Act and the Process of Getting Divorced Michigan Attorneys That Can Help. Property Division and Alimony
According to Michigan law, the court has the power to award to either party the real and personal estate that the party acquired during the marriage, or the value of that interest in money. As a general rule, the court will start at a 50/50 split and then consider the need to deviate from there. Although many factors can contribute to a need to adjust the property division, if both parties contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the property, the courts will usually order a 50/50 split.
As discussed briefly before Michigan is a “No Fault” State, but fault for the divorce may be considered when dividing property. Fault can be considered infidelity, domestic violence and alcohol, drug or gambling addictions to name a few. Since Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, fault plays a lesser role and in many cases is not even an issue. If your case involves a clear issue of fault, then some additional discovery or investigation will need to be done in regard to the alleged fault. This may include the taking of depositions or possibly hiring a private detective. A private detective can find out a wealth of information in helping to prove the alleged fault. This can be a very expensive process depending on the extent of the investigation.
Placing a value or price tag on assets can be difficult in some circumstances but is never impossible. This is true of almost any asset, ranging from a home business to an antique painting or coin collection. If the value of something cannot reasonably be determined and the parties disagree, a professional appraisal can be done.
Spousal support is another factor that may be considered. Formerly spousal support was called alimony. Spousal support is not a given in any case. Unlike child support which a party who has custody always has a right to, spousal support is subjective. Great discretion is given to the court in allowing spousal support. Different judges have different policies and theories in regard to it. Spousal support is looked at as a compensation for one party in an action who is now hurt by the divorce by giving up the ability to further themselves during the marriage. A court will sometimes use the following factors in determining if spousal support should be awarded:
- The past relations and conduct of the parties;
- The length of the marriage;
- The ability of the parties to work;
- The source of an amount of property awarded to the parties;
- The age of the parties;
- The ability of the parties to pay alimony;
- The present situation of the parties;
- The needs of the parties;
- The health of the parties;
- The prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others;
- General principles of equity.
As with the distribution of assets, the court will try and achieve a “fair and equitable” support award if one is needed. The length of the marriage is usually a major element considered. If the marriage was short and involved no children, support is rarely awarded. In a medium length marriage, support may be awarded for a period of time allowing the other party an opportunity to learn a trade or get some additional education to provide for themselves. For longer term marriage, support will likely be a component. What constitutes a “long term” marriage? Although there is no court rule, twenty years appears to be the minimum.
Michigan Divorce Help have been actively helping Macomb, Wayne and Oakland County families and individuals for over 40 years. At Femminineo attorneys, we offer our clients the utmost in service, attention and access to a local Michigan lawyer who cares.
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