The specific allocation and schedule can vary widely depending on the facts and circumstances of each individual case. That calculation sometimes can be difficult and complex, particularly when a spouse owns his or her own business.
Child support guidelines set forth how child support is calculated. Parents must provide support to their children until they turn 18 or graduate from high school. The classification and valuation marital, nonmarital, and mixed assets are often the subject of dispute during a divorce, particularly if there is a professional practice or business involved. Net cash flow available for support is just as important to a spousal support determination as it is to a child support determination.
However, unlike child support, there are no spousal support guidelines. Instead, Michigan courts must consider several subjective factors to balance the incomes and needs of parties in way that does not impoverish either party. A court is required to consider not only the net disposable income of the spouse paying support but also the needs of the recipient, so discovery on this issue often involves a careful expense analysis of pre- and post-divorce lifestyles and needs. It often is extremely helpful to have a client bring in copies of recent tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and other documents bearing numbers that may be lying around the home or office as well as incriminating love notes, e-mails, text messages, Facebook postings, or videotape , but most clients do not bring anything at all to an initial meeting with an attorney.
When clients do bring or at least have such information, it is invaluable, but more often than not, this type of information is not available to the divorcing spouse. What You Know: What a client is able to tell an attorney during an initial interview — even if the information is rough or incomplete — is of critical importance and will guide discovery and investigation throughout the case.
A divorce attorney needs to collect that initial information in a careful and organized manner so that the attorney easily can assess what is available and what is missing or unknown.
From that initial overview, the attorney then can begin to use the available discovery find missing information and complete the financial picture. The initial meeting also will enable the attorney to make an initial assessment about separate property claims arising from premarital assets, assets received as gifts, and inherited assets. If there is a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, the attorney will need to ask questions designed to assess the validity and potential enforceability of the agreement.
These questions usually focus on the financial disclosure made incident to the execution of the document, when the document was signed in relation to the date of the marriage, the circumstances surrounding the execution of the document, changes in circumstances that may have occurred since the execution of the document, among numerous other related questions.
Discovery Plan and Follow Up: From this rough analysis, the attorney then will plan to gather information to bolster or thwart claims related to premarital, gifted, and inherited property.
An attorney may do this informally and privately — by using internet resources, private investigators, and interviews with witnesses, for example — or formally through discovery powers permitted under the Rules of Civil Procedure. These court rules allow an attorney to issue document subpoenas to third parties, take depositions, require written questions to be answered under oath, and enter on to property with advance notice to inspect buildings, equipment, and assets.
In many cases, an initial round of discovery is followed up with a second and sometimes third or fourth round of discovery, until all of the questions raised by the discovery investigation have been answered. Sometimes, attorneys will employ accountants, psychologists, appraisers, forensic experts, and business valuation experts to value business interests and determine disposable income and net cash flow.
Discovery routinely takes anywhere from three to six months. Sometimes, cases are settled through confidential mediation sessions with a private mediator; other times, they are settled through direct negotiation between the parties and their attorneys. If the case is settled, the attorneys draft confidential settlement agreement, which is a private contract setting forth the terms on which the spouses agree to end their marriage. Both spouses sign the agreement, but often, it is not filed with the court.
Instead, a Judgment of Divorce also is prepared, referencing the private contract but not disclosing many of its terms to protect the personal and private financial information of the parties as much as possible. When the judge approves of the Judgment of Divorce, the court will sign it and file it in the court records, and at that moment, the parties will be divorced.
Equally important is making sure that all of the necessary steps in an asset or debt transfer are required to be taken, with built-in consequences if they are not. It is not helpful to have an agreement that simply says an opposing spouse must do something, without a built-in remedy if that spouse later decides not to cooperate. Achieving a settlement requires careful planning and development of the right leverage to make sure that the opposing spouse wants to settle, rather than going to trial.
If the case cannot be settled, the parties will have a contested trial in which the judge decides for the parties all of the issues that must be resolved for them to be divorced. During a contested trial, the attorneys for each spouse present their facts and interpretations of the law to the court through trial briefs, witness testimony, and evidence.
The judge then decides the issues between the spouses. When a party is dissatisfied with the result of a trial, that party has the right to appeal the decision of the trial court. Sometimes, appeals can take more than two years. Often, parties find trials to be the least satisfying method of dispute resolution, both financially and emotionally.
A trial can be very expensive, especially in complex cases that require the use of business valuation experts, accountants, psychologists, and appraisers. Often, judges do not have the time or expertise to fully understand the detailed factual circumstances of the parties or the financial opinions of the experts.
Additionally, there is the emotional toll of a trial. For these reasons, most couples choose to resolve issues through settlement because they best understand their own circumstances and needs and therefore are in the best position to resolve their own differences. The information contained within this website is intended for informational purposes only , and is not legal advice. In Michigan, there are three ways to end a marriage; annulment, separate maintenance and divorce. An annulment is a request to the court to strike down the marriage and treat it as if it never existed.
Such an action is rare and usually involves a brief marriage that for all purposes never truly existed. Separate Maintenance is a law suit asking the court to keep the parties married, but to essentially divide up the marital property. When children are involved custody and support for the children are also established. Because few people wish to remain married while living as if they are divorced, separate maintenance is also rare. Divorce is a law suit filed by one spouse indicating that the marital relationship has ended and that reconciliation is not going to occur.
All that is required is for one party to testify that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as filing for a separation. An action for divorce must be filed under one of the above mentioned suits.
The separation of the parties is dealt with during the divorce action and will be addressed later. All Michigan divorce actions are heard in the county Circuit Courts. A party may file a divorce action in Michigan as long as the party filing has resided in the state for days.
The party files the suit in the county where he or she resides as long as they have resided there for ten days.
Read this article to learn about getting a divorce in Michigan when you have minor children. This toolkit tells you about getting a divorce when you and your spouse have minor children. For general information about divorce, read the Articles. Read the .
Within the circuit court is a division called the Family Court and specific judges are designated to hear family court cases, specifically divorces. If the divorce involves minor children children born between the parties and under the age of eighteen or not having graduated from high school but no older than nineteen and six months then the action cannot be finalized for a minimum of six months aka the six month waiting period.
There are certain times when the six month waiting period can be waived but judges are very reluctant to do so. If the divorce does not involve minor children then the action cannot be finalized for a minimum of sixty days. This time period cannot be waived under any circumstances.
The largest factor that determines how the process will work is dependant upon whether the divorce is contested or not. If you and your spouse agree to the divorce and have worked out these issues, the process will be much faster and with a significant reduction in legal fees. The first step is for one of the parties to file the complaint in the court which has proper jurisdiction.
It is highly recommended that this party have an attorney to do this for them. Once the complaint is filed then the other party must be served with a copy of the complaint. Service can be done in several ways but usually involves a process server delivering the papers directly to the other partner. When necessary, the party filing the complaint may ask that certain orders, called ex-parte orders, be entered by the court.
Ex-parte orders can deal with issues such as custody, parenting time, child support, protection from abuse, harassment or an injunction that the other party cannot hide, steal or destroy property upon receipt of the divorce papers. These orders are also served upon the party at the same time they receive the complaint. Once the other partner receives the complaint, they usually get an attorney to handle the case for them, but they may represent themselves.
The complaint is a document which contains information explaining what the party wants who filed the suit.