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Michigan Family Law Blog

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Importance of an Ironclad Marital Agreement


How can I ensure I won’t have to pay alimony in a divorce?

The late, great Elvis Presley once sung of a place at the end of Lonely Street called Heartbreak Hotel. And a while she might not feel so lonely she could die, his only child, Lisa Marie Presley, is reportedly going through a difficult divorce at the moment.

She married her fourth husband in 2006 and the couple had twin girls who are now ten years-old. After 10 years of marriage, the couple is in the middle of a contentious divorce. Miss Presley is reportedly now seeking a child custody order granting her primary physical custody of the twins.
Read more . . .


Friday, February 1, 2019

How is Separate Property Determined During a Divorce?


One of the commonly litigated issues in a divorce is the separation of property between the spouses. Michigan follows the equitable distribution theory for dividing property in a divorce. Equitable distribution means “fair” not “equal.” Therefore, when parties cannot agree to a property division settlement, the court determines a fair and equitable division of marital property.

A spouse may argue that certain property is separate property to prevent the court from including the property in the final property division order.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Seven Signs You Should Not Mediate Your Divorce


Mediation can often produce a more satisfactory agreement during a divorce proceeding than allowing a judge who does not know your family to make decisions for you. However, mediation may not work for every couple. There are certain cases and situations in which mediation may not be productive or cost-effective. Our
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

I Inherited Money While I Was Married - Will I Have to Split it in a Divorce?


Property division can be a fiercely litigated issue in a Michigan divorce case. A spouse may disagree about several issues related to property division, including what constitutes marital property.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

What Should I Do If I Am Served With Divorce Papers?


What Should I Do If I Am Served With Divorce Papers?

Court rules allow several ways for one spouse to serve the other spouse with divorce papers.  First, the spouse may mail the paperwork, however this does not count as valid service unless it is done through certified mail, receipt restricted to the recipient spouse and the recipient signs for it.  Second, the spouse may have the paperwork personally served on the other spouse by a professional service agent or law enforcement agent.  Third, the spouse may serve the other spouse's attorney, provided that attorney has entered a formal "appearance" in the divorce case.  Finally, if the spouse is not able to locate the other spouse or the other spouse is avoiding service, the court may order alternate service by posting or publication in a legal newspaper.


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Sunday, January 13, 2019

What Are "Grounds For Divorce" In Michigan?


What Are "Grounds For Divorce" In Michigan?

Michigan is a "no-fault" divorce state.  This means there is only one grounds for divorce in this state based upon the family law statutes.  The legal ground for divorce in Michigan is specifically as follows "there has been a breakdown of the marriage to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved".  In fact, this is the only ground that a person filing for divorce (the plaintiff) is allowed to state in the Complaint for Divorce (the main document that one must file in order to start a divorce proceeding). 

The statute further states that the plaintiff is not allowed to provide a statement involving the graphic details behind the breakdown.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What Happens to Debt In A Divorce?


What Happens to Debt In A Divorce?

The division of marital debt is included in the property division of the judgment of divorce.  In general, debts are treated as negative assets in valuing an overall property award and courts typically allocate them according to the same equitable principles that govern property division in general.

First, the court or the parties (the married couple getting divorced) have to determine whether the debt is separate or marital.  Almost all debt incurred by either party during the marriage are considered marital debts, regardless of which party incurred the debt, even in cases where the other party may not have agreed with or directly benefited from the debt.  There are certain exceptions such as student loan debts and others regarding wrong doing (such as unreasonable gambling debts, debts incurred pursuing an affair and debts related to criminal activity).


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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Will A Court Consider Income From Growing Medical Marijuana In A Divorce?


Will A Court Consider Income From Growing Medical Marijuana In A Divorce?

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently considered this issue in the matter of  Beauchamp v Beauchamp (Unpublished Opinion, October 23, 2018).  In that case, the husband originally ran a drywall business when the parties married, however over time the business morphed into a medical marijuana growing operation.  The wife sought alimony based upon income she alleged her husband earned growing and selling.

The wife's divorce lawyer hired an expert in the field of marijuana plant street value to examine the facility and the plants and provide testimony regarding the practices surrounding the industry.  The trial court put a lot of weight upon the testimony of the expert compared to the testimony of the husband.


Read more . . .


Monday, December 31, 2018

Duking It Out Over Duke


Who gets the dog-- or other pets--in a divorce?

If you’re considering getting divorced in Michigan, you can expect to work through many issues as you separate one household into two separate ones-- though how many will be determined based on your particular circumstances.

One issue all couples have to deal with is property division which, as its name implies, divvies up the couple’s assets.
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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Can A Man Get Alimony In Michigan?


Can A Man Get Alimony In Michigan?

Alimony is alive and well in Michigan, however we refer to it as "spousal support" technically although the terms are interchangeable.  The statutes contemplate a case-by-case approach.  The stated purpose of support is to balance the parties' incomes and needs so that neither party will be impoverished based upon the circumstances of the case.

The court is to consider the following factors when determining alimony:  (1) the past relations and conduct of the parties; (2) the length of the marriage; (3) the abilities of the parties to work; (4) the source and the amount of property awarded to the parties; (5) the parties' ages; (6) the abilities of the parties to pay support; (7) the present situation of the parties; (8) the needs of the parties; (9) the parties' health; (10) the parties' prior standard of living and whether either is responsible for the support of others; (11) the contributions of the parties to the joint estate; (12) a party's fault in causing the divorce; (13) the effect of cohabitation on a party's financial status; and (14) general principles of equity.

Spousal support is intended to allow a party to assimilate into the work force and establish self-sufficiency and does not follow a strict formula.


Read more . . .


Thursday, December 27, 2018

7 Strategies to Reduce Custody Stress This Holiday Season


“It is the most wonderful time of year . . .” However, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. The holidays bring joy, laughter, and delight.
Read more . . .


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