The rate of divorce has increased over the years, but that does not make the dissolution of a marriage in Michigan any easier. When a marriage ends, you have decisions you need to make that will affect your future and the future of any children you may share with your ex-spouse. Getting the right information is essential for you to make informed decisions.
At North Oakland Michigan Divorce Law and Mediation, our divorce lawyer knows you have questions. We help you understand your rights and responsibilities during this particularly difficult time. Get answers to your questions today and contact us online or at (248) 420-7419 to schedule a consultation.
Uncontested and Contested Michigan Divorces
The divorce process is dependent in part on whether it's contested or not. Uncontested divorces can move along rather quickly when the divorcing couple agrees on property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. When one spouse challenges any of these matters, the divorce becomes contested.
The process will proceed to trial unless the soon-to-be ex-spouses can come to an agreement. Sometimes mediation or another alternative dispute resolution process may be used to help them come to that agreement.
Common Grounds for Divorce
In most states, you do not have to show fault in order to get a divorce. Most divorces today, in fact, are no-fault divorces. There are, however, some divorces where one spouse must or prefer––for strategic reasons––to show fault.
When a marriage is deemed irretrievably broken or the spouses claim there are irreconcilable differences, a no-fault divorce may be sought. An irretrievably broken marriage simply means the couple is unable or refuses to cohabit, and no prospects for reconciliation exist.
Fault-based divorces are seldomly required today, but some people may still wish to pursue a fault-based divorce for a number of reasons, like using it as a factor to obtain a better outcome for property division or spousal support (alimony). Fault-based divorces are far more contentious and this should be taken into account. They can, however, lead to better outcomes in property distribution, alimony, child support, and custody arrangements for the spouse who filed for the dissolution of the marriage.
Property division is a key part of any divorce and involves marital property. Marital property is property acquired or obtained during the marriage as opposed to separate property that the spouse had prior to the marriage or that may be deemed separate property under certain circumstances.
Types of marital property include:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Investment property
- Vehicles, boats
- Retirement accounts
Michigan is an equitable distribution state where assets are divided "fairly" and not necessarily equally.
Spousal Support in Michigan
Spousal support, also commonly referred to as alimony is to make sure the divorce does not result in an unfair economic situation for the dependent spouse. The couple can agree to alimony or the court can order it. Decisions about alimony are made based on many factors, but the more common factors include:
- Health (physical, mental, emotional)
- Potential to earn
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Difference between earning capacities
Child Custody in Michigan
Child custody is one of the most contentious areas of a divorce. It's highly emotional and can cause serious bitterness. Courts prefer both parents partaking in a child's life and, as such, accommodate joint custody, which includes physical and legal custody. In some situations, one parent may have sole custody while the other may have visitation rights. Courts determine child custody based on what is in the child's best interest.
Child Support in Michigan
Both parents are required to provide financial support for their children. Child support is determined according to the Michigan Child Support Formula and Guidelines. It is ordered in almost every case. This is true even when the parents are sharing an equal amount of time with the kids unless the parents agree to waive the child support. In order to waive child support, the parents must state a compelling reason to waive it on the record. Depending on the county and the judge, it would be wise to have an attorney help with this process.
Contact a Divorce Attorney in Michigan Today
There's a lot to consider when you are going through a divorce. The decisions made during this time will impact you and your family's life for a very long time. It's important to get guidance from a family law attorney who will advocate for you and your family. Contact us online or call us directly at (248) 420-7419 to schedule a consultation.