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Michigan Family Law Blog

GM Buyouts and Divorce, Pre-Divorce and Post-Divorce

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Apr 11, 2023 | 0 Comments

The question is how taking a buyout from General Motors might be an issue for a divorcing or divorced individual.  There are a number of factors that will have an impact on this issue as well.  In this blog, I will go through three simple hypothetical situations and explain how the different situations may result in different outcomes.  In reality, each family law case and its outcome is very fact specific so you should consult with a family law attorney before you make the decision.  Please contact us through our website contact or by calling (248) 608-4123 to schedule a consultation if you are considering taking a buyout.

First, if you are divorced and you are not paying spousal support or alimony, then you should be able to accept the buyout without any consideration of your ex-spouse and whether or not the ex-spouse will object.  This is true even if you had to divide your retirement funds in the divorce through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or otherwise.  You are not paying alimony, so you do not have to worry about proving that you should be able to retire or giving your ex a share of the buyout.  Further, as the retirement funds have already been divided, then it should not have any impact on the other side's share of the retirement funds.

Second, if you are not divorced and no divorce has been filed between the parties, then you may be able to accept the buyout and it may be very beneficial to do so.  If you have any alimony case, that is a case where you might be on the hook for spousal support aka alimony, if you accept the buyout and "retire" before your spouse files for divorce, you may be able to avoid paying alimony if one of you later files for divorce.  However, whatever amount you are paid for the buyout will be considered marital funds and subject to equitable division along with all the other assets earned or purchased during the marriage.  Once a divorce is filed, then it becomes much more tricky to retire or quit working if you have been the primary wage-earner during the marriage.

Third, if you are divorced and paying alimony, then you must really meet with an attorney to discuss how to proceed. First, if you are paying alimony, then in order to retire in most cases you will have to prove to the court that you should be able to retire and no longer have to support your ex-spouse.  This can be more difficult than one might believe.  In addition, the ex-spouse would most likely have some claim against a portion of the buyout, arguably the ex should receive a percentage of the buyout equal to whatever percent of the wages constitutes the spousal support.  That means if the wage earner spouse is paying 25% of their gross income to the ex-spouse as spousal support, then even if you are "allowed" to retire, the ex will probably still be awarded approximately 25% of the value of the buyout.

Once again, these cases are all very fact specific, please do not hesitate to contact us through our website contact   or by calling (248) 608-4123 to schedule a consultation with North Oakland Family Law and Mediation, PLC.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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