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Westland MI Family Law Blog

Michigan family law and seeking post-decree modifications

You went through the divorce process. Overall, you were satisfied with your settlement. It seemed fair, and your financial and child custody arrangements have been working out for you, until now. Circumstances have changed -- as they tend to do -- and now you are wondering what you can do about it. Thankfully, Michigan family law sometimes allows for post-decree modifications. 

Are you a parent who wants more time with your children, needs to relocate, has concerns about the welfare of your children or has suffered a financial setback, making your child support payments either too much or insufficient? Life has a way of making any of these things happen. When they do, you are not out of luck. While courts may not like to adjust custody or support orders, they will do so under the right circumstances. 

Michigan divorce law: Is there a right way to divorce?

Everyone who has been through the divorce process will likely have strong opinions on the right way to do it. Some Michigan residents believe going to court is the only way to get what they want in a settlement agreement. Then there are others who believe in alternative dispute resolution methods. The truth of the matter is, divorce is different for everyone, so having a divorce law attorney who is familiar with all types of dissolution methods is wise. 

Is there a right way to divorce? The short answer to that question is a resounding no. What works for some couples will not work for others. At the end of the day, you have to go about the process in a way that works best for you. 

Co-parenting doesn't have to be a test in patience

Having to work with your ex might be very low on the list of things that you want to do in the upcoming years. Unfortunately, you will need to do just that if you have children together. This means that you will have to work as a team in some instances.

Just because you have to work with your ex doesn't mean that you have to always be stressed out or upset. There are some very basic things that you can do to make the situations a little easier. Here are some tips that you might consider in your case.

Bankruptcy law: What happens if I just don't pay my debt?

Ever think, "I'm just not going to pay that bill, I'm done!"? The thought of just walking away from it all sounds really nice. Who wouldn't want to just not pay their bills? Unfortunately, creditors do care and aren't likely to let such a decision slide. The only way Michigan residents may be able to really walk away from or reduce their debt obligations is turn to a bankruptcy law attorney for help.

Those who choose to just stop making payments may not see any significant consequences right away. Creditors may begin to call, seeking payment, and one's credit rating may take a small hit. Doesn't seem too bad, right?

Michigan divorce law: Pets are property

You are getting ready to go through the divorce process and are concerned about what will happen to your pets. You've heard that other states are starting to allow couples to treat family animals more like children, permitting owners to create pet custody agreements. Michigan divorce law has not, however, changed its stance on this matter. Here, pets are still deemed property.

Sometimes, figuring out who gets to keep the family pet is pretty easy. If children are involved, family animals often follow them and stay with the custodial parent. If one spouse has a greater bond with the pet, it makes sense that the animal live with him or her. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding who gets to keep the pet. Couples are often able to figure out the matter through private negotiations or mediation.

Michigan divorce law: Common mistakes to avoid

Michigan residents who are going through the divorce process may make a number of mistakes along the way that can hurt them down the line. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid many of these mistakes with the help of a divorce law attorney. What are some of the most common mistakes made during the divorce process?

The first major mistake that anyone can make is not being totally prepared for divorce proceedings. When going through this process, a lot of personal information is needed that requires documentation. Those who do not come prepared with that documentation may end up prolonging the process or even find themselves with settlement terms that do not bode well in their favor.

Michigan bankruptcy law: What to expect when pursuing bankruptcy

Taking the leap and filing for bankruptcy can be a frightening thing, especially if one is not sure what to expect. Michigan residents who think that this form of debt relief may be their best bet do not have to go through it with little understanding as to what is going on. This week's column will go over a few things to expect during the process, and an experienced bankruptcy law attorney can provide even more detailed information on the matter.

The first matter to be discussed is when to file for bankruptcy. There is never a perfect time to do it. Before going this route, though, it is suggested that one try to reduce debt first by trying to work something out with creditors. This, one can do alone or with the assistance of legal counsel. If that proves ineffective and debts are too much to get out of on one's current income, then bankruptcy may be the best option.

You may qualify to discharge your tax debts under Chapter 7

Getting yourself back on track financially can seem overwhelming or impossible when you are carrying a tax burden related to your personal income taxes. While any debt burden may present serious issues, owing the federal government is even more stressful for some individuals because it has broad power to reach in and take assets or freeze accounts that other parties simply do not have, or cannot achieve as easily.

It may come as a great relief to learn that many tax debts that arise from income tax are subject to a discharge under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While bankruptcy is rarely the first solution a debtor should consider, it offers an essential safety net of relief for many who might not have other ways out of financial hardship.

Michigan divorce law: How to handle the 401k

Many Michigan residents who are fortunate enough to have 401(k) benefits offered through their employers may consider such accounts as separate property in divorce. This is not often the case, though. For most married couples, this is considered a shared asset -- a pretty significant one. The potential problems with dividing such an asset are many, but a divorce law attorney can make sure one takes all the necessary steps to get it done right.

So, how can one access a spouse's 401(k) assets? Some would think it is as simple as the holding spouse filling out a distribution request. This, however, is considered an early withdrawal and subject to fees, penalties and taxes.

Michigan divorce law and the hiding of digital assets

The only way a fair and balanced property division agreement can be achieved is if all marital assets are brought to the table. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. In Michigan and elsewhere, there are those who may try to hide digital and other assets in order to keep them for themselves. If you believe this may be an issue for you, a divorce law attorney may be able to help.

After filing for divorce, it is essential for both parties to put together a list of shared assets so that it can be reviewed and the assets fairly divided. If, after looking at the list provided from your spouse, you feel that something isn't adding up, it is okay to question whether all assets have been accounted for appropriately. An investigation into the matter can then be conducted.

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