When a relationship breaks down, the emotional and psychological toll can sometimes be overwhelming. But there comes a point where you have to move beyond the emotional and consider the practical implications that separation and divorce brings with them.
At that point, it makes sense to step back and take a closer look at what the divorce process entails and what personal and legal procedures you need to look at.
Is Divorce Necessary?
That may sound patronizing. After all, you are the one in the unique position of knowing if your marriage has irrevocably broken down. But many divorced couples later regret their decision, and many get back together, so it is worth taking some time to audit your marriage, identify what you think is wrong, and see if there are alternative solutions. In some cases, but not all, seeking counseling or mediation may be what is needed to avoid divorce.
So you have tried mediation, or there are irreconcilable differences or factors that make mediation pointless. Divorce is the only answer, so what should you consider doing before filing for divorce?
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. That means you do not need to show or prove any fault to proceed with a divorce, you just have to be sure that the marriage is over.
The financial affairs of both partners can play a major part of any divorce case, especially when considering child support and child custody. And it’s not just about what is sitting in any joint or personal bank accounts.
It’s also about any property and other assets that you have accumulated during the marriage. And it is also about any debt that has been accumulated, so take that into account as well. Retirement or estate plans may also be included in financial decisions.
An attorney at our law firm will advise you to list all financial and other assets. Detailed records such as bank statements and tax returns are ideal as they show an official list of what you as a couple own or owe. Having a detailed overview of all financial aspects can aid your lawyer in creating a strategy on your behalf.
Where children are involved, having an idea of any custody goals can help with an overall plan. In some cases, this may be an amicable arrangement as parents often want the effects of a divorce on their children minimized where possible. But it can also be the most confrontational aspect of the process.
The state of Michigan views that the best interests of the child are paramount and there are a number of factors the court will look at before making a decision. Both legal custody – as in making decisions about the child’s life such as schooling – and physical custody – as in where the child will actually live – can be shared or can be awarded to one parent depending on circumstances. Where there is a history of substance use or domestic or child abuse, then this will have a major influcence on the court’s decision.
One major decision that usually has to be made in the early stages of a divorce is who is going to live where. One thing that should be made clear is that when one partner moves out of the marital home, it has no effect on any claim to that property, especially as Michigan looks to distribute assets gained during the marriage as equal.
But the move is something that has to be considered. In most cases, where there are children involved, the primary caregiver will remain in the marital home with the children. The primary caregiver could be the parent who spends the most time at home, for example, if one parent is not working or is working part-time. If agreement cannot be reached between the spouses, then in some cases, the court may make an order regarding this early in the process.
While we are mainly looking at the legal aspects of the divorce process, any emotional impacts should not be forgotten. Many people can be overwhelmed by the very idea of divorce and will emotionally struggle throughout the process. It is worth investigating recommended support groups in your area.
In many cases, there may be additional factors affecting your divorce and your well-being. Where there is a history of any type of domestic abuse, it is best to avoid any form of confrontation throughout the process. If you feel that you – or your children – are under any threat of harm, then ask your attorney about taking out a restraining order. You can also seek support and counseling from relevant groups.
Find a Good Attorney
If you know your divorce will not be an amicable one, or if you know that there will be disputes over aspects such as child custody, then finding a good divorce lawyer early on in the process is highly advisable. At Michigan Premier Law we offer a free consultation to give you an opportunity to ask relevant questions. Look at their fee structure and whether you can afford it. Are you eligible for legal aid? Do they accept credit cards?
Although Michigan is a no-fault state, a court will consider some behavioral aspects of each spouse when it comes to matters such as child custody or visitation rights. In this era of social media, be very cautious about posting anything on your social media accounts that could be viewed negatively.
Generally speaking, divorce is final. But the process to get there can be exhausting and stressful Being aware of what the process will involve and making a list of what you have to do can be of great help as you begin to move forward. When children are involved, it is also crucial that they are affected as little as possible.
By engaging a law firm that specializes in family law and divorce, you know that you will receive only the very best advice and representation. And with one of the most experienced family law specialists in the state, we will always look after your best interests. We offer a free initial appointment to look at your circumstances and advise you on initial strategy. Why not book that appointment today by calling (248) 688-0045.