If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if your spouse has just served you divorce papers, it is time to start learning how divorce works in Michigan. At David G. Moore, Attorney at Law, we can help you. For your information, here are the answers to several frequently asked questions we receive.
How Is Child Custody Determined In Michigan?
As other states do, Michigan law makes the child’s best interests the most important factor in child custody disputes. While most divorcing parents reach an agreement on a custody plan, in some cases the judge must intervene and arrange a custody order. Depending on the factors involved, you and your spouse might share custody, or one of you may receive sole custody, with the other parent getting visitation time reserved.
What About Child Support And Alimony?
State law uses a detailed formula to determine child custody. Factors include the parents’ individual income and wealth, the number of children involved, and their educational and medical needs. In some cases, a deviation from the formula is possible.
Spousal support (also known as alimony) is handled more on a case-by-case basis. If the exes cannot agree on spousal support, the judge will consider things like if there is a large disparity in their current and future income, and when the spouse seeking alimony would be able to support themselves financially, if ever.
How Are Assets And Debts Divided Up?
Michigan is an equitable distribution state. That means divorcing spouses must split up their debts and assets fairly. Note that this does not mean you must divide your marital property exactly 50-50. “Marital property” is anything that you acquired during your marriage or became co-mingled with your spouse’s property, with some exceptions.
Are There Alternatives To Divorce?
Some people would rather change their marital status without going through divorce. One option is legal separation, which is a similar process to divorce, requiring you to divide your assets, determine child custody and child support, and so on. The difference is, you and your spouse are still legally married.
Annulment may also be an option, if there is a reason your marriage is legally invalid, such as fraud, duress or bigamy.