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Attorney & Mediator
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After 19 years of marriage and 10 years of cohabitant living

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After 19 years of marriage and 10 years of cohabitant living as a wife what are my rights as far as married property. Also am I as a wife entitled to my husbands pension in the event of a divorce, he will be entitled to his pension at age 55 he is now 51 and I am 61. He also became a resident of another state for his employment and I am resident of another state our home town state.
1) The divorce can be filed in his state or your state if you meet the residency requirements on that particular state. For your question, I will assume you will be filing and use the law of Michigan to answer your question.

2) Michigan is an equitable distribution state which means all property acquired during the marriage is subject to a fair and reasonable division as determined on a case by case basis. This does not mean it is an automatic 50/50, but what is fair and reasonable. Generally the presumption starts out that 50% is equitable unless proven otherwise.

Anything obtained during the marriage whether in the name of one spouse or both is considered marital property, except for inheritance or gifts which are considered that spouse's separate property.

3) A pension earned during the marriage is considered a martial property, so you would be entitled to it. Generally you would be entitled to the percentage of increase which occurred during the marriage. The ten years of cohabitation would not apply since Michigan does not recognize common law marriage. So the focus would be limited to the 19 years after marriage. Since the pension was earned during the marriage you can have it disbursed after he is entitled to it.

4) You may also be eligible for alimony, if you are financially dependent on his, generally at your age and the length of marriage support can be permanent. Alimony is determined on a case by case basis on the needs of the asking spouse and the other parties ability to pay including, earning capacity, ability to work, reasonable standard of living, etc..



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