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Plymouth Family Law Blog

Getting answers and resolution to your property division

Marriage brings more than just a spouse and oftentimes children. It brings the complete cohesion of a couple's life, everything from living quarters to finances to family. This is a big reason why divorce can sound so daunting to a couple thinking about divorce. However, with the right effort, the process of property division can be completed to a person's satisfaction and they can move one step closer to finalizing a divorce.

Property division is meant to be a fair and equitable process. However, depending on a couple's situation, this can mean many different things. Many people have concerns about who will get the house, if the couple does indeed own property together. Also, questions tend to swirl around investment accounts, like 401(k), stocks and other investments the couple has made together over the term of their marriage.

What's the legal significance of establishing paternity?

Becoming a father represents an important change in a man's life in many profound ways. Among other things, fatherhood comes with certain legal rights and responsibilities. For this reason, paternity can be a matter of legal dispute. In many cases, a man or a woman might request a legal determination of paternity for a child.

Generally, a father has rights to visit his child and make important decisions about the child's education and other important issues. Thus, even if the parents are estranged, when paternity is legally established, the father can establish some form of custody rights. Without establishing paternity, a father can't seek these rights.

Divorce in Michigan and property division laws

After child custody questions, the topic of property division is often high on the list of concerns for couples going through a divorce. Whether you have been married two years or 20 years, Michigan classifies as an equitable property division state (rather than a community property state.) What this means is that state law determines, at the basic level, how marital property is assessed and ultimately divided, in a divorce.

As a refresher, marital property may not include every asset that a couple has. Marital property is defined as property acquired during a marriage. It can include wages earned for that year, a house or a car a couple may have purchased together regardless of exactly who contributed what. The time in which it was purchased is often more important, if an asset was accumulated during the marriage, it is often considered marital property. Of course, there are exceptions to this based on specific details surrounding the divorcing couple.

Common reasons why 50 percent of marriages fail

Unfortunately, some marriages do not last forever. Despite the best of intentions, couples often struggle to stay the course. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The rate of second and third marriages is even higher.

Why do nearly half of all married couples decide to throw in the towel? Here are some of the most prominent factors that can cause a marriage to fail.

Process of property division can raise many questions

If you and your spouse have made the difficult and much debated decision to divorce, it's time to look to what's next. There are many emotional and also administrative aspects to consider when going through a divorce. However, there are areas where the two intersect. One of those topics is child custody and the other, property division.

Property division is a topic that often raises many questions. Who will get the house? How do we divide our 401k in a way that is fair and equitable to both divorcing spouses? What about credit card debt - how do we handle who pays what? While it can feel overwhelming initially, the process of property division can be decided in a way that is agreeable to both parties.

What does Michigan law say about marital breakdown and divorce?

The days in which a Michigan divorce required an extensive series of reasons before it could be granted as to why the marriage is over and cannot be salvaged are no longer in effect. For a person who decides to end a marriage, all that is necessary is that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage and the complainant states this when filing. That does not mean having legal assistance from a qualified divorce lawyer is unnecessary. On the contrary, it is always beneficial to have legal help.

It is still important to understand the specific law for the irretrievable breakdown, how the other person can respond, and if there are other factors that must be considered during the process. When there is a divorce complaint, it can be filed in the relevant circuit court alleging that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown with the marriage destroyed and no likely chance that it can be saved. The plaintiff does not need to issue any other explanation apart from this.

My child support monthly payment is not being made - what next?

It is unfortunate that some Michigan parents who are obligated to pay child support to the custodial parent fail to do so. While there might be viable reasons why they are not able to make the monthly payment as scheduled and in full, simply not paying is not acceptable in the eyes of the law. When the legal obligation is not followed for an extended period and the custodial parent has no alternative, there are steps to take to try and make certain that the supporting parent pays what is owed in one way or another and there are penalties if they do not.

Income withholding will come from a new or modified order of support. The payments will be deducted from the supporting parent's paycheck. It can also include workers' compensation, Social Security, unemployment and other benefits. If the parent is due to receive a tax refund, the payment can be intercepted. The threshold for this is $150 from the state and federal returns. If it is non-cash assistance, it is $500. When the payments are not made or there is no medical support, the person will be ordered to appear in court to offer an explanation. Failing to do so can lead to a bench warrant. Property, insurance claims and assets can be subject to lien or levy.

Man arrested for not paying financial support for child

When Michigan parents have a child, the end of the relationship does not mean that their responsibilities have ended as well. Financial support for the child is an integral issue that must be adhered to. When it is not, the custodial parent has alternatives to seek that the living expenses, medical coverage and more be paid. The noncustodial parent should be aware that there are various penalties that can be assessed. If the delinquent payments become substantial enough, there can even be jail time.

A businessman in Detroit who works in land development is facing charges of delinquent child support. The man owes just shy of $100,000. The 66-year-old has allegedly not paid the required support for eight years. The charges reach the level of a felony. It is one child for whom he has not paid for the upkeep. The Child, Elder & Family Crimes (CEFC) unit issued the charges. The man is a significant part of the real estate business in Michigan and was recently involved in the ownership group for a building that was once a hospital.

Insurance policies to bring to your divorce lawyer

A key part towards minimizing stress in your divorce is showing your attorney the necessary paperwork about your financial assets. Divorcees that have little to no knowledge about their property and do not provide their lawyers with essential financial documents could drag the proceedings further and lose more of their assets in the process.

Some of the most important documents to show your attorney are your insurance policies. Your life, health, homeowner’s and automobile insurance will drastically change from the separation, and it is important for your lawyer to be aware of so they can help prepare you for these shifts.

What is the importance of an affidavit with Michigan paternity?

When there is a question as to a child's paternity in Michigan, it can be a worrisome time for both parents. Issues related to fathers' rights, paternity actions, legal rights and other issues can muddy the waters and make a difficult situation worse. There are certain terms that might not be completely clear to the parents as the seek to establish paternity. One is knowing what an affidavit is, what happens when it is signed, and how it can affect paternity.

Paternity can be established voluntarily when by signing an affidavit. This is done when the mother is not married. There is a form that states the man is the child's biological father and can be signed regardless of his marital situation. When the parents sign it, it will also be signed by a notary public or a qualified witness. Those who sign will then be the child's legal parents and it will not be necessary to go to court or take any other steps to establish paternity.

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