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Michigan Family Law Blog

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Pets and Divorce in Michigan


There are many issues that can come up in any divorce case.  One issue that is sometimes overlooked, is what to do about the family pets?  There can be a very strong emotional bond between the divorcing couple and their dogs or cats.  If there are children, some couples try to keep the pets in the same home where the children spend most of the time.  In some cases, one person may be moving to a new residence where he or she may not be able to have a pet and this resolves the issue, but what happens when each of the divorcing partners wants to keep the pet or pets?

In Michigan, pets, and all animals are treated as chattel or property, so unlike child custody, visitation or support, the pet's best interests will not be taken into account.  Technically, the pets could be divided along with the other property the parties must divide in the divorce or separation.


Read more . . .


Friday, July 12, 2019

A Short Blog About Vehicle Expense Deductions and Divorce


In some divorce cases, the court has to go through the parties finances with a fine-tooth comb in order to sort-out what is the appropriate income to use for calculating alimony or child support.  In the recently decided case of Eubanks v Hendrix, Michigan Court of Appeals No. 344102, May 23, 2019; the appellate court found that the referee and the court in that case did not quite get far enough into the nitty-gritty of the parties finances.

While some items and expenses may be allowed as deductions for tax purposes, the same deductions are not always allowed when determining a person's income for alimony or child support.  In the Eubanks case, the mother questioned how the court calculated the father's income, particularly the deduction for his vehicle.
Read more . . .


Monday, July 8, 2019

How is a Parent's Income Determined for Child Support in Michigan?


Child support is determined by a formula.  Base child support takes both parties incomes and the number of overnights each parent has with the child or children and plugs those numbers into a formula.  The formula then determines the base child support that one parent will pay to the other.  The formula will also calculate a health insurance adjustment, an out of pocket health care expense adjustment and a child care adjustment until a August after a child's twelfth birthday. 

This is relatively straight forward if each parent is a "W-2" employee, someone who is paid a standard monthly amount by a regular employer (not a family business or self-owned business) each month without receiving perks like the free use of a vehicle.


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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Divorce, Custody and Parenting Time in Michigan


When a parent is faced with a potential divorce, the biggest questions most parents have concern custody of the children.  However, the term custody has lost some of its meaning in Michigan.  Now the focus is more on what is called parenting time rather than custody.

​What is the Difference Between Custody and Parenting Time?

There are two types of custody in Michigan, legal custody and physical custody.  Legal custody regards decision making for the children about important issues in the children's lives like medical decisions, where the children go to school and religious upbringing.


Read more . . .


Sunday, June 30, 2019

How Do I Modify My Spousal Support or Alimony?


f you’re considering getting divorced in North Oakland, Michigan, you might have an idea about the issues you need to work out with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, but there may be unexpected issues, too.

Even if you don’t have the added emotional burden of working out child custody, visitation, and support for your minor children, virtually all divorcing couples have to address two questions: whether one spouse will pay the other alimony and how will the couple’s stuff get divvied up?

It’s best if couples can agree on who gets what, because if they can’t agree then a judge will decide. 


Read more . . .


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Handling Debt Division in a Divorce


How is debt handled in a divorce?

If you’re considering getting divorced in North Oakland, Michigan, you might have an idea about the issues you need to work out with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, but there may be unexpected issues, too.

Even if you don’t have the added emotional burden of working out child custody, visitation, and support for your minor children, virtually all divorcing couples have to address two questions: whether one spouse will pay the other alimony and how will the couple’s stuff get divvied up?

It’s best if couples can agree on who gets what, because if they can’t agree then a judge will decide.


Read more . . .


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Should I Get a Prenuptial Contract?


As a divorce lawyer, I recommend that everyone contemplating marriage should at least consider getting a prenuptial agreement.  There are several reasons for this recommendation.  First, as part of the process the parties will have to disclose to each other their assets and debts to one another.  I have seen many cases where one party had significant debt that he or she did not reveal to the other party until after the marriage - this is obviously problematic for a good relationship.  It also requires them to discuss what their financial roles will be during the marriage; is it expected that both parties will work or will one party be a home maker, will both parties continue to work after they have a child, do both even want a child or children eventually? 

These are all questions that should be worked out before a marriage.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Divorce and Bankruptcy - Which Should Come First?


Bankruptcy and divorce can sometimes play out simultaneously in a person’s life. Financial trouble is one of the leading causes of tension and arguments in a marriage. When a couple is contemplating both a divorce and a bankruptcy filing, which should come first?

Unfortunately, some couples may face foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishment, and debt collection lawsuits while they wait for their divorce to become final before filing for bankruptcy relief. Therefore, in some cases, a bankruptcy filing may be necessary before the divorce is final. However, filing a bankruptcy case during a divorce proceeding can create more problems or make some cases much more complicated.
Read more . . .


Saturday, June 15, 2019

What is the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment?


Both a divorce and an annulment are actions to end a marriage. However, the requirements for seeking an annulment are different from the requirements for seeking a divorce. A Michigan divorce lawyer can be extremely helpful if you do not know whether to file for divorce or request an annulment to end your marriage.

What is an Annulment?

An annulment is a legal process of canceling a marriage or voiding a marriage that was not valid. If the court grants an annulment, it is as if you were never married to that person for all legal intents and purposes.
Read more . . .


Monday, June 10, 2019

Divorce and Abandonment in Michigan


Should I Be Worried About Abandonment if I Leave the Marital Home Before I File for Divorce?

Michigan is a No-fault Divorce State 

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a person does not have to state a reason in order to obtain a divorce.  It does not mean that fault cannot play a role in the division of property or award of alimony, but that is a topic for another blog.  Prior to 1972 (the year that Michigan enacted it's no-fault statute) if one filed for divorce, he or she had to state a reason for the divorce such as infidelity, physical abuse or abandonment.  If the person did not prove the grounds or basis for granting the divorce to the judge, the judge could deny that person a divorce.  There were some judge's who would simply not grant a divorce, particularly if the requesting party was a woman.


Read more . . .


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Can I Get Sole Legal Custody of My Children?


WHAT IS SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY IN MICHIGAN?

Generally speaking there are two types of custody in Michigan, physical custody and legal custody.  Physical custody is the traditional type of custody most people think of when talking about custody, that is with whom does the child spend the majority of the time.  Legal custody refers to joint decision making for the child about important life decisions, such as where they attend school, medical care decisions, religious upbringing and other such important considerations.  It also grants equal access to the child's school, health and other records.  In addition, in cases where there is joint legal custody, neither party may move more than two hundred (200) miles from where they resided at the time of entry of the judgment of divorce without the approval of the other parent or the court.
Read more . . .


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