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What Is the Ten-Year Divorce Rule in Michigan?

Are you considering or pursuing a divorce in Michigan? If so, you should understand how the length of your marriage could affect your spouse’s rights regarding asset division. Michigan follows a “ten-year rule,” which says that divorcing spouses are entitled to certain benefits if their marriage lasted ten years or longer. Here’s what you need to know about this rule.

The Ten-Year Rule and Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In Michigan, the ten-year rule can affect workers’ compensation benefits in your divorce case. If you divorce after being married for ten years or longer, this rule says your ex-spouse might have a right to a part of your workers’ comp benefits. This applies if you began receiving these benefits during the marriage since the court considers workers’ comp benefits shared property. Like a house or a car, the benefits become something both partners might have a right to. The exact amount your ex-spouse can get depends on what the court decides. The court looks at factors like the length of the marriage, the total amount of the benefits, and other financial aspects of the marriage.

The Ten-Year Rule and Social Security Benefits

The ten-year rule also applies to Social Security benefits in a Michigan divorce case. If you were married for at least ten years, your ex-spouse could be eligible for a portion of your Social Security benefits. For your ex-spouse to claim these benefits, you must have been divorced for at least two full years, and they must be at least 62 years old and not have remarried since your divorce. If your ex meets these requirements, they can receive up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefit payments. Fortunately, this does not reduce your own benefit payments. This rule is especially important if you or your ex are near retirement age.

The Ten-Year Rule and Military Pension Benefits

If your marriage lasted ten years or more and overlapped with ten years of military service, the ten-year rule also applies to military pension benefits. This means your ex-spouse might be entitled to a portion of your military pension. The Department of Defense can directly pay your ex-spouse their share of the pension. The court decides the amount of this share. It’s important to note that the ten-year overlap between marriage and military service is key. If you served in the military but the service didn’t overlap with the marriage for ten years, this rule might not apply.

Does the Ten-Year Rule Affect Alimony Payments in Michigan?

It depends. Generally, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is for a court to award alimony. In marriages that last ten years or more, the court commonly views alimony as a way to provide financial stability to a spouse who might have become dependent on the other’s income. The court looks at many factors in alimony determinations, such as each spouse’s income, age, health, and standard of living in the marriage. However, a marriage lasting less than ten years doesn’t automatically rule out alimony.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Lawyer Now

Still have questions about the ten-year rule and how it could affect your Michigan divorce case? Cole Family Law is here to help. Our experienced team is committed to providing the clarity and guidance you need during this difficult time. Don’t let uncertainty about your divorce overwhelm you. Reach out to us now for a free consultation to discuss your unique situation and explore your options.