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Plymouth Family Law Blog

Divorce filings tend to rise in January

Divorce can be an emotional, personal and financial decision, regardless of the time of year. Michigan couples who are thinking about divorce might not believe that the time of year has a significant effect on finally deciding to move on from an unhappy marriage, but research suggests otherwise. Regardless of the month or season, preparing for the inevitable challenges that accompany divorce can be critical to a case. Understanding the factors that will be part of a divorce and any other family law issue can be difficult.

Legal professionals have noticed a spike in divorce filings at the start of the New Year. This has become so common that January is frequently referred to as, "Divorce Month." The first working Monday in a new year has been called, "National Divorce Day." While people who are in the middle of a life-changing event, like divorce, may not like the process being discussed in such offhanded terms, there is statistical and anecdotal proof indicating its accuracy. In January of 2019, for example, both Pinterest and Google Trends reported that there was a rise in searches for "divorce" and "divorce party." Legal websites noted a traffic increase.

When can I stop paying spousal support?

Spousal support is one of the ways that two formerly married Michigan residents may remain connected after their divorce is finalized. It involves the payment of money from one party to the other for the recipient's use and maintenance. Whether spousal support, sometimes called alimony, is created by agreement or order, it is generally paid on a schedule and paying parties may be subject to sanctions, if they fall behind.

To understand when a spousal support obligation will end a paying party should consult the operating document through which their mandate was established. Some support obligations are temporary, though others may be permanent if the recipient spouse is unable to provide for their own financial needs.

Common mistakes made in a high-asset divorce

When a couple decides to divorce after a considerable amount of years of marriage, this often means that they have a large amount of assets to divide. A high-asset divorce differs from other divorces due to the fact that assets can be particularly complex to identify and divide between spouses. In high-asset divorces, conflicts are more likely to arise due to these difficulties.

It is therefore important that those contemplating a divorce where there are many assets to divide take early action to plan their strategy. By doing so, those approaching divorce can avoid some of the following common mistakes.

Does joint custody mean equal custody?

There is nothing easy about sharing one's children with an ex-partner. A parent may be used to seeing their child every day and having an active role in their development. When that parent chooses to divorce their co-parent and live separately from them, though, they may also have to learn how to live separate and apart from their children.

While some parents are granted sole custody of their kids from the courts hearing their family law matters, others may be granted joint custody. Joint custody can apply to both or either of the two forms of custody in Michigan - physical and legal. When parents share legal custody they may both make decisions about the child's well-being. When the parents share physical custody they may both spend time with their child in their home.

Understand paternity fraud and how to protect yourself

Paternity is an important legal topic in the realm of family law. That is because it is through paternity testing that a man be proven to be a child's father. Though in many cases a man may be known or presumed to be a child's father, in other situation a Michigan man may be required to submit DNA samples to prove or disprove that he fathered a child.

If a man is shown through genetic testing to be the father of a child, he may be required to support the child through the payment of money. Child support is used to care for a child during their minority and to provide that child with their basic and extended needs. When a man is compelled to pay child support for a child that is not proven through testing to be his, he may be a victim of paternity fraud.

Keeping the peace during the holiday season

Even though winter does not technically begin for another month, Michigan has already received cold winds, precipitation and other signs of the coming season. Although few people enjoy dealing with the hard winters that this region has come to know, many look forward to the celebrations and holidays that occur in the winter months of the year. In fact, the holiday season begins soon as families throughout the nation come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

While the holidays are important to many families in Michigan, they are not always easy for everyone. Families that have been affected by divorce and separation may find more challenges than others as they work out their schedules and plans for being together. For some, it may be nearly impossible to find workable solutions to ensure that children get to see both of their parents on important days of the year.

What are the "best interests of a child"?

It is a difficult task to determine where a child should live and who may care for that child when the child's parents go through a divorce. In Michigan, courts may evaluate a number of different factors to decide how to serve a child's "best interests" when questions of custody are at hand.

Every child has different needs and, therefore, their interests will depend on their unique situation. However, all children need shelter, food and basic care. Courts can look at which parent will provide the child with these and other basic needs when evaluating how custody should be determined.

Hiding assets during a divorce is a serious matter

Marriages end for a variety of reasons. Still, because you and your spouse both contributed to the union, each of you should receive your fair share of marital assets. If one partner hides financial information from the other, though, doing so may be exceedingly difficult. Nevertheless, you must know about all assets to better plan for your post-divorce financial future

In Michigan, judges divide marital property based on what is equitable to each spouse. While this does not necessarily mean that both partners receive half of marital assets, judges attempt to be fair when distributing property. They also take a hardline approach to hidden assets. 

What is martial property and why does it matter during a divorce?

Over time, couples in Michigan can acquire a lot of possessions. Those items may be high value pieces of real estate, such as family homes and vacation properties. Their possessions may include jewelry and cars, electronics and financial investments. They may buy furniture, clothing and items to use for sports and entertainment.

When individuals choose to end their marriage in divorce, they need to figure out what to do with all of the things that they own with their soon-to-be ex-partners. In Michigan, the law recognizes "equitable distribution" for marital property. That means property should be divided fairly, although not necessarily equally.

Understanding legal child custody in Michigan

Being a parent is hard. A parent is expected and required to provide their child with their basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. They must also give their child intangible love, care, and support to help them grow both emotionally and physically. Accomplishing this with the help of a spouse or committed co-parent can be difficult, and doing it after divorce can be even more challenging.

When two Michigan parents split up they will be subject to a child custody agreement or order that dictates how they will work together to raise their shared child or children. Previously this family law blog talked about physical custody, and in this post the topic of legal custody will be addressed. Readers should always talk to their own attorneys, though, about their specific legal needs as this post should not be used as legal advice.

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