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Clinton Township Divorce Law Blog

Being proactive may make a divorce easier to handle

While a divorce can have a financial impact on Michigan residents and others who go through one, it is possible to recover from it. Ideally, individuals who believe that their marriage is going to end will learn as much as they can about their household finances. This could mean reviewing tax returns, looking over bank statements and keeping tabs on a retirement balance. Having regular conversations about money with a spouse could make it harder for that person to hide assets.

According to a survey from Fidelity, 10% of respondents said that they found out about hidden assets during a divorce. Furthermore, 14% said that there was debt that they weren't aware of until going through the process of ending their marriages. Ending a marriage may be easier if there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place. Prenuptial agreements are created before the marriage becomes official while postnuptial agreements are enacted after the marriage becomes official.

Postnups offer protection, peace of mind

Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements in that they are both contracts between the members of a couple. They differ in their timing. Prenups are entered into prior to the marriage; postnups are entered into sometime after the marriage has begun. Among the advantages of these kinds of agreements for couples in Michigan is that they lend clarity to the couple's finances and may correct previous financial errors. If one of the spouses is bad with money, for example, a postnup may deal with the problem and create new money routines.

In a case where the couple has built a large business during the marriage, a postnuptial agreement might be used to create protections in case of divorce or separation. If the goal of the parties is to convey the business to the children, that can be covered in a postnuptial agreement. Postnups may also be useful where one party to the marriage anticipates receiving an inheritance.

How exes can co-parent their children at different stages

In order for co-parents in Michigan to be successful, they need to work together while looking out for the best interests of their children. An effective parenting plan involves considering how children respond to separation and divorce at different stages of their lives.

Ex-spouses often find that it is most challenging for them to design a parenting plan for babies and toddlers. Very young children need consistency. Even the smallest changes can be upsetting for them. In most situations, babies and toddlers should be with a primary caregiver most of the time. It is advisable for a baby or toddler to see the other parent about two or three times a week for at least a couple of hours.

Not all divorces are the same: Be prepared for yours

When you told your best friend that you were planning on getting a divorce, the look on their face was one you couldn't really describe. They sighed and said they knew what you'd be going through and were there to help. It was almost like they were going to go into battle with you and telling you to prepare for the worst.

You knew that their divorce was drawn out and a true disaster. They fought in the courts for months and spent thousands on their child custody case. You know that your divorce could end up the same way, and it creates a pit in your stomach.

Why divorces go up in the month of January

Michigan residents would not be wrong if they thought that divorce seemed more common during the month of January. January has actually been called "Divorce Month" because of how many filings are made right at the beginning of the year. Even searches in online platforms that involve things related to divorce go up during January.

One of the factors that may be behind why January is now being called Divorce Month is the fact that couples experience a lot of stress during the holiday season. It is a time when people are spending more money, they are spending more time with in-laws, and they are traveling at a hectic time of the year. All of these things may lead a person to feel like they do not want to spend another holiday season with a spouse whom they are not getting along with. However, instead of announcing a divorce to the family during the holidays, they may wait until January.

How divorce may impact a retirement account

A divorce could have implications for a Michigan spouse's retirement plan. Generally speaking, any money accrued in a retirement account during the course of the marriage is considered to be marital property. However, there is no guarantee that the account will be split in a 50/50 manner. If a qualified plan is being divided, it needs to be done under the terms of a qualified domestic relations order.

Otherwise, an individual may be required to pay penalties or income taxes on the cash that he or she receives. A couple may be able to decide for themselves how to divide a retirement account and when proceeds should be transferred from one account to another. This may be preferable because a person generally loses control of how assets are divided when a judge has to make a ruling.

Britney Spears may want more custody time with her sons

Many people in Michigan grew up as fans of Britney Spears' music, but the celebrity has lived a troubled life for many years, especially after she experienced mental health issues. According to reports, she may be planning to go back to family court in order to seek more custody of her children. In September 2019, the celebrity and her former husband, Kevin Federline, revised their prior custody agreement. They had a 50-50 joint custody agreement for a number of years, but the revised agreement gave Federline 70% custody as Spears addressed mental health challenges.

Sources said that Spears plans to go back to court in the coming year to revise the agreement again to return to 50-50 custody or seek more than 30% of time with her two sons. Child custody challenges can be difficult even for former couples that have a relatively amicable relationship. Even when one former spouse does not want to deprive the other of time with their children, mothers and fathers often want the most amount of time with their kids possible.

The role of gender in a child custody case

Parents in Michigan may feel as if their gender prevents them from obtaining the custody or visitation rights that they deserve. In the past, mothers were typically given custody of their children after a divorce because they were seen as better caregivers. However, as attitudes toward parenting and gender roles change, this is not necessarily true anymore. Today, judges show a greater willingness to grant fathers sole custody rights if doing so is in a child's best interest.

Of course, it is possible that traditional attitudes persist among some judges or in some parts of the country. Therefore, parents are encouraged to assert their rights if they feel as if they are being ignored. Parents who are seeking custody of their children should take steps to establish that they have a strong relationship with their sons or daughters. They should also ensure that they have a cordial relationship with the child's other parent.

Delaying divorce might give you time to plan for single life

Parents sometimes question whether they need to stay together for the kids or just call it quits. The answer to this isn't always easy, and may require some thought. Even though you know that the marriage is over, you might not need to be quick to file for divorce.

Some parents choose to continue to reside in the same home even after the marriage dissolves. Others opt to delay the divorce and still move into separate homes. Not filing the divorce petition immediately gives parents and the children time to adjust to the change before having to add the legal stresses into the situation. It might be a bit challenging emotionally, but you quickly find that it is better for everyone involved.

Divorce impacts money, children, living arrangements

Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can experience in his or her life. For people who are approaching or considering divorce in Michigan, it's important to try to minimize the stress of the process as much as possible, which means focusing on emotional, mental and financial health. Among the biggest concerns for people facing divorce are money, children and where to live following the divorce process.

Men and women can expect different things with regard to money after a divorce. For women, money was the number one concern going into divorce, outranking even their children. The London School of Economics has released research indicating that working women felt a drop in their incomes of 20% after divorce while men's incomes rose by 30%. The poverty rate for divorced women is almost triple the rate for divorced men. Financial preparations for divorce include gathering important information like bank and credit card statements, retirement account documents, property titles and tax returns.

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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