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Michigan divorce

Imbalanced Incomes in a High-Net-Worth Divorce

Just because a divorcing couple has a high net worth does not mean both partners contribute equally to that total figure. One partner in the marriage may have a high-paying job while the other has remained at home during the marriage to care for the children and look after the home.

Similarly, one spouse may have substantial investment accounts and assets while the other does not.

This dynamic can have significant effects on the orders entered by the court during a divorce. These effects should be considered as you approach settlement negotiations and contested hearings in your case.

3 Ways an Income Imbalance Affects Your Divorce

In any Michigan divorce, the court will make several income-sensitive decisions. These include the following:

1. Property Division

Most property you and your partner receive or earn during your marriage is considered marital property. It does not necessarily matter which one of you earned or acquired the property. Even if your spouse is the sole breadwinner of the family, their income is considered marital property and subject to fair and equitable division by the court.

Because a court serves to divide the marital estate fairly and equitably, a high-earning spouse may find the court will award a greater share of other marital assets to the other party to offset the income imbalance.

Similarly, high-value assets like retirement accounts and stocks that are marital property may be divided evenly or nearly even despite only one spouse contributing to the accounts’ growth.

2. Spousal Support

Next, a court can order a high-earning spouse to financially support the other spouse through a spousal support order. These payments can continue for a period of time to enable the lower-earning spouse to become financially independent.

In cases of gray divorce or divorces that end long marriages, spousal support can continue indefinitely so that the low-earning spouse enjoys a standard of living similar to the one they enjoyed during the marriage.

3. Child Support

Finally, the formula used to calculate child support in Michigan considers the income of both spouses as well as the percentage each spouse contributes to the total. A high-earning spouse can expect to pay a larger share of child support if they are not the custodial parent.

By contrast, if the high-earning spouse is the custodial parent, they may not receive much child support from the low-earning spouse.

For example, suppose the total combined child support obligation in your case is $500 per month. If you are a non-custodial parent and make 90% of the income used to calculate child support, you can expect to pay 90% of this obligation.

If you are a custodial parent in this situation, you may only receive $50 per month in child support.

Enlist a Skilled Michigan Divorce Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

Whether you are a low-earning spouse or a spouse with significant assets and income, an income imbalance can create unique problems for the court in a divorce. Ensure the court makes these critical financial decisions correctly by hiring an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer from Gucciardo Family Law.

Call our office immediately if you and your spouse have a significant income imbalance. We will advocate for your interests and work to ensure your financial interests are watched over.

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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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