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Dissolution of a Long Term Marriage

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Assisting Clients in Michigan

No matter how long you have been married, getting divorced is an incredibly difficult and emotional process for the parties involved. When the parties have been married for decades, the prospect of divorce can seem extremely daunting. Long-term marriages often involve one spouse who was the primary earner during the marriage with the other spouse often acting as a stay-at-home parent. Even in situations where both spouses had careers outside the home, it is quite possible that one spouse earned substantially more than the other in helping to develop the standard of living during the marriage.

Divorces in long-term marriages often have complicating factors when it comes to the division of marital property and the award of spousal support. An experienced Michigan divorce attorney can speak with you today about the issues that arise in the dissolution of a long-term marriage.

Laws Governing the Dissolution of Long-Term Marriages in Michigan

MCL 552 governs most issues pertaining to divorce in Michigan, including the dissolution of a long-term marriage. During your divorce proceeding, the court will distribute marital property according to a theory of “equitable distribution,” or in a manner that is fair to both of the parties.

For people in long-term marriages, property division can be extremely complicated. It is very likely that the parties have acquired substantial assets and debts together, and many of them may have been purchased by the spouse who was the primary earner.

Considering the Length of the Marriage in Property Distribution

It is important to know that numerous factors are taken into account when dividing marital property, including but not limited to:

  • Length of the marriage;
  • Needs of the parties;
  • Earning power of the parties;
  • Source of the property; and
  • Contributions toward the acquisition of the property.

To be clear, Michigan courts do take into account the length of the marriage, as well as contributions toward the marriage that may not seem financial in nature (such as one spouse’s contributions toward raising children or toward upkeep of the marital home). Yet complications in property distribution extend beyond matters of equitable distribution. In situations where one spouse was the primary earner and the other spouse remained at home caring for children through much of the marriage, some manners of property distribution might not be best for the former stay-at-home spouse.

What do we mean? For instance, imagine that the spouse who was not the primary earner in the family wants to keep the marital home, which is valued at $300,000. If that spouse receives the home in the divorce, then she likely will not receive many other assets. As such, she may not have the money necessary to pay for repairs to the house, or for the annual taxes on the home. A Michigan divorce lawyer can help you with your options.

Spousal Support Awards and the Length of the Marriage

Under MCL 552.23, “if the estate and effects awarded to either party are insufficient for the suitable support and maintenance of either party,” then the court may award spousal support.

As with property distribution, the length of the marriage, as well as the standard of living to which the parties became accustomed during the marriage, can be taken into account when the court makes a decision about spousal support. It is important to learn more about how spousal support is likely to be awarded in the dissolution of a long-term marriage by speaking with a divorce lawyer.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney

The dissolution of a long-term marriage can be especially difficult, but an experienced divorce attorney in Michigan can assist you. Contact the law office of Paul J. Tafelski today.

 

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