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Westland MI Family Law Blog

Michigan bankruptcy law: Credit card debt out of control?

Numerous Michigan residents have credit card debt, and many of them are struggling to pay it down. This is not just a Michigan problem; it is actually a nationwide problem. Those whose credit card debt is out of control may turn to bankruptcy law for relief.

How bad is the credit card crisis? According to a recent news report, American consumers owe over $974 billion to credit card companies. The average household is carrying over $8,200 in credit card debt. It is a lot, especially when one considers all the interest these individuals pay over the years for carrying the debt.

Michigan divorce law: Divorced but still living together

Many Michigan residents who have been through the divorce process still find themselves living with their exes. This may be because they have children they both wish to continue living with or because of the financial inability to move out of the shared home. No matter the reason, it is a living arrangement that can work, but there are some details that need to be figured out first. A divorce law attorney can help with that.

Continuing to share a residence after divorce can leave room for financial questions. For instance, child support or alimony, should either party have to pay it? A former couple may still choose to live together, but their finances should be separated. In Michigan, paying child support or alimony may be required -- it doesn't matter if a former couple still resides in the same residence. This type of living arrangement just may change how much the paying spouse has to provide each month.

More marital assets can mean issues in Michigan asset division

Most people have heard the phrase "more money, more problems." That particular aphorism often proves true in contentious divorces. The more assets a couple accumulates over the course of their marriage, the more likely they are to fight over those assets in a divorce.

In fact, couples with significant assets may engage in acrimonious fighting in a divorce. Some people may even go so far as to engage in behaviors they know are illegal in order to limit how much of the marital estate goes to their spouse because Michigan tends to split up assets equitably in a divorce.

Michigan bankruptcy law: Debt around the holidays

The holiday season is here. For some Michigan residents, this means added financial stress. Numerous individuals go further into debt around the holidays by charging gifts and hoping to pay off their credit card bills eventually. Unfortunately, some find that extremely difficult to do, thanks to their already tight economic situations. A bankruptcy law attorney may be able to help such individuals achieve the debt relief they desire.

According to a recent report, roughly 28 percent of consumers have still not paid off their credit card balances from holiday spending in 2017. Yet, it is expected that the average credit card holder is going to spend nearly $800 on gifts this year, regardless of their financial situations. With high interest rates, continuing to add to credit card debt will only make paying it off more difficult in the long run.

Michigan family law: Does nesting really work in the long term?

Many couples in Michigan and elsewhere who are choosing to end their marriages have a lot of decisions to make about how to make their family life work when all is said and done. When a couple has children, it can be difficult to decide what living situation would be best for them in the long run. Many people are turning to nesting, but does this type of living arrangement really work long term? Some family law experts feel it may not.

What is nesting? Also referred to as birdnesting, this is where the children remain in the marital home and the parents come and go based on their custody schedule. Why consider this? It keeps children in a familiar environment and offers less disruption to their lives.

How can Chapter 13 bankruptcy law help me

Michigan residents who have found themselves in difficult financial positions often do not know what to do to fix the situation. There are a number of debt relief options out there, but they are not sure which will best suit their needs. This week, this column will address Chapter 13 bankruptcy law and how it can help a number of people achieve the financial relief that they need.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for individuals who have money coming in but not enough to cover the debts. Their income level is too high for them to qualify for debt discharge offered in a Chapter 7 filing. If approved, a Chapter 13 filing will result in the forming of a debt repayment plan, subject to the court's approval, that fits within one's current budget. Only after the repayment period is over will certain remaining debts be discharged.

Divorce law, child custody and the rights of fathers

Divorce and custody matters are emotionally charged and complex issues, and they can be exceptionally difficult for fathers. Despite the fact that many courts are now leaning toward allowing children to have equitable access to both parents, Michigan fathers may find they still have to fight for their rights. In order to do this, fathers need to know how custody and divorce law may affect them and how they can protect their interests.

One of the most common issues for fathers in divorce is their ability to pay child support. For some, this can be financially difficult, and some may not ever be able to keep up. Some dads have gone to jail over this, while others have lost careers and experienced ruined financial lives. Fathers who cannot pay support may need to take any steps they can take to get before a judge, explain their situation and seek a potential modification.

Your divorce may include your spouse’s business

When approaching divorce, it is always wise to build a divorce strategy, so that you understand your own priorities and how to protect them. You may be hoping to jump ship and cut ties, or you may have a lot of tangled finances and custody issues to resolve.

If your spouse owns a business, it may be a significant part of the property division process. Businesses often qualify as marital property during a divorce, which can greatly impact how each party approaches property division negotiations. You need to know how the business qualifies so that you can properly prepare and keep your priorities secure.

When tax law and divorce law collide: Selling the marital home

Many Michigan residents are homeowners. Many Michigan residents are also in the process of ending their marriages or thinking about doing so. Some former couples will want to sell their marital homes, split the profits and move on with their lives right away. Others may wish to continue living together for the time being. Either way, a divorce law attorney may offer guidance on how one can reap the tax benefits associated with selling the marital home.

Current tax laws allow any person or couple to exclude so much of the profits from selling a home from their tax filing. A couple or former couple who files jointly may exclude up to $500,000. If each party wishes to file separately, then each may exclude up to $250,000.

Michigan bankruptcy law: Looking for foreclosure defense options?

While fewer Michigan residents are facing foreclosure now compared to years past, it is still an issue for some. If you are on the brink of losing your home, you may wonder what foreclosure defense options are available to you. This is where a bankruptcy law attorney may be able to help.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one of the most commonly used foreclosure defense options. The minute you submit your bankruptcy filing, foreclosure proceedings -- unless they are very near completion -- have to stop until your bankruptcy case is closed. By going the bankruptcy route, you may be able to work out a new payment plan with your mortgage lender or adjust the amount you need to pay monthly on other debt obligations in order to free funds so that you can make more mortgage payment on time and in full.

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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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5885 N. Wayne
Westland, MI 48185

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