Michigan Military Divorce Laws

Michigan Military Divorce Information

Information on Michigan military divorce laws can be found in our list of  cases (stated below). Michigan has applied the USFSPA and held military retirement pay to be divisible in divorce decrees.

Use this case law to assist your lawyer in negotiating the best outcome for your decree and/or to learn more about how Michigan has treated military spouse benefits in the past.

Every divorce case is unique in it’s own way, with a mixture of years married, time in service, overlap of both of those issues and a mixture of other circumstances. However, while the total picture of each divorce creates a unique story, we can find similar bits and pieces of information overlapping across scenarios.

We can then use court rulings on the specific information to aid in an equitable award of military spouse benefits.

So, while these cases apply specifically to Michigan state laws, they still might be beneficial for arguments proposed in other states.

As Former Military Spouse builds the list of cases across the nation, there is one common theme—the states seem to agree that military retirement pay should be treated as an asset, divisible in divorce.

USFSPA Divorce Cases Setting Precedent in Michigan

The following Michigan court cases concern spouse benefits. The brief summary line is not all inclusive of the issues discussed. You may want to read each case in full to find similarities to your own situation that you can discuss with your attorney.

  • 1978 Chisnell v. Chisnell, 82 Mich. App. 699, 267 N.W.2d 155. Courts may divide retirement pay and military retirement pay may be garnished to fulfill an award of attorney fees.
  • 1983 McGinn v. McGinn, 126 Mich. App. 689, 337 N.W.2d 632. Discussed whether USFSPA benefits could be applied to divorce decrees finalized prior to the McCarty decision date of June 26, 1981.
  • 1985 Giesen v. Giesen, 140 Mich. App. 335, 364 N.W.2d 327. Alimony case in a marriage – divorce – remarriage to the original spouse situation. (First marriage was in Illinois).
  • 1987 Keen v. Keen, 160 Mich. App. 314, 407 N.W.2d 643.  Discussion of why assets should not be distributed through an award of Alimony benefits. “Alimony and division of property are separate concepts serving different purposes and, therefore, should be kept as distinct as possible.”
  • 1982 Boyd v. Boyd, 116 Mich. App. 774, 323 N.W.2d 553 “It is our opinion that any vested pension which is deemed a marital asset should be distributed even if the plan is subject to the contingency or expectancy that the employee survive to a certain age or a specific number of years.”  Trial courts decide what is marital property. read more on vested pension.
  • 2010, MeGee v. MeGee, No. 292207, Macomb Circuit Court, LC No. 1988-003172-DM. Service member is responsible to compensate his or her former spouse for any postjudgement election to waive retirement pay.

Contribute your 2013 Michigan military divorce information (or prior years) using our submission form.

Did you have a Michigan lawyer? Are you happy with the outcome of your divorce decree? Tell us in the comments below.

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