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Lies and contempt could lead to jail time

Whether or not a spouse feels that the property division is equitable and fair in a Michigan divorce, he or she has to abide by the rules of the process. This includes reporting all assets and forms of income, as well as obeying the final divorce order. Consequences of failing to do either of these two things could be serious.

According to the American Bar Association, judges see spouses who hide assets as crooks, and the outcome is likely to be an unfavorable judgment. In some cases, an order may include requiring the dishonest spouse to pay the other party's attorney fees. It could also lead to contempt if he or she does not comply.

MLive.com reports that the Michigan family court ruled that a man must pay his ex-wife's attorney fees, which had amassed over the three-year case to over $100,000. Experts noted that the judgment is rare, but not unheard-of, as the goal of the court is to ensure fairness. However, the man did not pay the amount ordered by the court, and he was charged with contempt and sentenced to jail time. 

When the man appealed this decision, the Michigan appellate court noted that he claimed he has not been able to find a job for over two years, in spite of his professional degree. The Court of Appeals indicated that this factor, in addition to his lies to the court and many instances of contempt, reinforced the decision to uphold the original ruling. The outcome of this case may be used to inform similar cases that are brought before the Michigan court system in the future.

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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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