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Westland MI Family Law Blog

When a stepparent wants to adopt

If you're a stepparent in Michigan, it's not unusual for you to form a strong parental bond with the children of your spouse. In fact, your love for your stepchildren could be so strong that you decide to adopt them.

Regarding stepparent adoption, however, does the other biological parent have to agree to the adoption? What else should you know about this process?

Common divorce law mistakes

When thinking about getting a divorce, most couples just want to get it over with as quickly as possible. Going into the process with that kind of attitude can lead each party to make some mistakes that may hurt them in the long run. Here are some common divorce law mistakes that many couples in Michigan and elsewhere make.

Mistake number one is: not turning to experienced legal counsel. Some people want to get through their divorces without turning to attorneys. While there are ways to do this, it is still wise to have a lawyer review any settlement terms before agreeing to them. This way one will know for certain if he or she is getting the best settlement possible.

Michigan family law: fighting parental alienation

When one parent refuses to let the other have any sort of access to their children as a way of punishment, this is called parental alienation. Many believe this to be a form of child abuse. A family law attorney may be able to help victims of parental alienation in Michigan fight to regain access to their children.

Not all couples separate or divorce on good terms, and not all couples are able to agree on child custody matters. While this may be the case, it is not up to just one parent to decide if the other parent gets custody or visitation time; it is often up to a judge. Failing to follow a court-issued custody order could have severe consequences for the offending party.

Michigan bankruptcy law: the average American has how much debt?

Debt is not something that most people like to talk about. No one wants family and friends to know if they are struggling. The truth is, though, the average American has quite a bit of debt. Michigan residents who find themselves unable to get their finances under control can turn to an experienced bankruptcy law attorney for help.

So, how much debt does the average American have? According to a recent article, most households have nearly $16,000 in credit card debt, an auto loan totaling about $27,000, a mortgage of nearly $174,000 and roughly $50,000 in student loans. Add all that up plus interests, and that is a lot of debt for one household to handle.

Divorce law rulings can be appealed

When a divorce case goes to court because a couple cannot agree on a final settlement, a judge gets to make all the final decisions. This may not seem right sometimes, and not everyone may agree with their court-ordered settlements. Whether one resides in Michigan or elsewhere, a divorce law ruling can be appealed if one disagrees with it.

A good and recent example of a divorce law appeal is the Richard and Alicia Stephenson divorce case. Ms. Stephenson filed for divorce eight years ago but has been unable to come to agreeable terms for her separation. So, the case was sent to court for litigation. At the end of the day, a judge awarded her a lump-sum payment of over $6 million and spousal support of roughly $55,000 per month. Most people would be happy with such a settlement, but Ms. Stephenson felt that it undervalued her role in the marriage so she filed an appeal.

Michigan bankruptcy law: Managing credit card debt

Quite a few Michigan residents have some level of credit card debt. It happens. In fact, it is believed that most Americans carry at least a few thousand dollars in credit card debt. What options are available to such individuals? Is turning to a bankruptcy law attorney for help always necessary?

According to a recent report in Forbes, there are a number of options available to those who have credit card debt that they are struggling to pay down -- the first mentioned being balance transfers. For those who just need a little more time to pay their debts down, a balance transfer may be the answer. However, one must be aware of the fees and interest rates that accompany such offers. Sometimes, it is not worth it.

Do you qualify for Michigan Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you've reached a point where your financial obligations outpace your ability to handle them, you may need to consider filing bankruptcy. For many people with a lot of medical debt, credit card debt or accounts in collections, bankruptcy can offer relief from collections activity and a fresh start for building a better financial future. If you're considering bankruptcy, one of the first decisions you'll make will be whether to pursue Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to restructure the repayment of your debt over several years. This kind of protection benefits those in debt by helping them arrange manageable payments and allowing for a partial discharge of some debts after a set period of time. For some people, however, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide even faster and more complete debt relief. Chapter 7 does not require repayment and allows for a discharge of debts immediately following bankruptcy proceedings, not after years of payments.

Michigan family law: Gig income and child support

Millions of Americans work gig-type jobs. These are contract jobs that some use for their full-time employment and others use to supplement their income. In either case, any income earned is income that can be counted when figuring out a child support order. Unfortunately, many gig workers try to hide their earnings. When this happens, parents in Michigan who are requesting child support can turn to a family law attorney for help in achieving a fair support order.

As it currently stands, many child support-owing parents across the country are behind in their obligations -- $114 billion behind to be exact. Many of them claim the inability to pay due to lack of funds. But do they really lack the funds? In some cases the answer may be yes, but in others the answer is no.

Bankruptcy law and medical bills

There are many Michigan residents who have suffered medical setbacks that have cost them a fortune. Sometimes, medical providers are willing to offer payment plans in order to help people pay their bills. However, some providers will not be so forgiving. Those who are drowning in medical debt may turn to a bankruptcy law attorney who may be able to assist them in seeking economic relief.

Medical care can be a great thing, until the bill arrives. People are grateful for the service, but many simply cannot afford it. According to a recent news article, approximately one out of every four Americans cannot afford or struggles to pay their medical bills.

Michigan family law: When millennials divorce

Divorce can happen after a long marriage, or it can happen shortly after a marriage begins. When millennials in Michigan divorce, they may or may not have complex assets or children to worry about. It does not mean that the dissolution process is any easier for them, and it certainly does not mean that they should forgo family law services to help them with the divorce process.

Sometimes millennials get a bad rap. Some say they are immature, entitled and are not serious about big commitments -- like marriage. However, many family law attorneys disagree. They are seeing millennials delay marriage because they want to wait until they are financially prepared and want to spend more time finding the right person. Many see millennials looking at obtaining prenuptial agreements in order to protect themselves -- something that other generations have avoided doing, and something that shows they understand what they are getting themselves into.

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