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Divorce

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

What Should I Do If I Am Served With Divorce Papers?


What Should I Do If I Am Served With Divorce Papers?

Court rules allow several ways for one spouse to serve the other spouse with divorce papers.  First, the spouse may mail the paperwork, however this does not count as valid service unless it is done through certified mail, receipt restricted to the recipient spouse and the recipient signs for it.  Second, the spouse may have the paperwork personally served on the other spouse by a professional service agent or law enforcement agent.  Third, the spouse may serve the other spouse's attorney, provided that attorney has entered a formal "appearance" in the divorce case.  Finally, if the spouse is not able to locate the other spouse or the other spouse is avoiding service, the court may order alternate service by posting or publication in a legal newspaper.


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Sunday, January 13, 2019

What Are "Grounds For Divorce" In Michigan?


What Are "Grounds For Divorce" In Michigan?

Michigan is a "no-fault" divorce state.  This means there is only one grounds for divorce in this state based upon the family law statutes.  The legal ground for divorce in Michigan is specifically as follows "there has been a breakdown of the marriage to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved".  In fact, this is the only ground that a person filing for divorce (the plaintiff) is allowed to state in the Complaint for Divorce (the main document that one must file in order to start a divorce proceeding). 

The statute further states that the plaintiff is not allowed to provide a statement involving the graphic details behind the breakdown.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What Happens to Debt In A Divorce?


What Happens to Debt In A Divorce?

The division of marital debt is included in the property division of the judgment of divorce.  In general, debts are treated as negative assets in valuing an overall property award and courts typically allocate them according to the same equitable principles that govern property division in general.

First, the court or the parties (the married couple getting divorced) have to determine whether the debt is separate or marital.  Almost all debt incurred by either party during the marriage are considered marital debts, regardless of which party incurred the debt, even in cases where the other party may not have agreed with or directly benefited from the debt.  There are certain exceptions such as student loan debts and others regarding wrong doing (such as unreasonable gambling debts, debts incurred pursuing an affair and debts related to criminal activity).


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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Will A Court Consider Income From Growing Medical Marihuana In A Divorce?


Will A Court Consider Income From Growing Medical Marijuana In A Divorce?

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently considered this issue in the matter of  Beauchamp v Beauchamp (Unpublished Opinion, October 23, 2018).  In that case, the husband originally ran a drywall business when the parties married, however over time the business morphed into a medical marijuana growing operation.  The wife sought alimony based upon income she alleged her husband earned growing and selling.

The wife's divorce lawyer hired an expert in the field of marijuana plant street value to examine the facility and the plants and provide testimony regarding the practices surrounding the industry.  The trial court put a lot of weight upon the testimony of the expert compared to the testimony of the husband.


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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Can A Man Get Alimony In Michigan?


Can A Man Get Alimony In Michigan?

Alimony is alive and well in Michigan, however we refer to it as "spousal support" technically although the terms are interchangeable.  The statutes contemplate a case-by-case approach.  The stated purpose of support is to balance the parties' incomes and needs so that neither party will be impoverished based upon the circumstances of the case.

The court is to consider the following factors when determining alimony:  (1) the past relations and conduct of the parties; (2) the length of the marriage; (3) the abilities of the parties to work; (4) the source and the amount of property awarded to the parties; (5) the parties' ages; (6) the abilities of the parties to pay support; (7) the present situation of the parties; (8) the needs of the parties; (9) the parties' health; (10) the parties' prior standard of living and whether either is responsible for the support of others; (11) the contributions of the parties to the joint estate; (12) a party's fault in causing the divorce; (13) the effect of cohabitation on a party's financial status; and (14) general principles of equity.

Spousal support is intended to allow a party to assimilate into the work force and establish self-sufficiency and does not follow a strict formula.


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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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