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Plymouth Family Law Blog

How does spousal support differ from child support?

When a couple in Plymouth decides to end their marriage, money will be a concern for both parties. Specifically, parties will want to know if they will pay or receive spousal support -- also known as spousal maintenance or alimony -- and if they have children, whether and how much they will be ordered to pay in child support. It is important to understand the difference between spousal support and child support, as they are meant to accomplish very different goals.

Spousal support is an amount of money one spouse pays the other party post-divorce. These payments usually last for a specific period or until the receiving party remarries. It is meant to help the receiving party keep up the lifestyle they had while married or to help them meet their financial needs until they can become financially self-supporting. To that end, it is paid for the benefit of the spouse receiving it. However, there is no guarantee that spousal support will be granted -- a party must request it. There generally is not a statutory formula for determining how much spousal support will be owed. It is based on a variety of factors found in that couple's specific situation.

What to do during divorce if your spouse is the higher earner

Divorce can be expensive. Paying for attorney's fees and court costs on top of potentially losing your home could be scary - especially if you are not the higher-earning spouse.

If fear of how you will pay for a divorce keeps you with your spouse, review your options. How to pay for divorce should not be a deal breaker. In Michigan, you may be able to finalize your divorce without paying too much out of pocket.

Options for the family home when it comes to property division

Home is where the heart is, but when hearts are broken, and a married couple decides to divorce, the decision of what to do with the family home can be one of the most contentious issues. This is because the family home may be one of a couple's most valuable assets and it may have a lot of sentimental value as well.

It is important to understand what your options are when it comes to the family home and property division in a divorce.

What is the process for a paternity case in Michigan?

Sometimes, when a child in Michigan is born to unmarried parents, both parents will agree to sign an Affidavit of Parentage form. Doing so establishes paternity, meaning that the child's mother can subsequently seek child support from the child's father, and the child's father can seek parenting time with the child if he wishes. However, sometimes a parent does not wish to sign this form. If this is the case, then a parent can file a paternity case to establish parentage of the child.

If a person is pursuing a paternity case, first a complaint needs to be filed with the court. The other parent will be served with notice of the hearing. Blood tests will be taken from the parents and child. Finally, a hearing will be held. The purported father can, at any time, claim to be the child's biological parent, and if so the court can establish a paternity order. However, if the purported father disagrees with the results of the blood test then a trial will take place in which the court will either establish an order of paternity or, if appropriate, dismiss the claim.

Parallel parenting may be a workable child custody option

Parents in Plymouth going through a divorce may want to make sure their child gets through the process in a healthy matter and continues to thrive post-divorce. If parents are on amicable terms, they could try co-parenting as a means of child custody. Through co-parenting, parents will generally keep the same rules and routines in both of their households and will often attend special events, such as holidays and other celebrations together with their child.

However, not all divorcing parents are on such amicable terms. Resentment and anger can linger long after the divorce decree is signed. However, despite these negative feelings, parents still may want to share custody. If co-parenting isn't a feasible option, parents may want to try another way to share custody: parallel parenting.

What types of spousal support are available in Michigan?

Sometimes when a couple is married, one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Some couples even decide to have one spouse stay out of the workforce entirely to care for the family. While these arrangements may work when a couple is married, should the couple divorce the lesser-earning spouse may be at a significant financial disadvantage. For this reason, courts may order the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony -- also known as spousal support -- to the lesser-earning spouse.

There are various forms of spousal support in Michigan. Sometimes spousal support is paid through one single payment. This is known as "lump-sum" spousal support. Other times spousal support is paid periodically over time, whether it occur once a month or once a year. This is known as "periodic" spousal support.

3 financial mistakes that may complicate your divorce

Marriage is one of the most important institutions in modern society. Not only does a spouse provide you with emotional support, but he or she may also make acquiring wealth easier. When spouses divorce, though, finances often become highly contentious. If you are thinking about leaving your spouse, you must work diligently to protect yourself from financial pitfalls. 

Not every married couple is wealthy. Whether you have significant assets or substantial debt, you must understand how your financial situation affects your divorce. Here are three financial mistakes that may make your divorce more complicated: 

How can property division affect my retirement?

Many married couples in Plymouth spend years saving for retirement. They may have 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, and other investments that they have set aside to allow them to live comfortably once they stop working. However, not every marriage is meant to last. Sometimes couples -- even those who have been married for decades -- decide to divorce.

When a younger couple divorces, child custody and child support may be major issues to them. However, if a couple's children are grown, these issues aren't present in a divorce, meaning that a greater focus may be on property division -- specifically, how to divide the retirement assets they have spent so many years accumulating.

Nesting may be a viable child custody option for some

When parents in Plymouth divorce, they may be concerned about how their children will be affected by the split. Children are resilient but having to adjust to moving from one household to the other for shared custody periods can be stressful. Some parents choose to try to alleviate this stress through a unique child custody arrangement known as nesting.

Nesting is a type of co-parenting arrangement. In traditional child custody arrangements, the child resides with one parent some of the time and the other parent some of the time. This means the child will need to be transferred between two separate households. Through nesting, however, the child remains in the family home, and it is the parents who rotate between living in the family home with the child during their parenting time and living in a separate apartment when it is not their parenting time. The aim of nesting is to provide the child with the stability he or she might not experience through traditional child custody arrangements.

We can help establish paternity and everything that comes after

There are many reasons that establishing paternity for your child may be on your mind. Whether you are the mother looking to put a legal father on record for your child, a grandmother looking for grandparent's rights or a father seeking parental rights, seeking paternity is the first step for many. With the legal establishment of paternity comes a range of rights and responsibilities.

When the parents are married, the law assumes that the husband is the father of any child born during the marriage. When the parents are not married, establishing paternity is a legal matter.

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