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Michigan Family Law Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2018

7 Strategies to Reduce Custody Stress This Holiday Season


“It is the most wonderful time of year . . .” However, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. The holidays bring joy, laughter, and delight.
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Friday, December 21, 2018

What Should I Do IF My Ex Is Not Following Court Orders?


What Should I Do IF My Ex Is Not Following Court Orders?

Court orders or judgments in divorce and custody cases are not self-enforcing.  In most cases, neither the court or the friend of the court will follow-up with the parties after the orders are entered.  The exception is child support, the friend of the court by law is required to account for and enforce child support orders for the benefit of the child in any case that involves the friend of the court.  Otherwise, the parties are expected to act as adults and follow the orders of the court. 

Unfortunately, this is not always true.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

What Happens to Student Loans In A Divorce?


What Happens To Student Loans In A Divorce?

Almost every divorce case requires dividing some form of debt between the spouses.  There are secured debts, like a mortgage or vehicle loan where the loan is secured by some property that the lender can repossess.  Then there are unsecured debts such as credit card debts or medical bills. 

When it comes to secured debts, the debt usually goes to whomever is awarded that property and the value of the property is reduced by the debt.  For instance, if a car is awarded to a party, that party is responsible for paying the loan but the value of the car is reduced when it comes to determining the division of property.


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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Should I File For Divorce Before The End Of The Year?


Should I File For Divorce Before The End Of The Year?

Most of the time it really does not make much difference whether one files for divorce before the end of the year.  If one wants to wait until the holidays are over until dealing with a potential divorce, typically that will not effect the outcome of the case.  Historically, the only reason to file for divorce before the end of the year would be concerns that one's spouse has some potentially serious tax issues.  However, in 2018 there is at least one very good reason why it might be imperative to file for divorce before 2019.

Divorce and family law are deceptively complicated areas of the law that effect the most important, intimate parts of a person's life and often involve the largest and most uncomfortable financial transactions one will ever face.  If you think you might have to deal with the unfortunate possibility of a divorce in your future, please schedule a consultation with me by contacting my legal assistant, Cathy at (248) 608-4123 or through this web site, I can help you. 


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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What Happens To Property I Purchase When Separated From My Spouse If We Get Divorced?

What Happens To Property I Purchase When Separated From My Spouse If We Get Divorced?
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Sunday, December 9, 2018

How Does Property Get Divided In A Divorce?

How Does Property Get Divided In A Divorce?

While some cases may involve children and others alimony, virtually every divorce case involves dividing property between the spouses.  


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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Should I Get Dental Work or Medical Work Done Before I File For Divorce?


Should I Get Dental Work or Medical Work Done Before I File For Divorce?

In Michigan when a couple gets divorced part of the resolution will be division of assets and debts.  Different types of debts will be treated differently.  

Secured debts (debts secured by property, for instance a car loan - if one does not pay, the loan is secured by the car and the bank will take the car) typically go with the property and the value of the property is discounted by the loan balance.  So for instance if a party is awarded a vehicle with a Kelly Blue Book value of $15,000 and there is a loan balance of $10,000, then when it comes to dividing the property that vehicle will only have a value of $5,000.  But the party that is awarded the vehicle is solely responsible for the loan.
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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Should I Have Repairs Done On The Home Before Filing For Divorce?

Should I Have Repairs Done On The Home Before Filing For Divorce?

In Michigan divorce cases division of debt is generally a two-step process.  The first step is to determine whether the property in question is martial or separate property.


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Thursday, November 29, 2018

What Is Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) In A Divorce or Custody Case?


What Is Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in A Divorce or Custody Case?

In Michigan, the entry of a judgment of divorce is final with regards to property division, division of debt and in some instances alimony.  Custody, parenting time or visitation and child support are always modifiable as well as alimony in many cases.  Unfortunately there are cases where after the entry of the divorce judgment, the parents continue to have conflict and acrimony to the extent that they often return to court to argue about these issues for years.

In such high conflict cases, the court may appoint a lawyer as the guardian ad litem or GAL in cases where the child's interests may be inadequately represented.  The GAL meets with the child and acts as the child's attorney.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Will the Court Consider Non-overnight Parenting Time When Calculating Child Support?


Will the Court Consider Non-overnight Parenting Time When Calculating Child Support?

Typically in Michigan the court will only consider overnight parenting time when calculating child support.  This is because the Michigan Child Support Formula considers only the following specific factors: the income of the parties, health insurance provided by either parent for the children, child care or daycare expenses until August after a child's twelve birthday and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent.

However, in most cases it is worthwhile to check the guidelines manual (which is available online, just google it).  The manual provides a variety of reasons why a parent may ask the court to "deviate" from the guidelines.  The manual states that in cases where a lawyer can convince the court that the application of the formula to a particular case would lead to an unjust or inappropriate amount, the court may consider a list of other factors which would allow the court to order more or less child support than the formula mandates.


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

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


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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