Double dipping – paying twice – is it legal?

Double dipping – paying twice – is it legal?  Double dipping is a legal term to describe paying twice for the same thing. 

When dividing property in a Michigan divorce your divorce attorney tries to maximize or minimize what is marital property depending on the circumstance.  The court tries to divide marital property equitably or fairly.  While there is no requirement that the division of marital property be equal, there is a requirement under Michigan divorce law that the division be fair.  Visit for a detailed explanation of property division by Daniel Findling, Michigan divorce attorney.


To many, double dipping is not fair.  The most common example of double dipping arises in the payment of alimony or spousal support from an income stream already divided.  Take the following example:

  • A spouse is ordered to pay the other 50% of the value of a business.  Assuming the business is marital property this is not an uncommon result.
  • The double dipping occurs when the spouse who retains the business is then ordered to pay alimony or spousal support from the future income stream from the same business.

The party who retained the business is paying twice.  First, for the business and second, alimony or spousal support from income generated from the same business.  This is the classic example of double dipping.

So is double dipping legal when dividing property in a Michigan divorce case?  The answer is yes.

The Michigan Court of Appeals in the case of Alexander v. Alexander, Court of Appeals docket no.  310917l 311896 decided December 16, 2013 decided a case involving “double dipping”.  The court decided that double dipping is appropriate when it results in an award that is just and reasonable under the circumstances.  In the Alexander case, the court decided that when one party is well-established and the other party is less so, double dipping is appropriate.

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I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

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By:  Daniel Findling

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