While divorce laws have been amended significantly to reflect changes in socio-cultural norms and shifting attitudes towards women in marriages and parenthood, it is nonetheless still important for women to understand their rights during a divorce in Michigan. The key thing to know is that women have the same rights as men in a divorce and that Michigan courts do not make decisions about property division, spousal support or alimony, child custody, or child support based on the sex or gender of the party. Instead, Michigan courts will consider various factors when making decisions about the distribution of marital property, parenting time, and support obligations, and none of those factors include the sex or gender of either spouse or parent. Courts do, however, consider factors that have traditionally and historically affected women in divorce cases.
Our Michigan divorce lawyers can give you more details and can assist you with your divorce case.
Right to an Equitable Distribution of Marital Property
Under Michigan law, all property in a divorce case must be classified as separate (non-marital) or marital property. Only marital property will be divided in a divorce, and it will be divided according to the theory of equitable distribution. Marital property includes both debts and assets, which will be divided equitably between the spouses. Women have a right in a divorce case to an equitable distribution of marital property, which means they have a right to receive a fair amount of the marital property.
In order to determine what a fair distribution of property looks like, Michigan courts consider many different factors, including the earning power of each spouse, the length of the marriage, and the contribution of each spouse toward acquiring or accumulating the property. Michigan courts can consider a contribution by a spouse as a homemaker, or as a stay-at-home parent, in determining how marital property will be divided equitably. While a spouse’s sex or gender does not determine whether that spouse is a homemaker or stay-at-home parent, such roles historically were filled by women, and it is important for women who have filled those roles to know that those contributions are considered in the equitable distribution of marital assets.
Alimony or Spousal Support Awards
Women who have given up career opportunities to raise children, or who have earned less money in the marriage due to the gender pay gap, may have a right to alimony or spousal support. Under Michigan’s alimony law, courts can consider various factors to determine whether a support award is appropriate. Factors can include the dynamics of the spouses and their respective conducts during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the ages of the spouses, the ability for each spouse to work, the standard of living established during the marriage, and numerous other factors.
When a court determines that alimony or support is appropriate, it will then determine the duration and amount of the payments, and whether they will be paid in a lump-sum form or as periodic payments.
Seek Advice from a Michigan Divorce Attorney
Do you have questions about women’s rights in a divorce? Our Michigan divorce attorneys can speak with you today. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins for more information.