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Westland MI Family Law Blog

Michigan bankruptcy law: What to expect when pursuing bankruptcy

Taking the leap and filing for bankruptcy can be a frightening thing, especially if one is not sure what to expect. Michigan residents who think that this form of debt relief may be their best bet do not have to go through it with little understanding as to what is going on. This week's column will go over a few things to expect during the process, and an experienced bankruptcy law attorney can provide even more detailed information on the matter.

The first matter to be discussed is when to file for bankruptcy. There is never a perfect time to do it. Before going this route, though, it is suggested that one try to reduce debt first by trying to work something out with creditors. This, one can do alone or with the assistance of legal counsel. If that proves ineffective and debts are too much to get out of on one's current income, then bankruptcy may be the best option.

You may qualify to discharge your tax debts under Chapter 7

Getting yourself back on track financially can seem overwhelming or impossible when you are carrying a tax burden related to your personal income taxes. While any debt burden may present serious issues, owing the federal government is even more stressful for some individuals because it has broad power to reach in and take assets or freeze accounts that other parties simply do not have, or cannot achieve as easily.

It may come as a great relief to learn that many tax debts that arise from income tax are subject to a discharge under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While bankruptcy is rarely the first solution a debtor should consider, it offers an essential safety net of relief for many who might not have other ways out of financial hardship.

Michigan divorce law: How to handle the 401k

Many Michigan residents who are fortunate enough to have 401(k) benefits offered through their employers may consider such accounts as separate property in divorce. This is not often the case, though. For most married couples, this is considered a shared asset -- a pretty significant one. The potential problems with dividing such an asset are many, but a divorce law attorney can make sure one takes all the necessary steps to get it done right.

So, how can one access a spouse's 401(k) assets? Some would think it is as simple as the holding spouse filling out a distribution request. This, however, is considered an early withdrawal and subject to fees, penalties and taxes.

Michigan divorce law and the hiding of digital assets

The only way a fair and balanced property division agreement can be achieved is if all marital assets are brought to the table. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. In Michigan and elsewhere, there are those who may try to hide digital and other assets in order to keep them for themselves. If you believe this may be an issue for you, a divorce law attorney may be able to help.

After filing for divorce, it is essential for both parties to put together a list of shared assets so that it can be reviewed and the assets fairly divided. If, after looking at the list provided from your spouse, you feel that something isn't adding up, it is okay to question whether all assets have been accounted for appropriately. An investigation into the matter can then be conducted.

Michigan bankruptcy law: Most people have some type of debt

According to a recent news report, most Americans are in debt in some way. While there are those who, with strict adherence to a budget, can get out of debt on their own, there are others who will find that they need a little help. Michigan residents who are in over there heads and drowning in debt may benefit from relief offered through bankruptcy law.

Presently, adults of all ages are struggling financially. This is not an issue specific to one age group. However, it is believed that millennials are currently carrying the most debt -- particularly mortgage debt. Those with the most credit card debt are said to be Gen Xers, with average card balances of over $8,000. When it comes to medical debt -- the main cause of bankruptcy filings in the United States -- this is an issue across all age groups.

A divorce law attorney can prove helpful during mediation

Not every Michigan couple wants to head to divorce court in order to end their marriages. It is okay. There are other options. For example, with the assistance of a divorce law attorney, one may be able to achieve agreeable divorce terms through the mediation process.

What is mediation? Mediation is when a couple meets to discuss the terms of their dissolution. This they will do in an informal setting with a mediator present. The job of the mediator is to provide information and keep negotiations moving along. It is not the mediator's job to pick sides; the person in this position has to remain neutral at all times.

Is the other parent obstructing your parenting time?

In almost all cases, parents have difficulty getting used to sharing custody. This is a normal experience shared by thousands of families throughout the country who face court orders that do not fit comfortably into their new lives.

However, some parents' behavior surrounding child custody and sharing parenting privileges moves beyond frustrating and into legally actionable. In these cases, that behavior may cost them dearly, if a court determines that they committed parenting time interference.

Michigan bankruptcy law: Credit card interest rates about to rise

According to a recent news report, credit card interest rates are about to rise. This will really hurt those who are currently carrying balances and are unable to pay them off. For Michigan residents in this situation, bankruptcy law may be of benefit.

The Federal Reserve noted an increase in credit card spending in Nov. 2017. A sign, they say, that consumers are feeling more confident in the economy. Is that really the case, though?

Divorce law and your business

The divorce process can be challenging to get through when complex assets are involved -- such as a family or privately owned business. For many couples in Michigan, their businesses may be their biggest assets and subject to property division under divorce law. Before any big decisions can be made on how to handle a shared or privately owned business, there are a few questions that need to be answered first.

Question number one: What is the business worth? There are three ways to determine a business' value: looking at financial records, reviewing the market and looking at appreciation over the course of the marriage. Valuation can take time, particularly if one spouse was not involved in business operations.

Michigan bankruptcy law: Have next to nothing in savings?

Many people in Michigan and across the country have next to nothing in savings. This means that if they experience a significant financial hardship, they could lose everything they have trying to pay for it. Thankfully, when fiscal disaster strikes there are options to deal with it. A bankruptcy law attorney can review the situation and help one find a solution.

According to a recent report, millions of people are living paycheck to paycheck. Most have $1,000 or less in savings. While this may be enough to handle a minor emergency, it is not enough to cover job loss or an unexpected major expense.

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Westland, MI 48185

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