The most common Michigan divorce myths
Making the decision to divorce rarely comes easily. Unfortunately, friends, family members, co-workers, and even acquaintances can sometimes make the decision that much more difficult. After confiding in loved ones that you and your partner have decided to split, you will likely be met with statements of “fact” regarding what you should expect when preparing for a divorce in Michigan. While coming from a good place, these statements do nothing but further confuse and complicate an already emotionally heavy experience. In order to separate fact from fiction, here are the most common Michigan divorce myths that those in the process of divorce typically hear:
Myth #1: Being First to File Has Advantages
While it may differ in other states, in Michigan divorce law, there is no benefit to getting to the courthouse first. Equal treatment, equal rights, and equal obligation are things that both spouses are entitled to no matter who files for divorce first. The party who files first is called the plaintiff or petitioner. The other party is the respondent or defendant. The only time that an advantage is given to the person who files first is if this person requests a status quo order or immediate asset injunction. However, even then, Michigan courts do not deem a plaintiff as “good” and a defendant as “bad.”
Myth #2: Expect a 5-50 Asset Split
Unlike states that follow community property rules, Michigan law only requires that marital property has an equitable distribution. Many factors, like total asset value, duration of marriage, and contribution to the marriage, are considered when judges are trying to determine equitable distribution. In layman’s terms, Michigan courts want the process to be as fair as possible and for both parties to come out of the divorce without feeling as if they have been taken advantage of.
Myth #3: Michigan Does Not Allow for Alimony or Spousal Support
Michigan does allow for alimony or spousal support. In fact, it is quite common to see a Michigan court award alimony to a plaintiff of defendant. With that being said, either party is allowed to petition the court for a post-judgment modification if the party’s financial situation has changed.
Myth #4: Mothers Gain Custody of Children
In Michigan, those filing for divorce are encouraged by the court to come to an agreement regarding parenting time and custody of children that are minors. With that being said, if an agreement or compromise cannot be reached, a judge will make the ultimate decision based on the best interests of the minors involved by factoring in an array of variables to make his or her final decision.
Do not allow myths and hearsay to dictate how you follow through with your divorce proceedings. The only legal advice you should consider is the advice given to you by a licensed attorney. If you are having a difficult time discerning fact from fiction, a divorce attorney at The Gucciardo Law Firm, PLLC, can help you understand Michigan divorce law and what the facts are surrounding divorce in Michigan.
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