I strongly (in the strongest sense) urge you to seek the representation of an experienced family law attorney. You do not have the skill, let alone the knowledge, to represent yourself in this matter. The court must divide marital property equitably (fairly) and he/she must find or conclude that a division of the marital estate is fair, after taking into consideration a multitude of factors in arriving at a decision. The attorney will know how to present your position in arguing for a division that is fair and protects whatever individual rights to property you may otherwise be entitled to. An attorney may have been able to persuade the Judge to grant possession of the home to you based on your statement that she has been out of the house for 14 months, but, again, there are no guarantees in life or divorce.
Neil M. Colman
Mr. Colman is licensed to practice law in Michigan. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Colman strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
You don't just need a lawyer for the hearing, you need one now. Lawyers are not magicians. We get results because we have time to plan and work with what your case has to offer.
How the judge handles possession of the marital home prior to the judgment does not necessarily predict how it will be handled in the judgment. The sooner you get a lawyer to help you negotiate and to represent you at a trial, if necessary, the better off you will be.
You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.
Dear Avvo subscriber,
The answer to your question depends upon what the hearing in February is noticed for. You should consult with an attorney to determine what the Court expects at the hearing and if you should file a response ahead of time or have any paperwork ready to present to the court. Family and divorce law depends a lot upon the facts of your case and more facts would be needed to provide you with a more concise answer.
In any event, you should know that Michigan follows the rule of equitable distribution, and although there is no hard and fast requirement that a divorce judge should award each party exactly 50 percent of the property, that is what courts do typically do.
Applied to the facts you provide, if the property in question was purchased during the course of the marriage and you acquired your earnings that allowed you to purchase the property during the marriage, in all likelihood, the court may find the property is marital and subject to division.
However, if the court finds that you are in need of support, the divorce judgment could address this need and award you more than half of the property. If it is not possible to equalize all of your assets and award you or your wife the home, and the other spouse other assets, the property may be ordered to be sold. If there are any mortgages on the property that exceed the value of the home, neither of you may end up with anything at all and both of you may suffer financially.
Although there appears to be much animosity between you two at this time and despite the PPO, If it is possible to agree to mediating your disputes, you may want your lawyer to contact your wife's lawyer and see if you, your wife and counsel would be willing to mediate the dispute. Mediation provides creative alternatives to litigation that a divorce judge may not otherwise be able to provide you with.
Your best bet however, is to consult with a divorce lawyer to determine what your best options would be and also so you can be prepared at the February hearing.
Very truly yours,
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