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Westland MI Family Law Blog

Too many young parents are struggling with debt

Many parents with young children at home often find themselves struggling financially. According to a recently published article, two things are affecting this particular population right now, and those things are student loans and childcare expenses. It is impossible to pay off student loan debt without a job, but for many Michigan residents, it is difficult to find employment that gives them the funds they need to pay their loans off and cover the cost of childcare -- which keep going up every year. 

Roughly 25% of Americans with student loans have balances of $37,000 or more, which means they are supposed to be paying just shy of $400 a month to keep their accounts current. According to the Center for American Progress, the average family spends $250 a week for childcare. So, between student loans and childcare, young families are finding themselves out about $1,400 a month. That is more than most pay for a mortgage or rent. If they add on transportation expenses, food, insurances and other necessities, that leaves them with little -- if any -- disposable income at the end of the month. 

Does divorce law protect homemakers?

In early 2019, an article was published regarding homemakers and what they should receive if their marriages end. Many believe that the roles these individuals play in a marriage do not warrant an equal distribution of assets. Does divorce law in Michigan protect homemakers and allow them to walk away from their marital unions with fair settlements?

According to the article, 25% of mothers in the United States choose to leave the workforce and stay home with their children. Roughly 7% of men decide to do this. Male or female, the individual who chooses to stay home with the kids has what many believe to be the tougher job; yet, it is a job that is treated as less valuable when divorce rolls around.

Michigan divorce law: Normal communication or harassment?

Recently, a case in another state brought into focus the issue of acceptable communication during the divorce process. At some point, spouses have to discuss things, particularly if they have children. However, it is possible to go too far to the point where frequent attempts to communicate it is considered harassment. Michigan residents accused of harassment or, on the flip side, who believe that an ex is harassing them can turn to a divorce law attorney for help fighting the issue while, at the same time, working toward finalizing their marital dissolutions.

There are several ways in which a former couple can communicate during the divorce process: email, phone, texting, through social media accounts or legal counsel -- if necessary. No matter how one goes about it, one must do it responsibly. Recently, a judge in another state sided with a woman who claimed that her husband's frequent texts constituted harassment. She says that, in a year, he sent her over 5,000 texts -- averaging 14 per day. The judge in this couple's case has issued a temporary order, limiting the number of texts this man is allowed to send to his ex to one per day, and has threatened to throw him in jail if he does not abide by this order. 

Bankruptcy, which form is right for you?

If you have money problems that you are struggling to overcome, it is okay to look at all of the debt relief options that are available to you. There are several ways you can approach the situation; bankruptcy is not called for in every case. However, in certain circumstances, it may be the best route to financial freedom. Which form of bankruptcy is best for Michigan residents who are drowning in debt?

There are two types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 filing, if approved, will result in the complete discharge of qualifying debts -- such as credit card debt and medical debt, among others. A Chapter 13 filing, on the other hand, if approved, will result in the creation of an affordable repayment schedule. At the end of the repayment period, which lasts three to five years, any remaining qualifying debts will be discharged. 

You do not have to be a slave to debt

A lot in life seems to be about money. One cannot live comfortably without it, and some cannot even live comfortably with it. Most Michigan residents work hard to make ends meet. Many of them still end up taking on debt with the assumption that they will pay it off eventually. The truth is, this attitude toward debt has made people a slave to it.

It was recently reported that 50% of millennials have an average of $36,000 in debt. At least 20% of these individuals believe that they will never be in a position to pay it off. People keep taking on debt while not paying down what they already owe. This has created a cycle of debt that is tough to break.

Helping kids through divorce takes a lot of work

Michigan residents who are ready to walk away from their marital relationships have a lot on their minds and their plates. When children are involved, getting through this already difficult situation becomes even more challenging. At the end of the day, most parents want to do what is best for their children. This means taking specific steps to protect them during the divorce process and after the fact.

Recently, a licensed clinical social worker shared his advice about how to navigate divorce when one has children. He first suggests being open and honest with children. They need to know what is going on without having to know every tiny detail. Children can quickly become overwhelmed when the world as they know it is falling apart. Talking them through it in a positive way can prove helpful.

What happens if you get accused of operating while intoxicated?

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on public roads while intoxicated or impaired in all 50 states. However, each state has its own way of penalizing impaired driving, as well as its own legal terminology in the various laws and codes that create consequences for impaired driving.

In Michigan, there are two primary forms of impaired driving. Drivers can face allegations of operating while ability impaired (OWAI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI). You can wind up charged with an OWAI offense even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal cut-off for an OWI.

How does divorce affect Social Security spousal benefits?

When it comes to retirement, many Michigan residents look forward to collecting the Social Security benefits that they have paid into in all of their years of employment. It is possible to start claiming those benefits at the age of 62. Spouses have the right to file claims on each other records, as do ex-spouses -- under certain circumstances. How does divorce affect Social Security spousal claims?

There are many, too many, rules that govern the Social Security program. Those rules are always changing, so one may think they have a handle on how the program works only to find out that is not the case. Per the current Social Security guidelines, those who divorce have more claiming options than those who are married.

How bankruptcy law helped 3 people regain financial control

Michigan residents who are struggling financially are often told by their friends and family to avoid bankruptcy at all costs. Some believe that it is the worst thing one can do. While bankruptcy law is not perfect, it does help hundreds of thousands of people every year regain financial control. Three people recently shared their stories about how bankruptcy was actually the best thing they did for themselves.

The first individual filed because her creditors succeeded in having her wages garnished. Her divorce left her living on a tight budget. Every dollar earned was earmarked for specific expenses. When her creditors first garnished her wages, she knew that she could not survive with the reduction in income. Her bankruptcy petition, which was filed as a last resort, was approved, resulting in her achieving a discharge of debt and an end to the wage garnishment.

Going into debt to get married often leads to divorce

When getting married, it is reasonable to want to celebrate the occasion. Some couples in Michigan do this by throwing lavish parties that often cost them an arm and a leg. What they may not realize at the moment is that it may also cost them their marriages, as debt is a contributing factor in numerous divorce cases. 

When a wedding party is wanted, the cost can quickly get out of hand. Some people are willing to go into debt for it because they believe they deserve to enjoy the day the way that they want. According to a survey completed by Qualtrics, 45% of newlyweds choose to go into debt to pay for their weddings.

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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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