GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – Many women who come to the DAWN offices have been told by their spouse that should they decide to leave the marriage, he will ensure that she is destitute and receives nothing, including custody of their children. This simply is not true.
It is important for women to know that Michigan divides marital assets equitably. In Michigan, all marital assets are divided equitably. The court does allow some leeway for negotiating property division, but it is very rare that any division of assets exceeds a 60/40 split.
Because divorces have so many variables attorneys negotiate to balance debt and assets. However, if there is overwhelming circumstances that can be proven, such as ability to earn a living and large income disparities between the couple, multiple affairs that led to the divorce or physical or mental incapacities, an effort is made to ensure that a ‘roughly congruent’ division is achieved. Fairness is the overwhelming determining factor and the courts are reluctant to decide that half of a couple receives a larger portion of the marital assets without clear proof.
The idea that one part of a couple be left destitute while the other walks away with the assets and property that was accumulated during a marriage is not normally tolerated. Keep in mind, however, that if there is property or assets that were brought into the marriage by one party they may not be considered marital assets. Debt that were brought to the marriage are also not marital debts so the person who accumulated the debt will likely be held responsible for repayment.
Custody is an emotional issue. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will decide what is in the best interest of the children. Questions like who has been the primary caregiver and who helps with homework, bedtime stories, and who goes to parent-teacher conferences are taken into consideration. Both parents are interviewed by the Friend Of The Court and a recommendation is made based on those interviews so one parent cannot take the children and refuse to let the other see them without overwhelming evidence that it is in their best interest.