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Westland MI Family Law Blog

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.

Bankruptcy law and your future

Many people in Michigan and elsewhere disregard bankruptcy as a good form of debt relief because of how it can affect their credit rating. While it is true that utilizing bankruptcy law to get out of debt can do a number on one's credit score, it may only be a temporary problem. If gone about the right way, bankruptcy can be good for one's present situation and for the future.

Over one million Americans file for bankruptcy every year. They do it because, in the end, they believe it is the only debt relief option that will really offer the fresh financial start they desire. While so many people believe this is the worst move anyone could make, a report from LendingTree suggests otherwise.

Advantages of filing for Chapter 13

Over time, personal debt can pile up higher and higher, making it nearly impossible for anyone to stay on top of it all, even those with significant incomes. If you have substantial income and are looking for financial relief and protection from creditors, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a tool that meets your needs,. However, you must be willing to follow the process through to the end and remain within its rigid guidelines.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers debtors the opportunity to halt collection efforts and repay their debts at a manageable rate using their existing incomes. Under Chapter 13, courts can compel creditors and other collecting parties to cease all collection efforts immediately and present debtors with structured paths to financial freedom. In return for this breathing room, debtors must comply with certain financial restrictions for a set period of time.

Michigan divorce law: property division

When going through the divorce process, figuring out who gets to keep what can be a struggle. At the end of the day, most people just want to walk away with their fair share of assets. Michigan divorce law helps couples achieve that by being an equitable distribution state.

In divorce, all marital property is up for grabs. Marital property is defined as assets acquired during the marriage. Such assets may include wedding gifts, real estate, money, retirement account funds, furniture -- anything gifted to the couple, earned or purchased with marital funds.

Michigan bankruptcy law: thinking long term

In 2017, roughly 700,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy -- some of whom were Michigan residents. They did this because they found themselves in difficult financial positions that left them feeling that they had no other option, and that is okay. However, before utilizing bankruptcy law benefits, one must think long term. 

There are numerous benefits to filing for bankruptcy. Depending on the type of filing one pursues, one's debts may be immediately discharged or an affordable payment schedule may be created. Creditors will be forced to stop demanding payments; the foreclosure process can be stopped; and one can finally achieve some sense of monetary relief -- among other benefits. 

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