Six Ways a Divorce Will Impact Your Life Legally
Divorce is never easy. Even if both parties agree to the separation and no children are involved, terms must be met, and an appearance before a judge must take place before the divorce decree can be finalized. There also needs to be serving of papers, waiting periods, and other agreements.
Regardless of your situation, there are six main ways a divorce will impact your life legally. And while all six of the items below may not apply to you, it’s still important to consider them for the future.
When a divorce involves children under 18, the legal custody of those children must be determined. Sometimes, couples can come to an agreement about custody on their own. If that is not possible, a judge will step in to decide based on a wide range of factors.
Based on the custody ruling, visitation rights — also referred to as parenting time in Michigan — will be laid out. Again, if the couple cannot agree about parenting time on their own, the courts will make the determination for them.
In addition to legal custody, child support must be decided on by the parents or with the assistance of a judge. Child support must be paid by the parent who does not have legal custody of the children. Factors such as income, the child’s needs, and the child’s age help to determine the amount of support. Child support is usually paid out in monthly installments; however, other arrangements are possible.
Alimony or Spousal Support
Even if you and your partner did not have children, you might be legally obligated to pay alimony or spousal support to your former partner to ensure their quality of life continues as it did during the marriage. A judge will determine alimony based on how long you were married, your age, your spouse’s age, and your spouse’s monthly monetary needs.
In most cases, alimony payments will continue until your former spouse remarries or passes away. If your former spouse’s financial situation changes for the better, you can also file a motion to request a spousal support modification.
Property division refers to the need to equitably divide up assets that you and your former partner had together while married. In the state of Michigan, separate property is also eligible for property division. Separate property refers to any property or assets you had individually before the marriage started.
For most people, deciding who gets the house is the most significant aspect of property division. In some cases, a judge will decide this if the former couple cannot figure things out and come to an agreement on their own. Frequently, the parent who receives custody of the children will also get the house. Other times, if no children are involved, the judge might determine that the house must be sold and the profits be split evenly.
The state of Michigan states any debt acquired during a marriage to be the responsibility of both parties. That means both spouses are accountable for repayment. The courts will decide how to split the debt fairly, and it may not be a simple ruling of a 50-50 split. They will consider who accumulated the debt, each party’s ability to pay, and which assets and properties each person gained in the divorce.
Some individuals — particularly women and any children from the marriage — will have to decide about going through the legal process to change their legal name after a divorce. While each adult can decide for themselves, if there are children involved and one parent wants the children’s surname changed and the other does not, a judge will determine what is in the child’s best interests.
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