Whether you are the one that asked for the divorce or the decision was mutual, saying goodbye to a marriage can be painful and challenging. Perhaps there are feelings of loss, sadness or failure. Your life and that of your spouse have been intertwined emotionally and financially. The process of unraveling the legal and financial obligations can differ from couple to couple and the decisions made can impact your future.
One of the primary considerations in ending a marriage is how the children will be affected. It may be difficult to come to terms with the notion of having less parenting time with the children. Working through the details of visitation and child support can be a smoother process if both spouses agree on a parenting schedule.
There are two forms of child custody: legal and physical. Within these types both can be sole or joint. To avoid having the court decide the custody of children, it’s recommended that parents construct a parenting schedule. If communication is poor between spouses, each parent can construct his or her own parenting plan and from there, the court can decide.
Because the welfare of the children is of the upmost importance in a divorce, the Michigan court system has mediation available to resolve custody matters.
Child support is calculated according to a basic formula developed by the Michigan court system. There are many factors that contribute to the amount of child support, including:
- The amount of overnight stays
- Tax exemptions
- The income of each parent
- The expenses of each parent for child care costs, including health insurance
Although a mathematical equation is used to deliver the outcome of child support, a judge can intervene and increase or decrease the amount, based on what is in the best interests of the children.
Property division in Detroit, Michigan, as well as the rest of the state considers that any debt or asset acquired while married belongs to both parties. There are exceptions to the rule and careful analysis will determine whether an item is considered marital or separate property.
Division Of Property
An item defined as separate property, such as an inheritance or a birthday gift, is typically not divided upon the dissolution of marriage. The goal of equitable property is to achieve a distribution that makes the division fair and reasonable for both spouses. Equitable division, however, doesn’t mean equal halves. Instead, the court will take the financial needs of each spouse into consideration when dividing property and debt.
As alternatives to divorce, you can also file a separate maintenance action or seek an annulment to dissolve the union.
When you pursue a separate maintenance action with the court system in Michigan, you are dividing assets, determining child custody and dealing with many of the same issues of a divorce. This action is similar to what is called a legal separation in other states, and couples remain married. In a sense, filing a separate maintenance motion can be a trial run to divorce.
In order to marry someone else in the future, further legal action is needed to divorce the current spouse. Some benefits to this process include being able to stay on health coverage a spouse carries or reaping the advantages of a joint tax return.
The court defines a marriage that has been annulled as “void” or “voidable.” Proof is needed to show that grounds for an annulment exist, such as:
- A person was under the age of 16 or between the ages of 16-18 and without parental permission
- One spouse was already legally married at the time of the marriage
- A person was forced into marriage
- The people who are married are close blood relatives
- A person was sterile or impotent
- A person was mentally unstable
A Detroit lawyer can discuss time limits involved in filing for an annulment and the kind of evidence that is needed in court.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In alternative dispute resolution (ADR) the goal is to avoid a costly adversarial trial. This process can work well for spouses that can cooperate and compromise with one another. ADR also requires that couples volunteer their financial records and can remain calm. If the relationship features dysfunctional communication or there is a history of abuse, ADR is not a recommended method to resolve issues.
With matters of the heart, it is often hard to focus on the legal aspects of a situation. Whether you have questions on alimony, child support or how visitation works, an experienced Detroit attorney can help you understand what options will be right for your situation. A divorce attorney can assist you before you sign a contract that may or may not be in your best interests.
How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer
The lawyer you choose can make a difference in the outcome of your situation. When you have the experience and knowledge of a divorce lawyer on your side, you can make sound legal decisions. It’s important to choose an attorney that has success in representing Detroit families transition through the complicated steps of divorce.
At Divorce Knowledgebase, our family law attorneys work proactively with you to understand your case and chart a course of action that makes the most sense for your situation. To begin the divorce process or learn more about the legal steps, fill out the free case review form and we’ll put you in contact with an experienced attorney close to you.