Whether you saw your divorce coming from a mile away or it took you by surprise, you may need to steel yourself because you are about to make a series of very important life decisions. This process can significantly affect your financial future and your relationship with your children, family or friends in Michigan.
Understand how divorce works in Michigan
Divorce is a legal process, meaning Michigan’s family law will govern every decision that will be made. For starters, the state follows an equitable distribution model when it comes to property division. Therefore, all marital property (assets acquired during the marriage) are subject to a fair split – not necessarily 50-50.
If you have minor children, child custody and visitation will also need to be decided. Michigan law requires that parents create a parenting plan that establishes physical and legal custody arrangements, as well as a schedule for when the child will spend time with each parent.
Gather documents that may be relevant to your case
The law requires couples to provide all their financial documentation to determine how much they have before the split. This includes tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage documents and investment account statements.
If you have minor children, you will need to provide information about their schooling, extracurricular activities and medical needs. This information will be used to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children.
Protect your credit
If you have any concerns about your spouse damaging your credit, you may want to consider freezing your joint accounts. This will prevent either of you from using the account and will protect your credit score.
In Michigan, you can have your divorce in court or outside of court. If you go to court, a judge will make all the decisions about your divorce for you. This is called a trial. In contrast, if you divorce outside of court, i.e., through meditation or collaborative law, you and your spouse can agree on all the decisions about your separation on your own accord.