Facts About Divorce In Michigan
Your children cannot be moved more than 100 miles from their address or out of state without a signed court order.
Moving children out of state or more than 100 miles from the residence at the time of divorce requires you to enter a court order. This is called a domicile order, and it can be granted or denied by a judge after a trial. A party has the right to oppose/contest this request. Under the law, numerous different factors must be evaluated by a court in deciding a motion to change domicile.
If the child spends equal or expanded time with both parents, the proof level to remove the child is higher. If moving the child out of state will destroy an established environment, the court will require compelling proof as to why this move is in the child’s best interest.
You do not have to agree to your opponent’s request to remove your child, and you have the right to a hearing. If your children have been removed from Michigan without a domicile order, you should contact the Aiello and Associates immediately. It is important that you file objections immediately because the Michigan Child Custody Jurisdiction Act states that Michigan loses jurisdiction after six months.
Alimony is tax deductible and can be increased or decreased after your judgment is entered.
Alimony is a dirty word in too many divorce conversations. In the right case, however, it can be a useful tool capable of resolving a divorce on terms that are favorable to all sides. Alimony awards take into account many factors. Two of the most important factors are the length of the marriage and the earnings of the respective parties. Generally speaking, a primary breadwinner in a long-term marriage has exposure to more alimony liability than an equal earner in a shorter marriage.
Alimony is taxable to the recipient. A person who pays alimony can deduct the payments from their taxable income. A properly drafted alimony agreement as part of an overall property settlement can confer benefits to both parties, particularly when the recipient is a lower tax bracket earner in need of income from a payer who is a higher tax bracket earner in need of deductions. Within the limits of the law and in conjunction with tax professionals, Chris Aiello has structured hybrid alimony and property settlements awards which secure tax benefits not present in a simple property settlement.
Unless the parties expressly agree, alimony can always be modified in the future. Parties can agree to a non-modifiable award, sometimes paid out in a lump-sum. A non-modifiable alimony settlement has risks and rewards, but so does a modifiable alimony award. A payer of non-modifiable alimony has to make the same payments even if their income decreases. A payer of modifiable alimony is able to petition to reduce payments if their income decreases. However, if the alimony payer has increased income, no increased payment is permissible under a non-modifiable settlement, whereas an increase is possible under a modifiable award.
A recipient of non-modifiable alimony does not have to worry about decreases in the payer’s income, but they will not receive any increases if the payer’s income rises. A recipient of modifiable alimony can ask for increases if their situation deteriorates, such as unforeseen health problems or loss of income. These options are not available to the recipient of non-modifiable alimony.
Some recipients are offered alimony in exchange for property settlement concessions. This may be a good idea for a long-term payer but not for a long-term recipient unless the award is non-modifiable. For example, it would be a bad idea to permanently trade away a valuable asset such as a business for a modifiable alimony award that could be reduced after judgment enters.
Alimony is a complex issue which becomes even more daunting when issues of modifiability are thrown into the mix. If you are the primary breadwinner in a long-term divorce, call the Aiello and Associates to discuss your options. If you are a secondary breadwinner or a dependent in a long-term marriage, Chris Aiello will be happy to discuss an alimony proposal that meets your long-term needs.
Property settlements in a divorce judgment can never be changed.
Some assets are considered marital assets and are subject to division in a divorce. Other assets are considered separate property and are not subject to division in a divorce. Michigan law regarding marital property has many categorizations, exceptions and specific criteria; it’s confusing.
Property distribution in a divorce judgment is non-modifiable. This means that unlike child support or alimony, a property settlement cannot be changed if your financial situation improves or declines after a judgment is entered. You only get one chance to enter into a property settlement that is in your best interest.
You may be entitled to a portion of a business that was started or maintained during a marriage.
It is very important to have a business evaluation and appraisal done on a business that is owned by you or your spouse. Hiring an accountant, financial analyst or another expert is critical to obtain an accurate dollar value for a business. The wrong valuation of a business could lead to an unfair division of marital assets.
Michigan law allows you to keep separate property obtained by gift or inheritance without awarding interest to your spouse.
Michigan is an equity state that does not follow community property rules used in other states. Michigan does recognize separate property claims of individual spouses for assets they brought into a marriage and for items such as gifts or inheritance.
A lengthy list of Michigan appellate decisions makes it clear that Michigan law does allow one party to be awarded substantial property without marital division. This provision of the law has favorable aspects, such as protecting inheritances and property that the other spouse did not purchase or contribute to. It also has undesirable aspects, such as allowing one spouse to leave a long-term marriage with substantially greater wealth than the other, often later in life after years of dependence.
Many detailed exceptions and nuances apply to this complex area of the law. If you have accumulated substantial separate property during your marriage that you would like to protect, contact Aiello and Associates to discuss the facts of your situation. Likewise, if you are facing a divorce where you are concerned that your spouse will be awarded most of the assets leaving you broke and in poverty, there are provisions of the law designed to protect your interests which we can discuss with you in detail. Give us a call at 586-250-5527 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation.