Aspects of Divorce

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Whenever two people decide to call it quits on a marriage, there is a lot that needs to be dealt with. This is especially true if the couple has been together for a considerably long period of time. Dividing and sharing different things often causes strife and fights which is part of the reason why the process takes such a long time.

Divorce Options

There are different options for those who are considering divorce. The first is to agree on every aspect of how you are going to end things. This is known as uncontested divorce. One party files for divorce and the other does not have any aspect that they disagree with. This can also go a step higher where it is described as ‘no fault’ divorce. This is allowed in some states only. In this case, the couple only needs to cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce. Even after agreeing on everything, you would still need to follow the legal process to have the marriage dissolved. While you can do it on your own, it is best to get a divorce lawyer so that nothing slips through the cracks and the divorce is finalized as soon as possible.

The other option is to follow the legal process and go to court if you do not agree on certain aspects of how to dissolve the marriage. This can be very expensive as each party needs to have attorney representation. It can also drag out for months on end.  A cheaper and sometimes faster way of looking for common ground is through mediation. In this case, you get a court-appointed mediator to negotiate the terms of dissolving your marriage. This objective third party is not biased to either side. However, you can still choose to get a lawyer to sit in through the process in order to ensure that your interests are fully represented.

Asset and Debt Division

When you get divorced, you need to figure out who gets what at the end of the day. This includes all marital property including houses, cars, investments and debt. Anything that was acquired during the period of the marriage is up for grabs. However, property acquired before is not considered unless you later changed the ownership to both of you. Gifts such as inheritance are also not considered as marital property unless you used them to acquire marital property.

If you are able to reach a consensus without intervention, you will be able to save on a lot of the money that would have been used in legal fees. Even so, you need to still write this down officially and present it to the court. If you cannot agree on how to divide the property, this will be one of the things argued out in court with the final decision left to the judge.

Spousal Support or Alimony

 

Spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony, is another aspect of divorce. If you have been married for a considerable period of time, your standard of living could have improved as a result of the marriage. Additionally, some people end up forfeiting a source of income to take care of children and run affairs of the family. In such a case, the spouse needs to have monthly upkeep until they can find a new job, gain enough skills to secure a job or until they are married or living with another lover. The amount is determined by a number of factors including:

  • The state of health of the payee

  • The ability of the payer to pay

  • Asset division during divorce

  • Current standard of living

The payer can ask the court to discontinue the alimony or reduce it in amount in case the payee gets re-married, starts living with another lover or gets a job. This, however, is ultimately upon the court and not both parties.

Conclusion

Other aspects such as child custody and support are also part of divorce proceedings if the couple had children. All of these factors are argued out in court during the proceedings and the decision is left to the court. However, if you were able to agree on your own or get a mediator to help in the process, you can still make decisions on how to approach all these issues and then have a lawyer present it to court for legalization. This is much cheaper and involves less fighting and drama. The latter is beneficial, especially for those who have children and would like to protect them from the ugliness that hostility can easily cause.

Spousal Support after Michigan Divorce

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 When you enter into a marriage union, you have separate lives that merge into one. The income earned is considered pooled and it is used to cater to different aspects of the family. Some spouses leave their jobs to take care of the children and raise them. Others are tasked with going to work to bring home the ‘bacon.’ Dynamics change and you might find yourself enjoying a higher standard of living because of your spouse.

During a divorce, all these factors are taken into consideration to sort out any spousal support issues.

Determination of Spousal Support

If you are in amicable terms, you and your spouse can decide on the amount that one of you will pay to the other in spousal support. This needs to be documented and then endorsed in a court of law. You would need a Michigan divorce attorney for this process. If you have agreed on everything, you can use one divorce lawyer since all they need to do is to fill in the form and ensure that the process is followed to the letter. Having a divorce attorney could also fast track things which will lead to fast settlement of your divorce.

In cases where there are disputes, you could choose a court-appointed third party, known as an arbitrator, to come and help facilitate discussions between you, your spouse and your Michigan divorce attorneys. This is much cheaper than going to court. However, if the disagreements cannot be settled, then you would have to go to court and get a judge to determine the alimony to be paid and to whom. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration are:

  •         The spouses’ standard of living
  •         Disability or health complications
  •         The ability to pay
  •         The division of assets during the divorce

How Long Do You Have to Pay?

Ideally, alimony is supposed to help you to get by before you can find a new job. The court will determine whether you have the skills to get a new job or if you would need some time to go back to school or gain these skills in any other way. The payer will then be required to make the payments until the court deems necessary. The standard rule is that alimony payments should stop once the recipient moves in with a lover, gets married or dies. Those are undisputable grounds for continued alimony payment. If you get a job, your ex-spouse might use these as grounds to petition the court to discontinue payments.

For people with disabilities or illnesses that prevent them from working, the payer would be required to make the payments for a lifetime. If the payer happens to die, then proceeds from the estate should be used to offset these payments in a lump sum amount.

Enforcement

Unlike child support, you would not be able to report a non-paying ex-spouse to the authorities. However, you can take them back to court where they might be found in contempt. It does not carry a hefty price such as a jail term.

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Michigan Divorce: Child Support

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At the end of a marriage, many different things come into question since the spouses have to divide everything that they own together. The unfortunate bit about divorce is that it affects children. Parents can get so carried way that they only care about what they want, hurting or ensuring that their partner loses. Often, the children’s needs fall through the cracks. This is what the court system in Michigan divorce cases handles. There are various factors that every court ought to follow in determination of child custody. After child custody, the next step is to determine child support.

What is Child Support?

Child support is the amount paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the purpose of taking care of the children’s needs. Education, clothing, food and shelter are some of the basic children’s needs that need to be met. This requires money and one parent alone may not be able to provide for these. Additionally, children are already accustomed to a certain standard of living before the divorce and this should not be affected in any way. You can consult with your Michigan divorce attorney on this matter.

Who Determines Child Support and How?

The court decides the amount to be paid in child support. This is based on a number of factors including:

  •         The children’s needs
  •         Both parents’ level of income
  •         The ability of the non-custodial parent to pay
  •         The custodial parent’s ability to support the children

With these factors, the judge is able to determine the amount that should be paid and the duration for such payments, which is often monthly. The child support agreement will cover all the details: the amount, time period, date by which the amount should be paid and so on. This makes it hard for either of the parents to exploit the agreement.

In special cases where the mother is the custodial parent and the man denies paternity, then the court has to order for a DNA test first before making the determination. If the man is the father then he is bound by the child support directive as issued by the court.

Violation and Enforcement of Child Support

Late payment and non-payment are considered violations to the child support directive issued by the court. When the custodial parent reports the matter to the police, then a warrant of arrest is issued on the non-custodial parent. The remedy for non-payment or late payment is to redirect tax refunds to the custodial parent. If the non-custodial parent is arrested, they can be charged for being in contempt which can attract a jail term.

At the end of the day, child custody and child support is determined in the best interest of the child. If you do not pay child support, then you are robbing your child of their basic needs. If, also, you are a custodial parent and the non-custodial party does not honor the agreement, you should report them. Failure to do so is denying your child the right to access their basic needs.