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Clinton Township Divorce Law Blog

Changing a child custody hearing date

Parents in Michigan should make every effort to appear in court for their child custody or support hearings. If circumstances make attending a certain court date difficult or impossible, then a court might accommodate a person's request to alter the hearing date under limited circumstances.

A person who feels unable to attend a hearing as scheduled could submit a waiver of appearance to a court. A judge might make changes based on the request or potentially issue a default order if the person cannot appear. Hearings usually only take 15 or 30 minutes, and a court might allow someone to participate in a hearing by telephone or video conferencing. Changing the court date or the location of the hearing might also solve a problem for someone who faces challenges getting to court.

Joint custody after divorce

When parents in Michigan divorce, they are often concerned about the well-being of their children. Both parents generally want to remain involved in their kid's lives and contribute to their support. In recent years, there has been a change in how custody has been divided between parents.

Joint legal custody has become significantly more common in the United States. In fact, many family court systems operate with a presumption of joint legal custody, which means that parents are expected to share equally in decisions regarding their children's schooling, health care and day-to-day living. However, mothers are still more likely to get physical custody of their children, which means that the kids live with mom most of the time.

Managing finances when going through the divorce process

In addition to the emotional stress that Michigan couples face as they go through a divorce, they are likely to face some financial problems. However, there are steps that individuals can take to help them to better understand and maintain control of their finances and investments during this difficult process.

One major way that couples can avoid some financial fallout during the divorce process is to be sure that each individual can access financial accounts. In some marriages, one individual plays a bigger role than the other when it comes to banking and investments. Each individual needs to have access to and be aware of bank, investment and financial accounts. They need access to login credentials and account information.

How can you enforce your custody order when your ex won't comply?

Shared custody is a common outcome in a Michigan divorce. The courts want to do what is best for your children, which will usually mean helping them maintain the love and support of both parents. Whether you have an even 50/50 split of custody or see your kids a few nights a week and alternating holidays and weekends, you likely treasure every moment of time you get to spend with them now that you have less of that precious bonding time.

Unfortunately, either due to a lack of foresight and planning or potentially malicious desire to limit your relationship with the kids, it could be possible for your ex to interfere with your parenting time, particularly if the kids are with them more than you.

Finances can drive some happy couples to divorce

Some people in Michigan may think of strategic divorce as primarily an option for ultra-wealthy couples. At the highest tax bracket of 37%, two high earners may end up paying more in taxes as a married couple than they would as single wealthy individuals. Some have speculated that more couples may choose to divorce if tax reforms are implemented that raise the tax burden imposed on the wealthiest individuals and couples across the country. In practice, though, the tax savings realized through a divorce are usually far smaller than the costs associated with a divorce itself, and most people involved are too wealthy to be concerned about the relatively small tax difference.

However, strategic divorce can be a real possibility for couples of more modest means facing particular types of financial barriers. In order for a person to be admitted into a nursing home with Medicaid payments, a couple must often spend down their assets significantly and run through their retirement funds. When one person needs serious nursing care for issues like dementia or Alzheimer's, couples may be willing to do anything necessary to help secure that support. In some cases, these couples may decide to divorce in order to protect some assets for one spouse while allowing the other to receive care.

Is cashing out your portion of a 401k a good idea?

It almost goes without saying that your divorce in Clinton Township will bring with it a good deal of uncertainty. While it may be relief to no longer be involved in whatever bitterness may have permeated your marriage towards its end, you may now find yourself needing to secure new housing, go back to school or through career training, or in need of many other things whose expenses might be high. Spousal support may assist in handling these costs, but there is no guarantee that it will be awarded in your case. One source of funds that you may want to look to for a quick infusion of cash is your ex-spouse’s 401k. 

Contributions made to your ex-spouse’s during your marriage came from their income (which is a marital asset). Thus, those contributions are considered a marital asset as well, and are subject to property division. Yet is cashing out your portion of those funds even an option (that is, without incurring a stiff tax penalty)? According to information shared by CBNC.com, it is (provided the court has issued a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in your case). Divorce is one of those rare scenarios where you can make an early withdrawal from a retirement account without a penalty. 

Three signs a divorce may be imminent

Michigan spouses who are having marital problems know that the decision to divorce is difficult. However, there are certain red flags that could indicate that a marriage is heading for divorce.

When couples or families stop eating meals together, this can be an indication that something major is going wrong. This is a time when couples can connect and discuss things that happened during their day. Some say that they don't want to wait to eat if one partner arrives home late from work. However, this is a signal that the two individuals are completely disjointed.

Reviewing COBRA coverage requirements

Most in Clinton Township do not need to be told that healthcare can be costly. Fortunately, many are able to shoulder the burden of those costs thanks to the financial assistance offered through their insurance providers. According to information shared by the U.S. Census Bureau, over 67 percent of those who carry health insurance in American are covered by private plans. Of those beneficiaries, 56 percent obtain their coverage through their employers. What happens, then, when a couple divorces and one spouse is no longer directly associated with the sponsoring organization?

Many in such a situation may initially panic out of fear that they would not be covered if they needed medical treatment. Yet such fear may be unwarranted; a person in such a situation may be eligible for continuing coverage thanks to the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act.

Divorce trials require specific planning

Many divorces are handled before the case has to go to trial. If you find that you are going to have to go through a divorce trial, prepare before the day comes. Your attorney is likely going to prepare the legal side of the case, so you will be able to focus more on your emotions and how to handle yourself in court.

Mostly, the divorce trial will revolve around the judge getting all the necessary information to make decisions about things like property division and child custody. The more prepared you feel, the more likely you will be able to remain calm during the trial.

How can I deal with depression after a divorce?

Getting a divorce takes a toll on your entire life. Along with affecting your finances and your personal relationships, it can also cause issues with depression. While this is a common occurrence, it can be difficult to deal with in the wake of the dissolution of your marriage. To help you along, Healthline recommends the following advice. 

Take care of your physical health

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.

Learn More About Lorrie
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