Divorce can be especially complex for spouses who have been married for a long duration. Couples tend to accumulate wealth over time, complicating the process of distributing property. It may also be difficult to calculate the earning potential of a spouse who has spent a significant amount of time out of the workforce while raising the children. So, alimony becomes a highly speculative question. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we have extensive experience with complex divorces. We’ve demonstrated capable management of the equitable distribution process for high net-worth couples, and we have a solid track record of obtaining fair spousal support orders. If you’ve made the decision to dissolve a long-term marriage, we can help you negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement or litigate disputes aggressively in court to protect your rights.
In a marriage of long duration, one spouse tends to be the primary provider and the other the primary caregiver for the couple’s children. Even for two-career couples, this is often the case, as one spouse, usually the wife, takes time away from a career to raise children and then returns to the workforce when the children are sufficiently grown. This time away from work creates an imbalance in the amount the spouses have earned and what they might earn in the future. When the couple divorces, the stay-at-home spouse could be at a distinct disadvantage.
One of the factors Michigan law requires a court to consider is the amount a spouse has contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of property. By itself, this factor would lead to a decision greatly favoring the primary earner. However, there are balancing factors, such as:
A dependent spouse’s claim on a share of the primary earner’s 401(k) plan or other retirement assets is stronger in marriages of long duration. Social Security benefits are not divisible as marital assets, but a court can consider them for purposes of alimony.
The legal team at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office has the experience necessary to negotiate marital settlements for long-term marriages. Call us at 616-698-0000 or contact our Grand Rapids office online to schedule your initial consultation. We are also available on Skype by appointment.
To talk with our attorney about your legal concerns, contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office by calling 616-698-0000. You may also complete our online contact form. After-hours consultations are available by appointment. We are also available on Skype by appointment.