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Westland MI Family Law Blog

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.

Michigan bankruptcy law: To file or not to file Chapter 7

Michigan residents who are struggling to make it financially probably spend some time looking at debt relief options. There are several out there, some of which are better than others. The type one uses really is a personal decision, but one should know how one's choice will affect the individual in the long run. This week, this column will address the good and the bad of Chapter 7 bankruptcy law.

There is a lot of good that can come out of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. First off, it can offer quick debt relief. From filing to claim and approval and debt discharge, it takes three to six months. All qualifying debts will be cleared if one's case is approved; there are no repayment plans offered like with a Chapter 13 filing. Other benefits include:

  • The ability to quickly rebuild credit after a few years
  • Stop creditor harassment
  • The ability to keep some property

Michigan divorce law: Do you have spousal support concerns?

When preparing to go through the divorce process, it is normal to have questions about what you will end up walking away with when all is said and done. Money is a big concern, especially since you will have to try to rebuild your life with less than what you have while married. Spousal support could hurt or help your financial position after a divorce. If you have concerns about spousal support, a Michigan-based divorce law attorney may be able to address them.

Spousal support -- let's get down to basics. Financial support is not offered in every divorce settlement. If a couple cannot come to terms about this issue, a judge will get to decide, and it is only awarded to those spouses who qualify for it. What does it take to qualify? A judge will look at a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse's income and earning capacity, each spouse's education level, each spouse's health and physical concerns -- among various others.

Does your child’s other parent ignore your custody order?

Making the transition to co-parenting with your child's other parent is never easy, even in ideal circumstances. Of course, ideal circumstances are rare, and ordering life around your new custody schedule takes effort.

For some parents, obeying a custody order seems more like a strong suggestion than a legal requirement, and they may think it is best to simply share custody the way they wish to, rather than follow the schedule handed down by a court.

Bankruptcy law may benefit struggling seniors in Michigan

According to a recent report, hundreds of thousands of seniors in the United States age 85 and older are returning to work. Why? Debt, particularly medical debt. Bankruptcy law may benefit the situations of numerous struggling seniors in Michigan.

An 87-year-old male in a neighboring state made headlines recently for looking for work as a truck driver. He is planning on leaving retirement to help pay for his spouse's medical debt. She suffers from a number of ailments and is frequently hospitalized. The couple has already sold their home and many of their possessions to pay their creditors. Unfortunately, it has not been enough, and this man feels that seeking out a trucking job is his only option at this point.

Michigan bankruptcy law: Most people have debt of some sort

While they say the economy is in a decent place, most people in Michigan and elsewhere have debt of some sort. Many of them are able to get out of it by sticking to a strict budget, but others may find it too much of a struggle to keep up with their debt obligations. To the people on the latter side, bankruptcy law may work in their favor.

According to a recent news report, debt does not discriminate. Roughly 80 percent in every generation -- from baby boomers to millennials -- are living with debt. Mortgages, auto loans, student debt, medical bills and credit card debt -- it all adds up. In total, consumers in the United States are billions of dollars in debt.

Michigan divorce law: Achieve a fair property division settlement

You are getting ready to file for divorce but you have concerns about how your property will ultimately be divided. Will you walk away with your fair share? It is a reasonable concern. A divorce law attorney can help you achieve a fair property division settlement, one that is in line with Michigan laws.

Michigan is an equitable distribution state. This does not mean that property will automatically be divided 50/50. It means that each party should walk away from the marriage with a settlement that is deemed fair. There are a number of ways to reach a settlement like that, but it can take a lot of back and forth negotiations -- and sometimes litigation.

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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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Westland, MI 48185

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