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Don’t let a Michigan divorce ruin your finances

If you decide to start afresh in life without your spouse, you’ll need to establish financial independence, if you haven’t already done so. In many cases, financial supplements, such as alimony or child support, can help a parent make ends meet while building a new lifestyle. Keeping several things in mind as you navigate the Michigan family law system might help you avoid a financial downfall in a divorce. 

In some situations, such as if you sacrificed a career to stay home full-time and raise a family, it might be more challenging to become financially solvent on your own than it is for those who have worked 40-hour work weeks throughout their marriage. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, however — only that you may need to request temporary financial assistance as you and your kids move forward in life. Before heading to court, it’s best to thoroughly review your finances.  

What are your liabilities from jointly owned accounts? 

Before you can create a post-divorce budget for your new lifestyle, you must be fully aware of what bills you owe from any jointly owned accounts you and your spouse shared. For example, if you and your spouse shared a credit card, and it has a remaining balance, you will each be responsible for a portion of the debt, which the judge overseeing your divorce will determine during property division proceedings. To avoid financial pitfalls, be aware of all debts you owe.  

Creating an estimated post-divorce budget helps keep finances in check 

When you transition from a dual-parent household to being a single parent, your financial status will automatically change. It’s helpful to think ahead and estimate what your housing costs will be, what your children’s financial needs are and what income or earning potential you will have. After estimating expenses, you can create a post-divorce budget to help you avoid financial problems.  

What assets are you entitled to in a Michigan divorce 

Like most states, Michigan operates under equitable property laws in divorce. Equitable does not necessarily mean “equal.” As mentioned earlier, the judge overseeing your divorce will determine a fair division of all marital property (and debt) to help you achieve a settlement.  

To better understand where you’ll stand, compile a list of all your assets ahead of time. This would include things like money in a bank account, tax refunds, retirement benefits (either yours or a portion of your spouse’s, to which you may have a right), real estate, vehicles, artwork, jewelry or any other item of value. Do not sign any agreement if you do not believe you are receiving the full amount to which you may have a right under Michigan divorce laws