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Clinton Township Divorce Law Blog

How is real estate divided in a Michigan divorce?

If you own land, including buildings or anything else that is attached to the land, it is considered real estate by Michigan law, and will probably be subject to division in your divorce settlement. According to MichiganLegalHelp.org, the deciding factor for dividing real estate is not whether your name is on the title or the mortgage, but whether it was purchased or improved using marital assets. If not, it may be separate property, in which case it would not part of the division process. Otherwise, it is divided equitably.

It is the value of your marital real estate rather than the property itself that the judge divides. That monetary figure assigned to your real property is balanced against the value of your other marital assets. If your spouse wants to stay in the home, the court will award you with assets that are equitably balanced so that you both get your fair share. If you and your spouse have negative equity in your real estate, owing more than the value, then in the eyes of the court it is a debt and not an asset. However, as a portion of the sum total you owe, it still has to be divided fairly.

Factors that affect how much child support you will pay

Along with property division and child custody, child support is among the top concerns for parents when it comes to the final divorce order in Michigan. Fortunately, the payment is not chosen at random. According to MichiganLegalHelp.org, there is a specific formula the court uses to arrive at the appropriate amount of support.

How much each parent makes and how much time each of them spends with the child based on the schedule in the parenting plan are major elements in the calculation. The number also changes if there is more than one child, and takes health insurance and child care expenses under consideration. Standard support payments do not typically include all medical expenses, though, and there is a formula for determining the percentage of these each parent will pay.

2 forms of child custody in Michigan

Now that you and your ex-husband have parted ways, you need to determine what is going to happen with your children. In Michigan, there are two different forms of child custody that you need to know about -- physical and legal.

Each of these forms of custody has to do with a different aspect of your child's life. Together, they provide a comprehensive plan that you can use to guide your custody and visitation of your child.

Tips for negotiating a divorce settlement amicably

Even though a couple in Michigan may agree that they want an amicable divorce, when spouses sit down to discuss the details, they may find it more difficult than they thought to keep conflict to a minimum. According to The Huffington Post, there are many things people can do to make their divorce negotiations easier.

The goal for the agreement is a fair division of marital property, and most spouses probably already have a general idea of what that means to them on a personal level. However, if their wants and needs are not clearly defined, they may not really understand how to apply the concept to their negotiation. Completing inventories, financial statements and personal budgets beforehand can speed the process and possibly cut out much of the potential for arguments.

Dividing valuable personal property

Not only do your art and your family heirlooms come with an emotional value, they also may have a considerable financial value, as well. During your Michigan divorce, it may be tempting to get into a dispute with your spouse over how they will be divided. At The Law Office of Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C., our team has worked with many couples to come to a fair settlement for the division of joint personal property.

The Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers notes that an expert appraiser is needed to come to a correct valuation of marital assets such as art, antiques and collections. Each of your personal items should be identified and cataloged so that its condition can be assessed and a value assigned to it.

When child-rearing differences threaten co-parenting success

Maybe the clash between parenting styles was part of what led to a Michigan divorce, or the differences may simply add to the current difficulties getting along. Whatever the case, co-parenting will not get any easier while mom and dad allow the conflicts to continue. People often have a deep emotional tie to the way that they parent their children, though, and that may make compromise seem impossible.

According to GoodTherapy.org, rather than finding fault, co-parents may improve their relationship by analyzing it from both sides. For example, a mother’s approach could have more to do with a response to her own childhood experiences rather than being rooted in conscious decisions. A closer look at this possibility may help to identify which elements are serving the child’s best interests and which are based on the past.

Can I force my ex-spouse to obey the divorce decree?

After all your assets and debts have been divided fairly between you and your ex-spouse, and a Michigan judge has issued your final divorce decree, it should be time to start over and move on. But what if you get a bill that your ex was supposed to pay, but did not? What if your spousal support check never comes in the mail? This could be contempt of court, and according to MichiganLegalHelp.org, you have options.

To communicate with the court what it is that your former spouse has failed to do, you need to fill out the Notice of Hearing and Motion. This allows you to give the details of the situation, including how the requirements of the judgment of divorce are not being carried out. When you go to the court to file your documents, you can request a hearing date.

Separate property: What it is and how to keep it

Assets in Michigan come in all shapes and sizes, and while it is important to be open and honest about your finances with your spouse, that does not mean you have to put everything into a shared account. However, if you do not take the proper measures, you could still be converting your personal property into a marital asset. We at The Law Office of Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C., have often provided advice and assistance to people who do not want to commingle their assets with their spouse’s.

Although Michigan counts the assets you and your spouse have garnered during your marriage as marital property, that does not automatically mean every item you have now will be divided in a divorce. For example, if you receive a gift or inheritance, it may initially be separate property. You and your spouse may also come to an agreement that certain purchases or acquisitions you each have obtained after the wedding will be kept separate.

Special considerations for child custody cases

Child custody cases come in all shapes and sizes. Trying to find ways to make plans for your case can be rather difficult. You can't base your decisions on what worked for someone else. You have to find the solutions that take the best interests of your child into account.

There are several things that you can consider when you are trying to work out a child custody agreement with your ex. Pick and choose the ones that pertain to your case so that you can work toward an agreement that is appropriate.

Studies reveal factors that often lead to divorce

The decision to divorce can be the result of an epiphany or a months-long deliberation process. Whether it is one or the other for a couple in Michigan may depend on the reason behind the split. According to Huffington Post, one overarching theme when addressing the main reasons couples divorce is the inability to communicate effectively. This could be in regard to money, unmet expectations or other common sources of conflict.

Psychology Today notes that studies show people are more likely to blame their spouses than themselves for the damage that leads to the end of the relationship. Although marriages often end because of complicated issues such as poverty, misbehavior, mental health problems or incompatible characteristics of the spouses, partners most often point at each other and list an event or theme rather than delving into the complexities.

Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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