June, 10, 2013, Lansing, MI- Experts are constantly trying to determine the many reasons so many marriages end in divorce. While there are actually a myriad of reasons from incompatibility to infidelity, but nothing is more toxic to a marriage than fights over money and those fights carry over into the divorce process.

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A 2009 study from Utah State University showed that the biggest predicator of divorce for both men and women, above infidelity, was arguments over finances. Couples who argued about finances at least once a week were 30 percent more likely to get a divorce than couples who argued about money only once a month.

But arguments about money don’t end with the marriage they spill over into the entire divorce process and people need to know how to protect their financial interests in the midst of a contentious divorce.

One of the first steps to take when you know divorce is inevitable is to contact a Michigan divorce attorney, they can help guide through the first stages of severing your finances from your estranged spouses by identifying marital and non-marital assets. An attorney can also outline the type of support an estranged spouse is entitled to so they can plan for their new life.

Before the divorce process begins a couple who owns a home must first decide who gets the property. Aside from child custody, who will take possession of the marital home is likely to be a contentious issue since it often represents the bulk of a couple’s wealth and has a high emotional value.

The easiest route for a couple to take is to sell the home and split the proceeds, but one party may not want to give up their home, especially if that is where they planned to raise their children.

Property division settlements in Michigan are generally decided before a couple appears before a judge, so it is important for a couple to determine how the property will be divided before drafting the final settlement. Assets that were acquired before a marriage can be excluded from a final divorce settlement. Divorce attorney Stu Shafer will work closely with his clients to assure that assets are fairly divided and their standard of living is maintained.

When one spouse accumulates debt it is becomes the responsibility of both parties and a divorce doesn’t change that. Both spouses must disclose both their individual debts and assets in order to come up with agreeable settlement.

If one spouse suspects the other of hiding assets, which constitutes fraud, they can ask their Michigan attorney use their investigative skills and find those assets. Amid divorce proceedings, your attorney can ask to see paystubs, pension statements, and other financial records to determine if all assets have been fully disclosed.

Divorce has a significant impact on a couple’s finances, especially if one spouse makes more than the other. If one spouse’s primary responsibility was to take care of the marital home and children, but did not work outside the home, Michigan divorce attorney Stu Shafer will work to make certain that spouse receives the financial support they need, either through alimony or child support or both.