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Michigan Family Law Blog

Thursday, November 15, 2018

What Should I Do If My Spouse Claims They Don't Really Own Valuable Property?


What Should I Do If My Spouse Claims They Don't Really Own Something?

In Michigan, when a divorce court divides property, it first must determine whether the property is marital property, which should be divided equally between the spouses (hereinafter referred to as "the parties" or "a party") or separate. which should remain the property of only the owner party.  The legal definition of marital property is very broad and it encompasses generally anything that is earned or otherwise comes into the hands of either party during the marriage.   Separate property is limited by statute to property inherited by one party and kept separate, gifts to one party kept separate and property owned by one party before the marriage (premarital property) that has been kept separate,   

However, occasionally, one party attempts to claim that he or she does not even own the property but rather the party has conveyed the interest in the property (given away, sold, traded, or transferred by land contract for example) to someone else (often a friend or relative) or that the person never owned the property in the first place.  The type of person who does this appears to believe that he or she is more clever than anyone who has ever been divorced since people first started marrying and divorcing.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Is There a Statute of Limitations to Collect Alimony or Child Support?


Is There a Statute of Limitations to Collect Alimony or Child Support?

An action to enforce or collect child support or alimony is considered a civil action to enforce a court order.  There is a ten-year statutory period of limitations.  The ten-year period starts form the date that the last support payment is due under the support order regardless of whether or not the last payment is made.  For child support, generally, the date that the last payment is due is the child's 18th birthday.  For alimony, the final payment date would be the last date for which the court has ordered spousal support, unless it is extended, then the last date would be the final date of the extension.


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Friday, November 9, 2018

Should I File for Bankruptcy Before I File for Divorce?


Individuals file bankruptcy for a variety of reasons, such as medical debts, business failure, loss of a spouse, and divorce. Divorce is one of the reasons that many people need to seek the assistance of the bankruptcy court for debt relief.  However, if you anticipate that you may need to file bankruptcy because of your divorce, should you file the bankruptcy case before or after your divorce is final? In either case, working with a
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Can I Get Spousal Support During a Separation in Michigan?

Divorce laws in some states recognize what is referred to as a legal separation.  A legal separation in those states defines a situation in which the parties are living separate and apart. A court order dictates the duties and rights of the couple while they are living apart. In states in which a minimum amount of time living apart is required to obtain a no-fault divorce, legal separations are used to settle various matters while the parties are waiting until they may petition the court for a divorce. If you contact a Michigan legal separation lawyer regarding legal separation, he will inform you that our state does not recognize legal separations.

However, Michigan does have something remarkably similar to a legal separation called separate maintenance. A Michigan divorce attorney can help you seek separate maintenance, provided you meet the requirements under Michigan Compiled Laws Code §552. 7.


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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Desperate Measures to Get Full Child Custody

Q: Would having someone kill my ex-spouse get me full custody of the kids?

It’s a loaded question, but apparently one that needs to be answered for some people. Getting a divorce can be highly confrontational and emotional for some people and result in them exercising poor judgment that may land them—and others who assist them-- in legal hot water.

Some parents will do anything to get child custody. Other parents will do anything for their children--even kill. At least that’s what authorities say was the case for one Missouri woman and her father.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Can the Court Suspend Parenting Time Without Ordering Future Review Hearings?


Can the Court Suspend Parenting Time or Visitation Without Ordering Future Review Hearings?

In Michigan, when parents divorce or separate, the court must determine custody and parenting time (parenting time is the legal term for child visitation).  The parties may agree upon custody or parenting time or if they are not able to reach agreement through mediation, then the court must make the determination based upon the statutory best interest factors.  Once the parties reach an agreement or the court makes it's decision, then the court will sign a judgment of divorce or final custody, parenting time and support order that dictates how these issues will be handled.

However, custody, parenting time and support are always modifiable, so that if there is a change of circumstances or good cause to revisit these issues, then the court may modify the previous orders.  The Michigan Court of Appeals, recently decided a case where the lower court dramatically modified its previous orders over a short time.


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Friday, October 26, 2018

Is It OK For a Parent to Schedule Counseling For A Child Without The Other Parent?


Is It OK For a Parent to Schedule Counseling For A Child Without The Other Parent?

Counseling for children whose parents are divorcing or have recently divorced can be a very good idea.  However, the choice of the counselor and scheduling of the counseling must be planned out and agreed upon by both parents.  There are several reasons that this is true, primarily seeking the best results from therapy for the child.  However, there are several legal reasons why this is true as well.

First, if the parents are not yet divorced, it is assumed by the court that both parents should have an equal say in important decisions regarding a child's health and welfare.
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Friday, October 19, 2018

What Happens if We Agree on Custody and Parenting Time in a Divorce?


Custody and parenting time are generally guided by what are called the statutory "best interest factors"  There are two types of custody, legal custody - ability to make decisions on behalf of the child such as religion and education, and physical custody which generally refers to with whom the child resides.  Parenting time refers to the schedule of where the child will be on any given day during a week, for instance the parents may agree to a parenting time schedule where the child is with mom on Monday and Tuesday, dad Wednesday and Thursday and the parents alternate weekends with the child.

Custody and parenting time are determined by the court by examining the best interest factors and applying them to the facts of each specific case.  This does not mean that the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding custody and parenting time for their children.  When the parents come to an  agreement regarding custody or parenting time, then, pursuant to statute, the court shall order the parenting time terms unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child.
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Monday, October 15, 2018

Five Child Visitation Myths

Visitation and parenting time are often aggressively litigated and disputed matters in a divorce. In some cases, parents believe certain child visitation myths that create unnecessary disputes between the parties. When that happens, it’s a good idea to talk with an experienced visitation lawyer to uncover the facts. Below are five child visitation myths that can create problems for parents who are going through a divorce.

1.  Michigan still uses visitation orders.

Michigan, like many other states, have adopted the term “parenting time” instead of visitation to define when a parent spends time with a child. It is presumed that it is in the best interests of a child to have a strong relationship with each parent, including spending sufficient time with each parent. Therefore, the courts support an arrangement referred to as “reasonable or liberal parenting time” to ensure both parents have abundant access to the child.


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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Can I Quit My Job To Avoid Paying Spousal Support?

Paying spousal support can be a painful reminder of a failed marriage. Spousal support can also be a financial burden that you would like to end. However, voluntarily quitting your job may not eliminate or reduce your spousal support payments. You could place yourself in a worse financial situation if you attempt to avoid paying spousal support by eliminating or reducing your income. Before taking such drastic steps, you may want to consult a Michigan alimony and spousal support lawyer to discuss legal options for reducing or eliminating spousal support payments.


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