Granting alimony is at the judge’s discretion and if this is an issue, you’ll want a skilled Michigan divorce lawyer to build a convincing case.
Divorce rates in Michigan have been falling for the past decade, but that doesn’t mean that all marriages are happy. In 2019, the divorce rate was 2.3 per 1,000 inhabitants. If you’re considering getting a divorce, you should consult with a family law attorney in Traverse City, Grand Rapids or whatever city you live in to make sure your rights are protected.
Getting a divorce in Michigan is a simple procedure. If you have lived in the state for 6 months, all you have to do is file a complaint with the clerk’s office of the county you live in. Michigan is a no-fault state so you don’t need any special grounds to get a divorce, like adultery or cruelty. All you have to do is state that your marriage isn’t working or, to put it in legal terms, that there’s been ‘a breakdown of the marriage relationship’ and there’s no chance to fix that. Your divorce will be granted no matter if your spouse agrees or not.
Why would you need a lawyer if it’s that easy? The point of getting legal advice from an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer is to have someone handle the practical aspects, like dividing your property, deciding alimony and, most important, making child custody arrangements.
As far as dividing the marital property is concerned, Michigan is a 50-50 state. If the case goes to court, the judge will try to split the family assets equally. Your divorce lawyer can help with the negotiation so the two of you can come to an agreement without a lengthy and nasty court battle.
If it does go to court, you’ll need a lawyer even more. Although Michigan is a no-fault state, when it comes to splitting the assets fault plays an important part. Judges have a list of criteria to use when deciding who gets what, and the conduct of both spouses will come under scrutiny. If you can prove the other party was guilty of adultery, cruelty or neglect, you have a chance of getting a larger portion of the marital property. Other factors that come into play include the health of either spouse, their ability to work and earn a living, as well as other financial aspects.
The same goes for alimony. Granting alimony is at the judge’s discretion and if this is an issue, you’ll want a skilled Michigan divorce lawyer to build a convincing case.
Last, but not least, an experienced attorney can help you with child custody issues. This is something you can work out with your partner or you can let the judge decide. Most attorneys favor the former. The spouses can sit down with their lawyers and work on a parenting plan that meets their family’s needs. You’ll have to decide on the physical custody, which establishes where the child will live. If one parent wants sole physical custody, the other one will have visitation rights, which need to be detailed in the parenting plan. You’ll also have to decide on legal custody. Sole legal custody means that one parent gets to make all the important decisions concerning the child’s welfare, while joint legal custody means that you’ll work as a team and you both have a say.
Once your lawyer puts the agreement in writing, you can present it to the judge and they’ll probably approve it. This will considerably speed up your divorce and save you a lot of headache.