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DIVORCE 16: Medical marijuana grow operation considered income for calculation of spousal support.

During his marriage to plaintiff, defendant began a medical marijuana grow operation as a registered caregiver under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), MCL 333.26421 et seq., providing medical marijuana for qualified patients. Plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce and requested spousal support.

Plaintiff and defendant were married in 1988. Over the course of the marriage and up to the point of these proceedings defendant maintained a drywall business. Over two decades later, defendant purchased a camp property with funds earned during the marriage and began to use the property to grow medical marijuana as a licensed grower.

Plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce in June of 2016. She requested $2,500 per month in spousal support and a greater portion of the marital estate.

With regard to defendant’s income, the trial court found that defendant earned an average of $15,300 per year from his drywall business and $120,000 per year from his medical marijuana grow operation during that same period. The trial court further found that defendant incurred annual expenses of $63,150 in order to maintain his marijuana grow operation.

Using these calculations, the trial court determined that defendant netted approximately $4,737.50 per month from activities solely associated with his marijuana grow operation. The trial court then accounted for defendant’s drywall-related income of $1,275 per month and his general expenses unrelated to the marijuana grow operation of $3,055 per month, finding that defendant was ultimately left with $2,957.50 in disposable monthly income. Plaintiff, however, experienced a net loss of $1,685.60 per month when examining her income and expenses.

After calculating the value of the marital estate, the trial court awarded the marijuana grow operation to defendant. Lastly, after considering the length of the marriage, the ability of the parties to work, their conduct during the marriage, their needs and abilities, fault, the amount of property awarded, and the general principles of equity, the trial court awarded plaintiff $1,900 per month in spousal support.

Were you just served with divorce papers? Do you believe that divorce is the only option left for your marriage?  In order to protect your financial rights, it is important to have an experienced and understanding divorce attorney by your side at every step of the way.

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