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Holiday Spending, Gifts and Divorce in Michigan

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Dec 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

Typically, when you file for divorce, the court will issue an ex parte order to maintain the financial status quo.  This generally means that both spouses will continue to pay their bills and handle the finances in the same way that they did during the marriage until the divorce is finalized.  These orders can become a problem and questions sometimes arise regarding whether one person's spending is outside the typical financial status quo, such as travel without the other spouse.  One of these issues that comes up during the holiday season is the purchase of gifts for friends and relatives.  This blog is intended to address how this issue can be handled in a Michigan divorce, if you have questions about your own situation, please contact us to schedule a consultation either through our website or by calling (248) 608-4123..

Holiday Spending and Gifts During a Michigan Divorce

Holiday spending on gifts for friends, family or personal travel is an issue that arises in many marriages where one of the spouse's views the other spouse's spending as excessive or unfair.  In some cases, one spouse will spend thousands of dollars on gifts and travel to the point of burdening the family with debt.  There is not much you can do about it while you are married and it may be one of the reasons that leads to filing for divorce.  While the case is pending and until the case is finished, you might be able to do something about it with the assistance of counsel and the courts.   

The best way to handle such issues if you are the spouse that typically buys the presents or schedules the travel, is to seek an agreement from the other spouse when purchasing gifts or scheduling travel with or without the children or the other spouse.  If the other spouse is typically the one that does these things, then you should bring up the issue and at least seek an agreement on a budget for the holidays.  If you reach an agreement, you should contact your attorney to have them prepare an order and If you are unable to seek an agreement, then you should contact your attorney regarding the problem and discuss the best way to proceed.  

Typically your attorney will then contact the other spouse's attorney to attempt to work out how much is really within the typical spending of the parties.  Sometimes due to the costs of the divorce, it is reasonable to decrease the spending for the season in recognition of these added expenses and the need to plan for the upcoming separation of the parties.  If the attorneys are able to come up with an agreement, they will draft an order for both parties to sign and then present it to the judge for signature and entry with the court.  If the attorneys cannot reach an agreement regarding the holiday budget, then depending on how significant the spending issue has been in the past or is anticipated to be while the divorce is pending, either attorney can file a written motion with the court and seek an order restricting the amount of spending from joint accounts.  Once the order is signed by the judge and entered into the system, both spouses will have to abide by the order or risk being held in contempt of court.

If you have any questions or concerns about a possible divorce or separation in your future, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with us either online or by calling (248) 608-4123.  

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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