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Clinton Township Divorce Law Blog

What steps are involved in a contested divorce?

While divorces are rarely easy, some couples in Michigan are able to come to terms with major issues at the end of their marriage. For many others, establishing guidelines about custody, visitation, and property division can be all but impossible. Live About explains what goes on when divorces are contested, and what you can do to successfully navigate the process.

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Using forensic accountants for an in-depth discovery process

Although many Michigan divorces finish quickly and amicably, proceedings that involve business owners or those with a high net worth can be lengthy. In complex divorces, it takes time to determine the value of each spouse’s estate and overall income. At The Law Offices of Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. we understand the complicated nature of property division and have experience negotiating fair and equitable asset distribution.

 It’s Over Easy, LLC reports that forensic accountants can help in situations when you cannot settle, and decide to move forward to trial. Disputed assets often result in emotionally charged, contentious proceedings. An accountant who specializes in sorting out financial issues can provide an unbiased assessment of the situation and can act as an expert witness if necessary. Their focus includes the following:

  • Identifying and providing a valuation for assets and liabilities
  • Tracing and locating pre-marital property
  • Assessing the value of any businesses owned by either spouse
  • Calculating the spousal and child support
  • Evaluating the availability of income for paying support
  • Preparing a plan for the equitable division of all property, including liabilities

Set clear rules for co-parenting from the start

Making co-parenting work is something that requires you to put in an effort. You and your ex will have to decide to work together for the good of the children so that they can thrive. You can't focus on the adults in the picture because this can lead to your making decisions based on past hurts.

Remember the reasons you are co-parenting. Children can feel more secure and will be able to handle problem-solving better with a positive model from their parents. They can benefit from the consistency and the good examples you demonstrate. Keeping these points in mind might help as you work through conflicts that creep up.

Do I need a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements aren’t just for the extremely wealthy. If you enter into a marriage with a reasonable number of assets or business interests, you should seriously consider implementing one to remain protected. Bankrate explains some of the basic components of prenups.

Prenups establish who owns what

Modifying your initial custody arrangement

Going through a Michigan divorce is challenging, even when all parties involved agree that it is for the best. After finalizing the settlement and parenting plan, life typically falls into a new routine. However, life changes over time and modifications to the custody arrangement must occur to keep up with those changes. At the Law Offices of Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C., we have experience helping clients with child custody issues such as modifying court-approved parenting plans.

According to Verywell family, there are many reasons the current custody arrangement no longer fits the best interests of the child. As children grow up, they change schools, join athletic teams and other activities. Altering the current court orders to fit these needs enables your child’s way of life to continue uninterrupted.

What should I know about property division?

It can be tough for Michigan couples to divide property and assets during a divorce. The right information is key in this case, as being informed will prevent you from making time-consuming and costly mistakes. Live About explains some things that all divorcing couples should know when it comes to dividing assets.

Honesty is the best policy

Start preparing for your divorce now

January is a popular time for couples to divorce in Michigan and throughout the country. This is because most choose to make it through the holidays first, whether it is to keep the kids happy or to avoid uncomfortable family gatherings. If you and your spouse are choosing to start the proceedings in the New Year, you can still take steps now to better prepare yourself for the process.

According to Forbes, your finances should be on the top of your priority list. Gather all documents that relate to the assets and debts you have. Find this information on credit card and bank statements, investment records and tax returns. Make a list of artwork, jewelry and other property around the house. Doing this ahead of time will make it easier to start the process of dividing property and deciding on spousal and/or child support.

How can I save money around the holidays?

As a single parent, the holidays can be tough. This is especially true when it comes to buying presents for friends and family, which may be more difficult since your divorce. You also want to preserve your financial stability, which means you must avoid overspending. Bankrate offers the following tips in this case, which can help divorced parents in Michigan get through the holidays unscathed.

Make a budget

Controlling the impact divorce has on your career

You might assume that your divorce only has to do with your personal life, but there is a chance that it will affect your professional life, too. Finding the balance can be difficult since you don't want the end of your marriage to hurt your career.

No matter what type of job you do, there are several things that can help you to keep things on track at work while still getting the divorce taken care of. Handling these early and being proactive is often a good idea so that you aren't doing damage control and rushing around at the last minute to take care of things.

  • Let your supervisors know about the split. Give them the dates you have for meetings and hearings you will have to attend. You don't have to go into all the details but you should let them know the basics so they can plan for your absences from work.
  • Plan for your days off. If you have a job that will require you to have certain things done before a day off, try to get those finished. If you need to find someone to cover for you on those days, it is best to make the arrangements as early as possible. The goal is for you to be able to take care of your divorce without negatively impacting the company.
  • Speak to human resources. You will probably have quite a bit of paperwork that needs to be done to get things like your insurance and retirement set up for your life as a single person. You have to be careful with this since some matters might be covered by the divorce order. Your attorney can help you determine what needs to be changed now and what you should change after the finalization of the divorce.
  • Take care of yourself. It is easy to become so wrapped up in the divorce and the changes that come with it that you forget to take care of yourself. Mental health days, finding activities you enjoy, and taking the time to plan your future can all help you to feel better.

Who gets the artwork in a divorce?

Among the many other contentious battles over property post-divorce, divvying up artwork is often the most challenging. Whether you’re a collector or an artist yourself, your former spouse may pursue some of your pieces, either for ownership or sale value. In this case, the Art Law Journal explains how artwork is divided up and how to value it for asset division.

First, couples must understand how property division works in general. While there are differences in legislation in every state, in general property is divided into two categories: marital and separate. This means that only those items created or purchased during a marriage are considered fair game in divorce proceedings. Anything acquired or made before or after is usually considered the property of the owner or artist. 

Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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