Experienced Divorce Lawyer Serving Clients in Canton, Michigan
Making the decision to file for divorce can be extremely difficult, especially when you have been married for a particularly long time or have children from the marriage. At the law offices of Paul J. Tafelski, we know how emotionally exhausting it often is to deal with issues of property distribution, maintenance, and child custody. You should not feel as though you have to go through this process alone. An experienced Canton divorce attorney can assist with your case. We have years of experience helping Michigan clients to assert their rights and to obtain a favorable outcome in their divorce proceedings. Do not hesitate to contact our firm to learn more about how we can assist with your case.
Early Stages of the Divorce Process in Canton, MI
While many people in Canton, Michigan know someone who has gotten divorced, divorce laws are still very complicated. It is important to speak with a dedicated Canton divorce lawyer before you make any decisions about your divorce or property settlement, or before you agree to support or maintenance terms with your spouse. Divorce laws fall under Chapter 552 of the Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL).
Before a plaintiff can file a complaint for divorce in Wayne County Circuit Court, however, she or he must ensure that the residency requirements are met. For a resident of Canton, Michigan, MCL 552.9 states that the plaintiff must have resided in the state of Michigan for 180 days before filing for divorce. There is an additional residency requirement with regard to filing in any Michigan county, as well. Residents of Canton must have resided in Wayne County for at least 10 days before filing for divorce.
Distribution of Marital Property
Regardless of whether there are children from the marriage, one of the most significant elements of the divorce process is the division of marital property. Marital property includes both assets and debts of the marriage, and the court will divide them based on a theory of “equitable distribution.” The court will examine a number of different factors and will divide marital debts and assets based on what it decides would be equitable, or fair, to both parties involved.
Spouses will be required to provide information about all marital property. How can you know if you are looking at separate property (which is not subject to division) or marital property? Typically, any assets or debts acquired or incurred prior to the marriage are separate property, as well as any gifts made or inheritances acquired during the marriage that are clearly for the benefit of only one of the spouses. Much other property acquired during the marriage likely will be deemed marital property and subject to division, although there are exceptions.
It can be extremely complicated to deal with property that has been “commingled,” meaning separate property that has become, in some way, property of the marriage. For instance:
- A separate savings account used to improve the marital home; or
- An inheritance of only one of the spouses deposited into a marital bank account and used by both parties.