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Attorney & Mediator
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Experience:  Attorney & Certified Mediator
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If an elderly couple divorce, would the wife get half of ...

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If an elderly couple divorce, would the wife get half of the whole estate even if some of the money is just in his name? This couple lives in Michigan.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
All assets that were acquired during the marriage are considered a marital asset and will be subject to the equitable distribution laws for Michigan. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. This type of distribution would depend on what is fair given the circumstances.

If the money that was kept in his sole name is XXXXX XXXXX savings before his marriage, then those funds would be considered his separate property and no share would be given to her. If the money was based on income received during the marriage, it is possible that she gets a share unless you can negotiate that she take another marital asset in exchange for the money in these accounts.

If the money is from an inheritance or gift, then she is also not entitled to it.

So to answer your question, the source of where this money came from will determine whether the wife gets a share. If the asset is determined a martial asset, then yes it is possible that she can get half of it, it will depend on whether you can trade off another asset to keep this one in your own name.


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Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it’s associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate information. Thank you.

Attorney & Mediator, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 20012
Experience: Attorney & Certified Mediator
Attorney & Mediator and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Please address my same question, but according to Florida laws. He is planning on moving her to Florida this week, and he won't give up power of attorny over her, to her own children.
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
Florida also uses the equitable distribution laws, so distribution is the same (you can read more about this below).

In addition you can only divorce someone in the state you have been a resident for a period of at least six months. So if he is planning on moving her to Florida, he will need to wait out at least six months to petition the court in Florida for a divorce or else he can file now in Michigan.


In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, in addition to all other remedies available to a court to do equity between the parties, or in a proceeding for disposition of assets following a dissolution of marriage by a court which lacked jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of the assets, the court shall set apart to each spouse that spouse's nonmarital assets and liabilities, and in distributing the marital assets and liabilities between the parties, the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors, including: (a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker. (b) The economic circumstances of the parties. (c) The duration of the marriage. (d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party. (e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse. (f) The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party. (g) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties. (h) The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home. (i) The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition. (j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties. (Florida Statutes - Chapters: 61.075 and 61.077)


Please accept my answer for the work I have provided you and to close this window. Thank you for using Just Answer.

Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it’s associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply toCustomers Post: My question is also regarding the previous question, he is moving our mother to Florida this week and won't give us (her family) power of attorny over her. This is our stepfather and we are wondering if it would be better for her to divorce him. What are the laws in Florida as far as sharing the estate?
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
Can you tell me if your mother is not of right mind, or why it is that your step-father has a POA?

Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
Could you also clarify what you mean by "share of the estate" do you mean at the time of death? That is not clear from your previous posts, thanks.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply toCustomers Post: He doesn't have POA at this time, my mother is step one alzheimers (18 months). He is applying for POA within this next week. He also has alzheimers (four years) and his progression has been much slower. We wanted POA over our mother because they are moving her to Florida and his family wants him to have total control over her. He is 86 and my mother is 79, we are concerned that his children are wanting us out of the picture completely. That is why we want POA over her, they are hiding the estate and saying there is only $$$ to take care of our mother for 1 1/2 years, we also know that there is a lot of money that is being hid from us, we want the best care for our mother and our concerns are with the children of our stepfather taking control.
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
Thank you Customer for the clarification, it all makes sense now, the terms you have been using are not correct for the information you are seeking.

1) No one can apply for a POA (power of attorney), that is something your mother would give to him if she where of right mind. There is no such thing as applying for a POA. There is the legal recourse of petitioning the court to become that person's guardian or conservator (this is not the same as a POA).

2) If he has not yet filed for conservatorship of your mother, then anyone of you can petition the court to be appointed as the conservator. The judge make the decision whether your mother requires a conservator and whether the petitioner is eligible. So if you want to make sure you or your family takes care of your mother, do not wait for him to file, one of you should be filing now.

3) If your mother is not of right mind because of her stage one Alzheimers, then she would not be able to get a divorce unless her conservator files for this.

4) As to who shares the estate. If your mother dies without a will, the laws of intestate succession control who inherits what. If your step-father survives your mother, then the children and the step-father will share ownership. If there is a will, then only those named under the will, inherit. If there is a divorce, the step-father is entitled to a share of the marital assets as discussed in my previous answers and the remainder of the assets will be distributed according to the will or the intestate succession laws.


There is no way to defeat his rights to his share of the marital assets and his rights to inherit should there be no will.


Please accept my answer for the work I have provided you and to close this window. Thank you for using Just Answer.

Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it’s associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
There is a Will, they will not let us know what it is. My stepfather is saying there is only money enough to take care of her for 1 1/2 years. We know different as far as there is much more money but it is being kept a secret from us. My mother is in assisted living only because of needing her medication monitored. She is of sound mind at this time, can his children once getting my mother to Florida become POA over her, what if they quit paying for my mothers care, what happens then, even though we know there is more money but they are claiming that there isn't. Who cares for my mother then?
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
1) No one can become a POA of anyone, you can become the conservator of her only when she becomes incompetent. If at the present time she is of right mind, then no court will give anyone conservatorship.

2) Since you say your mother is of right mind, then she can give you a copy of her will. There is no need to ask the step-father for permission as the mother can give that to you. In addition at the present time, your mother can create a power of attorney to give you rights to her property and the will. The creation of a power of attorney only requires that she execute the power of attorney and it does not require court approval. All you need is for her to get the forms and get them signed. Your mother can buy one for $35.00 at legal zoom.com or she can have an attorney draft one for her. Again since she is of right mind, she has the power to make out her power of attorney no one applies to become a power of attorney.

3) Again, if your mother is of right mind, she can get the will without the step-father's consent. If she cannot get out of the nursing home, she can create a power of attorney to name one of you to have access to the will and her property. There is no need to wait for court approval. In addition, since she is of right mind she can tell the nursing home that she refuses to be released to her husband and that she wishes to remain in Michigan.

Please accept my answer for the work I have provided you and to close this window. Thank you for using Just Answer.

Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it’s associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate information. Thank you.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you very, very much. You have been so helpful through this stressful time of ours.
Thanks again..Janis
Expert:  Attorney & Mediator replied 6 years ago.
I am glad to be of help to you. Make sure that your mother executes the power of attorney before the step-father decides to control her person. If she is of right mind at the present time, she needs to protect herself and get these forms in place.

Please don't forget to click accept If I have been helpful as that is the only way I am compensated for the work product I provide.

Don't forget to click Accept for my time and research, thank you.

Please accept my answer for the work I have provided you and to close this window. Thank you for using Just Answer.

Legal Disclaimer: The information given by me is for informational/research use only and you are paying me only for such information. The information contained herewith is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. I also do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided. I strive to provide quality information, but I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked herein and it’s associated sites. As law is always changing, you are advised to speak with the appropriate legal counsel for accurate information. Thank you.

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