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All divorces require couples to cope with difficult issues, including questions about property division, child support, and alimony. In many cases, resolving these issues becomes more difficult the longer a couple has been married, as it is much harder to determine who owns what and how much a spouse should receive in support. Being represented by an experienced Sterling Heights divorce lawyer can be crucial in dissolving a long term marriage, so if you and your spouse have filed for divorce, please contact a member of our legal team today for a free consultation.
In Michigan, couples who are unable to come to an out-of-court agreement will have their marital assets divided by the court in an equitable manner. In deciding what is an equitable division of property, courts assess a variety of factors, one of which is the duration of the marriage. Generally, the longer a couple is married, the more probable it is that a court will divide marital property equally. This is largely due to the fact that the longer a couple is married, the more likely it is that the effort and commitment of both parties was required to increase marital wealth. This is true even when only one spouse was the primary wage earner, especially if the other spouse gave up career or educational opportunities to support the other or was the primary caregiver of the couple’s children.
Dissolving a long term marriage is also made more complex by the difficulty of identifying the assets that constitute separate property. In most long term marriages, assets are so commingled that even property that started out as separate, has since become community property and so is subject to equitable division. Tracing the source of these assets, as well as their ownership is difficult and usually requires oversight from an experienced divorce attorney and a team of financial analysts.
The length of a marriage also plays an important role in determining whether a spouse can receive permanent spousal support. Courts are generally more willing to award permanent spousal support to a party who has been dependent on the other party’s income for a significant length of time. This is partially because courts reason that the older a party is, the more difficult it will be for him or her to reenter the workforce. In cases where a court orders spousal maintenance on a permanent basis, the other spouse will be required to pay for the remainder of the payee’s life unless he or she remarries.
Dissolving long term marriages tends to be not only particularly emotional and potentially contentious, but also more practically difficult. This can mostly be attributed to the commingling of the parties’ assets and requests for permanent alimony. For help with these and other issues, please contact Iafrate & Salassa at (586) 263-1600. A member of our dedicated legal team is standing by and eager to address your questions and concerns.