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Could fault become a factor in divorce alimony discussions?

In Michigan, a couple may file for divorce based on the ground of no fault. However, that’s not a guarantee that allegations of fault may not surface later in the divorce proceeding.

Specifically, if the parties cannot reach a settlement on any of the issues that must be resolved by a divorce, the court will hear each party’s position before making a final decision. In the example of spousal support, judges in Michigan look at several factors derived from case law. Named after a case, these Parrish factors may examine each party’s ability to work, the length of the marriage, spousal actions, allegations of fault, and any other general principles of equity.

Of course, it would not be strategic to open divorce discussions with accusations of fault, especially if the parties wanted an uncontested divorce. Where minor children are concerned, it may spare everyone from heartache to explore collaborative and dispute resolution techniques, in the presence of one’s attorney. Such techniques may produce agreements without the court’s involvement, saving parties both time and money.

Yet the reality of divorce is that there are a lot of issues that must be finalized. The assets and debts of the marital estate must be divided in an equitable manner. If there are children, the parties must establish a visitation arrangement and agree on the terms of custody and child support. If a spouse has not been in the workforce due to raising children or health issues, there may also be strong grounds for alimony.

If a disagreement on any of the above issues cannot be resolved, a divorce becomes contested. That status doesn’t have to be seen as a detriment, however. Our divorce attorneys have the experience to represent our clients’ best interests in and out of the courtroom.

Source: The Washington Post, “A Virginia woman hopes her funny coloring book will ease the sting of divorce,” John Kelly, Feb. 13, 2017

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