In this case, the parties divorced after 31 years of marriage. The defendant, 60 years old at the time of trial, worked as a self-employed painter and DJ. Plaintiff, 55 years old at the time of trial, was employed part-time, working 20 to 24 hours a week as a daycare worker at $9 an hour; she had worked part-time throughout the marriage while raising the parties’ children. In light of the disparity in the parties’ incomes, the trial court awarded spousal support to plaintiff.
Defendant pays plaintiff periodic spousal support subject to modification in the amount of $600.00 per month for 7 years or until plaintiff’s remarriage or death, whichever occurs first. The spousal support is also preserved for plaintiff to insure payment of debt and obligations assigned to the defendant. The trial court awarded the marital home to defendant but ordered that he pay plaintiff her half of the net equity. The parties had owned two empty parcels of land, and the court awarded one parcel to plaintiff and one to defendant.
Plaintiff argues that failing to place a value on defendant’s two businesses and awarding them to defendant, is depriving plaintiff of assets to which she is entitled.
Defendant stated that he operated the painting business in cash and that he has minimal equipment for the business. With regard to the DJ business, defendant stated that he had one guy that will cover for him and minimal DJ equipment. Both parties acknowledged that both of the businesses (painter and DJ) are operated on a cash basis and the value is essentially the labor provided by defendant. Although there was some testimony that plaintiff assisted at times with the businesses, the court found that the DJ business and the painting business, was, for the most part, dependent on the labor of defendant.
The trial court did not find the businesses “valueless” but instead, that they were dependent on defendant’s goodwill and labor and that the business and the necessary equipment should therefore be awarded to defendant, so he could continue to carry out his job. Accordingly, the decision of the court was that both businesses and the equipment needed to carry out the functions of the businesses be awarded to the defendant.
Are you facing a divorce in Michigan? Do you have questions about how your assets be divided?
In Michigan, marital assets are divided equitably during the divorce process, but this does not mean that the property division will be equal.
Aldrich Legal Services family law practice is headed by Brad Aldrich, a knowledgeable divorce lawyer with more than 19 years of legal experience. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer at our firm, contact our Michigan law office.