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Westland MI Family Law Blog

When to seek an annulment rather than a divorce

Marriage is something that no one should jump into without some serious thought. There are Michigan residents, though, who have entered into marital relationships that they should not have for various reasons. In some cases, divorce may not be what is needed. Instead, filing for an annulment may better suit their situations. However, when is filing for an annulment appropriate?

Under Michigan laws, certain marriage types are prohibited. If such marriages are entered into, they may be declared legally invalid if annulment requests receive approval. To achieve approval, one of the following grounds must exist in one's case:

  • Fraud
  • Forced to marry
  • Insanity
  • Underage
  • Non-consummation
  • Bigamy
  • Marriage between close relatives
  • Undisclosed sexually transmitted diseases

Who is Chapter 13 bankruptcy law for?

Last week, this column discussed who can benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This week, Chapter 13 bankruptcy law will be the focus. Who in Michigan is Chapter 13 designed for? Is it for you?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called the wage earner's plan. It is for people who have a good amount of income coming in, but it just is not enough to cover all of their debts. The simple truth is anyone can experience economic troubles. It is not just low-income people who struggle to pay their debts. 

Do not let divorce harm your business

Business owners in the state of Michigan work hard to keep their companies afloat. When one has sacrificed everything to see his or her business succeed, the last thing one wants is to have issues in his or her personal life affect the future of the company -- but this can happen if divorce ever enters the picture. Knowing that divorce can harm one's business, what can one do to prevent that from happening? One of two things can actually be done to protect one's business from the ravages of divorce, and whichever suits one's needs must be completed well before one's marriage falls apart.

Number one: obtain a prenuptial agreement. For those who have not walked down the aisle just yet, it is possible to have a prenuptial agreement drafted that states one's company is to be considered separate property and not subject to asset division if the marriage fails. Various other terms can be set in this contract that will protect both parties and allow for smoother divorce proceedings.

Who is Chapter 7 bankruptcy law for?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help numerous Michigan residents get out of debt and find financial security. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that claim it is the worst thing anyone can do from a credit standpoint, which stops others from even looking into it. True, this type of debt relief is not for everyone, but if you find yourself in an economic hole that is only getting deeper, it may be time to consider how bankruptcy law protections may benefit your specific situation.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy law is for people who lack the funds to pay their creditors. They simply do not make enough, their debt to income ratio is just too great or their disposable income is simply insufficient. In all reality, most people considering applying for bankruptcy protection may actually qualify for this type of relief.

Michigan divorce law: When can alimony be adjusted?

While alimony is not awarded in every divorce case, there are some Michigan residents who do have it included in their final divorce settlements. Generally, the amount awarded stays the same for the duration of the order. However, under current divorce law, it may be possible to adjust the amount if there is sufficient cause to do so.

What is considered a sufficient cause to modify a spousal support order? There are several, but all of them really have to do with one thing: a change in circumstances. When alimony is initially ordered, the amount set in the order is based on the payor's income and the payee's need at that specific period in time. Well, with time comes life changes that may warrant an alimony adjustment.

Is mediation a viable solution for your Michigan divorce?

Many people associate divorce proceedings with protracted court battles and significant personal and financial losses. However, divorce doesn't have to unfold in a manner that is damaging to everyone involved. It is possible for divorcing couples to do so amicably.

There are several options available. Couples with a prenuptial agreement could choose to file an uncontested divorce following the outline provided in their prenuptial agreement. It is also possible for couples to talk about their separation and reach amicable solutions on their own.

Bankruptcy is an opportunity, not a sign of failure

Michigan residents who have reached severe financial lows that they need help to improve their situations may feel that they have failed in life. No one wants to admit that they are financially strapped, but sometimes admitting it is the best thing one can do. By viewing bankruptcy or other debt relief programs as an opportunity rather than a failure, it is easier to pull the trigger and seek the assistance one needs in order to achieve the economic improvement desired.

Viewing bankruptcy as an opportunity is not always easy. Most people think about the negative consequences associated with it rather to the positive consequences. Yes, filing for bankruptcy is likely to lower one's credit score, which can, in turn, affect one's ability to obtain credit. However, pursuing a bankruptcy filing can also end creditor harassment, allow one to keep certain property, and result in the discharge of debt or the creation of an affordable repayment plan -- among various other benefits. And credit scores rebound more quickly than many people think.

Michigan family law: Parental alienation and its damaging effects

Some relationships end badly. When a couple has children, one parent may do all that he or she can to use the kids to hurt the other parent. Parental alienation is a very real thing and complaints of it occurring in Michigan families are often seen in the family law world. In honor of Parental Alienation Awareness Day, which falls on April 25, this week's column will address the damaging effects of this behavior.

What exactly is parental alienation? In short, it is where one parent does things to poison his or her children's relationship with the other parent. There are a number of ways this can be done; a few examples include:

  • Interfering with parenting time
  • Blaming the other parent for the marriage ending
  • Talking negatively about the other parent
  • Telling children that their other parent does not want to see them

Bankruptcy law can help deal with new debt collection rules

When struggling financially, frequently being contacted by debt collectors can make an already stressful situation unbearable. Thankfully, Michigan consumers do have rights when it comes to fair debt collection practices. However, rule changes are coming, and some believe they benefit the collection industry and hurt consumers. Even with the coming rule revisions, bankruptcy law can still help those in debt fight back against collectors and seek financial relief.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just recently announced that an update to collection practices is coming soon. This will be the first big change made to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in 40-plus years. Some, particularly those in the collection industry, believe it is long overdue, while consumer advocates believe the new rules are too lenient.

Michigan divorce can get messy without self-control

Your marriage is not what it once was. You and your spouse no longer look at each other or interact with each other as you did in the beginning. Now, one or both of you are ready to file for divorce and move on. You are afraid, though, that the dissolution process is going to get a little messy. The truth is, yes, some Michiganders will experience messy, difficult divorces -- particularly if they fail to practice self-control through it all.

At the end of the day, the only person you can control is yourself during the dissolution process. Your spouse may do some things that seem far out there or with the intent to hurt you. How you act and react says a lot about you and can hurt or help your case.

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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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