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Child custody and its potential effect on property division, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about property division and the potential effect a divorcing couple’s child custody arrangement can have on the way property is awarded. As we noted, the needs of the children is one of the factors judges take into consideration when determining what constitutes a fair disposition of property under Michigan’s equitable distribution approach.

It should also be pointed out that the relationship between property division and spousal support is fairly close, such that courts will often address support needs in property division itself, particularly if the couple’s assets are significant but their income is limited. As always, the way this issue is handled really depends on the circumstances of the case. 

In addition to this, Michigan courts have authority to award one spouse a “just and reasonable” share of separate property belonging to the other spouse in cases where the share of marital property awarded to the one spouse is not adequate for “suitable support” of that party and any children in that party’s custody. So, not only can the disposition of marital property be affected by the needs of a spouse and any children in her care—separate property can also be affected, though probably to a lesser extent.

For divorcing parties, the most important thing is to work with experienced counsel to ensure their rights are protected and their interests represented throughout the process, especially when it comes to the division of property. Because judges have significant discretion in making property awards, it can definitely make a difference when one works with a strong advocate. 

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Child custody and its potential effect on property division, P.2 | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC