Resolving The Most Contentious Issues in a Divorce
There are many reasons why married couples split up. From infidelity and money issues to growing apart and more, the stakes can be high no matter the reason. Whether your divorce is amicable or not, it can be one of the most emotionally and financially taxing experiences in life. When emotions are unstable, and you and your ex-spouse don't see eye to eye on the issues that arise, the process can be more challenging to navigate. With that said, it can also cause many concerns about the process.
However, knowing you have all the answers you need can help you navigate the process easier and give you peace of mind knowing what to expect. Read on to learn what most people want to know about getting divorced.
The Cost of Divorce
One of the top concerns about proceeding with a divorce is the cost. Every divorce case is different, and the costs can vary significantly. A contested divorce may cost more than an uncontested divorce due to more disagreements and negotiations that may need to be made. For example, if you and your ex-spouse own a business together, it can make your divorce case more complex. Here are the differences between a contested and uncontested divorce:
- Contested divorce - when a spouse does not agree with any part of the case, including the divorce, property division, child custody, and distribution of assets.
- Uncontested divorce - when both spouses agree to the proposed resolution of financial matters or other divorce-related issues.
If you are faced with a contested divorce, an experienced family law attorney can explain your rights and the strategies needed to overcome the obstacles.
How to Start the Process
Once you have an idea of the cost and are ready to move forward, you'll probably have many questions about the process. After retaining your lawyer, you can expect the following to happen from start to finish:
- Filing of the divorce petition with the courts
- Filing for temporary court orders in the interim before the divorce is finalized (this may include child support, spousal support, and child custody)
- Serving the divorce petition to your spouse (once your ex-spouse receives the petition, they have 21 days from the date they were served to respond.)
- Negotiation of settlements
- Divorce trial (if the negotiations do not go as planned, it may be necessary to take the case to trial. However, it's best to settle divorce matters out of court, as going to trial can be time-consuming and costly for both parties)
- Judgment of divorce
How Much Child Support Will be Received
If you have children, one of the most common questions is how much child support will be received and how it is calculated. In Michigan, both parents are responsible for supporting their children until they reach 18. The Friend of the Court Bureau has developed a formula for calculating child support and must be used when setting child support agreements. While it can be a useful starting point on determining child support amounts, it's not always accurate and could turn out unfairly should there be other circumstances in which a child may need more support — such as if the child needs special medical care and large amounts of medical expenses are incurred.
How Much Alimony is Allowed
Now more commonly known as spousal support, the state of Michigan allows one spouse to request payment from the other spouse if they can show that there is a financial need and the other party has the means to pay. The following is considered when it comes to determining the amount of spousal support:
- The length of the marriage
- The ability of the receiving spouse to work
- Amount of property awarded and its earning potential
- Age of the parties
- The ability to pay spousal support
- Present and future needs of the parties
- The health of the parties
- The standard of living during the marriage
Although Michigan is a "no-fault" divorce state, the court may consider one party's conduct or "fault" during the marriage. For example, substance abuse or infidelity.
How Assets Will be Split
In Michigan, marital property is split by "equitable distribution," but that does not mean it is divided equally. Equitable distribution means that the property will be divided fairly based on the particular circumstances of your case. In Michigan, property is classified as "marital" or "separate." Marital property is any assets acquired during the marriage, such as homes, cars, retirement accounts, and businesses. Separate property is any assets acquired before the marriage or any property received as a gift or inheritance. This aspect of divorce can be tricky to navigate when it comes to deciphering marital and separate property. An experienced family law attorney can help you sort through the red tape.
How is Custody Determined
Going through a divorce with children to worry about can make the situation more difficult and stressful. However, Michigan laws encourage parents to remain involved in their children's lives, even after a divorce. When deciding on custody in a divorce case, the judge will rule based on the child's best interest. Some of the most common factors that a judge will consider are:
- The emotional ties, affection, and bond that exist between each parent and child.
- The capability of each parent to care for the child by providing food, clothing, medical care, etc.
- Each parent's capacity to give the child love, affection, and guidance.
- How long the child has lived in a stable environment
- The stability of the family unit of the existing or prospective custodial home(s)
- Each parent's moral condition
- The mental and physical health of the children and parents
- Each parent's willingness to encourage the child to continue a relationship with the other parent.
- Domestic violence issues
In the circumstance in which a child expresses custody preference, it may be considered if reasonable.
Who is Responsible for Paying off Marital Debts
Since Michigan follows "equitable distribution" laws, debts are owed by both spouses if the debt was a benefit to the marriage. Examples include debt incurred purchasing food, clothing, childcare, shelter, and household necessities, or debt jointly incurred such as a joint loan or joint property purchase. If one spouse has business debts or a car loan whose title is under their name, that would be considered separate debt.
For more information about the divorce process, read more here:
Considering Divorce? Grewal Law PLLC Can Answer Your Questions.
We understand how difficult it can be to decide to divorce your spouse. Not only is divorce emotionally and financially taxing on you and your ex-spouse, when children are involved, it can also make the ordeal that much more challenging to deal with. With over a century of collective experience behind you, our family law attorneys are here to help you through the legal process. When you have questions and concerns, we are here to give you the answers and protect your rights and the best interests of your children.
Contact Grewal Law PLLC at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a free consultation today.