Michigan Divorce Law Mythbusting, Part II

In our last post, we talked about a few of the more commonplace myths surrounding Michigan divorce law, and spelled out the truth in each case. In this post, we’re doing more of the same. Let’s dig right in.

Support Payment Arrangements Favor Women
Spousal support, a.k.a. alimony, suffers from the same mythology that custody (covered in our first post) does: that women are the ‘default’ recipients of the court’s grace. With the potential for an occasional exceptional judge who can’t shake the habits of yesteryear, however, courts are surprisingly modern when it comes to who brings home the bacon. That said, there is no law in Michigan that dictates the precise calculations for spousal support, so you should be alert for any signs of obvious leanings on the judge’s part.

You Can Negotiate Your Way Out of Child Support
Unlike spousal support, Michigan does have a calculator the court must use to generate child support payments. Furthermore, Michigan family courts do not allow a parent to bargain away their right to child support. There is a procedure in place for requesting a deviation from the formula, but it’s rarely used unless truly exceptional circumstances mandate it.

Divorce Is Always Hostile
This is one of those cases where the minority of people — the ones with truly bitter divorce struggles — complain so loudly and so often that the quiet murmurs of the majority are drowned out. The truth is that of all divorces, just under half reach an uncontested agreement — meaning there was never a fight in the first place. The next just-under-a-third reach an agreement without using any court services at all. So right off the bat, we’ve hit 80% of divorces and we haven’t even gotten as far as “needs the court to help them divorce.”  Of the remaining 20%:

  • 11% reach an agreement in court-mandated mediation,
  • 5% reach an agreement during or in response to a court-mandated custody evaluation,
  • 2.5% reach an agreement during the trial phase of the divorce, and a mere
  • 1.5% of divorce agreements have to be handed down by the judge.

With 96% of couples coming to some form of agreement before the adversarial ‘trial’ part of a divorce proceeding begins, it’s obviously inaccurate to say that divorce is always — or even often — hostile. Heck, most divorces don’t even go to court (short of showing up to confirm some paperwork); it can be done entirely in the office of any Michigan family attorney.

Speaking of a Michigan family attorney, that’s what we are! If you’re dealing with an impending divorce — whether you’re the initiator or not — we can help. Call Gucciardo Family Law at 248-723-5190 for a free consultation today.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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