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Westland MI Family Law Blog

Do not wait too long to take advantage of bankruptcy law benefits

When struggling financially, it can be difficult to ask for help. There is a certain level of shame associated with it for some reason. Some Michigan residents may view it as a personal failure. In reality, there is no shame in seeking financial assistance when it is needed. In fact, seeking help sooner rather than later is strongly advised, especially if one is considering utilizing bankruptcy law for its benefits and protections.

When it comes to filing bankruptcy, it is the last resort for most people. They put it off until they just cannot anymore. The months or years of putting off a bankruptcy filing can be a stressful time. Is it worth putting oneself through such misery just because he or she does not want to file for bankruptcy?

Always mind what you say to police

Any interaction with police, no matter how casual, may produce evidence against you. It is very important to understand this whenever you speak with police to help you watch what you say and avoid potentially life-altering consequences.

While not all police are attempting to charge with a person with a crime in every interaction, anything that you say to an officer may count against you as evidence, whether you are under official questioning, under arrest, or just a traffic or street stop. Keeping this in mind, you can more easily navigate your conversations with police and know when to keep your mouth shut (spoiler: It's most of the time).

Michigan family law: Want to relocate with your kids?

You are either in the process of getting divorced or you already have. You are either working out a custody arrangement or you already have one in place. Whether you are in the throes of divorce or you are already done, if you find that you need to relocate and want to take your children with you, getting approval to do so may not be as easy as you think. Michigan family law for child custody matters is written in a way that makes it very difficult for one parent to take the children and move too far from the other parent.

The need to relocate happens. People get new jobs, they require family support, they enter new relationships or they experience hardships. Life is unpredictable. There is nothing wrong with relocating, but when a joint custody arrangement is wanted or already on the table, how a relocation affects that matters.

Michigan divorce law: Why get divorced by the end of 2018?

Rushing into a divorce is not something most attorneys would advise. It is a significant decision, one that will affect one's life and one's children -- if applicable -- forever. That being said, Michigan residents who have been considering ending their marriages, could benefit from finalizing their divorces by the end of 2018. Changes to tax and divorce law are set to go into effect in Jan. 2019.

One change that is coming affects alimony. Under current laws, those individuals who pay alimony can deduct it from their taxable income, and those receiving it have to pay taxes on it. Under the new law, alimony will neither be deductible or taxable. This may sound good for the receiving spouse, but it could actually result in one being paid less than they would get under the current law. 

Michigan bankruptcy law and the means test

Every year, numerous Michigan residents find themselves struggling to manage their finances. When debt gets out of control it is easy to feel defeated and hopeless. Fortunately, achieving debt relief may be possible by utilizing bankruptcy law. How does one know what type of bankruptcy to file, though?

As has been mentioned before in this column, there are two types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Chapter 13 is meant for those individuals who have sufficient enough disposable income to make payments to creditors, but they need help achieving a more affordable payment schedule. Chapter 7 is meant for those individuals who lack the funds to make payments and are looking for debt discharge.

Michigan family law: The Jolie-Pitt custody battle

Divorcing when children are in the picture can be a nasty affair. Parents do not always agree on what is best for the kids. In Michigan and elsewhere, family law courts often have to get involved when this happens. This seems to be what is going on in the Jolie-Pitt divorce case.

According to report, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been working toward a divorce settlement for well over a year and a half now. They have yet to agree on numerous things, including how much time the children should get with each parent. Their current child custody arrangement grants Jolie sole physical custody, while Pitt has only been awarded visitation. However, it is believed that this may soon change.

Don’t assume your Breathalyzer results are accurate

Maybe you had a couple of drinks at the bat and headed home for the night, or maybe you rolled a stop sign driving home from dinner with friends where you shared a bottle of wine. Now, suddenly, you see the blue lights flashing behind you. With any luck, you'll get away with a warning, but there is also the possibility that a police officer orders you out of the car.

You wind up submitting to a Breathalyzer test that you subsequently fail. If you find yourself facing criminal charges because you failed a sobriety test, be sure to consider all the legal tools you have to fight these charges. You may have more opportunities to protect your rights than you think.

Michigan divorce law: dissolution timeline depends on approach

Thinking about filing for divorce? Wondering how long the process will take from beginning to end? In Michigan and elsewhere, the divorce timeline really depends on how one chooses to approach it. No matter how one goes about it, a divorce law attorney can help one finalize the dissolution as swiftly as possible.

How can one approach the divorce process? There are several ways, actually. In Michigan, it is possible to file a DIY divorce. This means that a person can file and wait for the dissolution to be accepted in court, which usually takes a couple of months. The DIY approach may sound appealing, but it may result in a settlement agreement that is lopsided and only benefits one party -- which doesn't really make it the smartest choice.

Things to consider before utilizing Chapter 7 bankruptcy law

There is one form of bankruptcy that Michigan residents struggling with personal debts can turn to in order to have most -- if not all -- of debts wiped clean as soon as their bankruptcy petitions receive court approval. Chapter 7 bankruptcy law has many benefits. Of course, it is not perfect. Here are some things to consider before filing a Chapter 7 petition.

What are some of the consequences tied to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? This type of debt relief is often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. Once approved, the petitioner may have to sell property to pay back debts. The filing will stay on one's credit report for up to a decade, which can make getting any lines of credit or loans difficult. Finally, it will not clear all types of debt, meaning one may still be responsible to make payments to certain creditors even if they lack the funds to do so.

Michigan family law: Joint custody basics

Every year, numerous families in Michigan are affected by divorce. This leaves parents trying to figure out the best way to handle the custody issue. Many courts are leaning toward joint custody arrangements. What does that mean? Who can get it and how can a family law attorney help resolve custody matters?

Joint custody is where both parents are awarded some level of both physical and legal custody of their children. The goal is to try for as close to a 50/50 split as possible. Meaning, each parent should get about equal time with the children, and both parents should have a say when it comes to important life decisions that affect their kids.

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5885 N. Wayne RD | The | Smith | Law Offices, P.C. | 734.729.4465
5885 N. Wayne RD | The | Smith | Law Offices, P.C. | 734.729.4465

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