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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, September 30, 2016

Divorce Laws Vary Widely Between States

How could the state I divorce in impact my legal rights?

Divorce laws are set by the individual states, which has created considerable variability from state to state.  Where you divorce could have an impact on how long the process takes, your property division rights, and more.  The following is a look at a few divorce factors that each state treats differently:

  1. Divorce requirements:  You must meet your state’s residency requirements before you can file for divorce.  Residency requirements range from no requirement to a year or more, depending on the state.  In Michigan, you must have resided in the State for at least six months.  Additionally, many states have restrictions on your ability to seek a no-fault divorce.  In some states, you may need to wait several years from your date of separation to your final divorce.  Fortunately, this is not true here.
  2. Division of assets:  The division of your property in a divorce will depend in part on the state you live.  Most states classify property as either marital or separate.  If you live in a state that follows community property laws, marital assets will typically be split 50-50.  If you live in a state that follows laws of equitable distribution, which includes Michigan, assets are distributed in a fair and equitable manner, which may not mean equal.
  3. Evidence: A financial affidavit is one of the most important things you will need to produce in support of your divorce claim.  This document lists your assets, debts, income, and expenses.  Different states set their own specific requirements for completion of this critical document, and you will need to fully comply with your state’s dictates.  Typically, in Michigan attorneys use interrogatories, depositions or sworn statements.
  4. Alimony:  Alimony or spousal support was once widely awarded as part of a divorce.  Now, many states have passed alimony reform laws that limit the ability of divorcing spouses to receive alimony as well as its duration.  Your state of residency will greatly impact your ability to seek and receive alimony.  In Michigan, alimony is still awarded relatively often, and the court will consider the length of the marriage, the financial situation of each party, and more. 

If you are contemplating divorce, research the laws in your state and consult with one of our licensed Michigan divorce attorneys at Byers & Goulding, P.L.C. by calling 248.608.4123
.


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