Divorce FAQ: How do judges make decisions?

Divorce trials do not have juries. To make their decisions, Michigan judges must hear testimony and must review extensive documentary evidence. The evidence presented by each side must comply with the Michigan Rules of Evidence to be properly admitted for the judge to hear or review. The judge then applies the law to the set of facts the judge finds to be credible. Laws governing divorces vary from state to state. In general, judges are guided by statutory principles along with principles of fairness and equity. In the case of marital property, for example, most judges favor an equal division of assets. The judges, however, have the power and discretion to consider a broad range of factors that may influence the decision and warrant an unequal distribution of the marital estate. This is rare and unless there is really egregious behavior on the part of one of the spouses, the unequal distribution is more like only a 45%-55% split. Most people are very unsatisfied with the litigation trial experience and do not like what the judge orders.

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