Grand Rapids Property Division & Spousal Support Attorneys Serving West Michigan

A natural concern when you are going through a divorce is your financial well-being after the divorce. Understanding the laws governing property division and spousal support in Michigan can help relieve your anxiety about finances.

Property Division in Michigan

Michigan is what's called an “equitable distribution” state with regard to the division of marital property. With limited exceptions, all the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered to be the property of the marriage, subject to division on divorce. Parties can and often do agree on their own division of property. If they can't agree, the court will decide. The court strives to make a division that is equitable: not necessarily equal, but fair under all the circumstances. The court will consider fault in the breakdown of the marriage when dividing property.

Property to be divided may be tangible (like a house or car) or intangible (like goodwill in a family business). Certain property is considered separate, and not subject to division in a divorce, like an inheritance received by you or your spouse alone, or property either of you owned before the marriage. Some property can be considered partly separate and partly marital, like a pension fund that was earned before and during your marriage.

Property division issues can be complicated, but the experienced Family Law Solutions team at Plachta, Murphy & Associates is committed to successfully guiding you through the legal process with the support and strong advocacy you need.

Spousal Support in Michigan

In Michigan, what is commonly called “alimony” is referred to as spousal support. Unlike child support, spousal support isn't determined by application of a formula. You and your spouse may agree to spousal support for a length of time, or indefinitely. You may decide on a fixed monthly payment that cannot be modified, or to make the payment or the term modifiable if there is a change in circumstances. You can even agree that neither of you will receive, nor ask for, spousal support from each other. If you and your spouse cannot agree on spousal support the court will decide how much and for how long support will be ordered based on the following factors:

  • The conduct of you and your spouse during the marriage;
  • The length of your marriage;
  • The ability of both you and your spouse to work and support yourselves;
  • The type and amount of property you and your spouse are awarded in the divorce;
  • The age of each spouse;
  • The ability of each spouse to pay spousal support;
  • The needs of each spouse;
  • The health of each spouse;
  • The standard of living you and your spouse established during the marriage;
  • Whether either spouse has other people to support;
  • General principles of fairness, which are determined by looking at all the facts of the situation.

The court is required to make findings on each relevant factor if you or your spouse requests spousal support, but doesn't have to give equal weight to each factor. Although Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, the court can and will consider fault on the part of either party in spousal support decisions.

We invite you to contact Plachta, Murphy & Associates to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our Family Law Solutions team. We look forward to answering your questions about divorce in Michigan and helping you plan for your future.

Family Law Solutions Team: Miles J. Murphy III, Bryan D. Reeder, Vicki A. Poleni, MSW

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