Grand Rapids Criminal Defense And Family Law Blog

How arguments over housework could lead to divorce

Arguments over household chores could lead to more divorces than Michigan couples may realize. In a recent Harvard Business School survey of 3,000 divorced couples, housework disputes was listed as the top reason for splitting by one-quarter of respondents.

Spending money on maid cleanings or related services, such as laundry or grocery delivery, has been shown to both increase personal happiness and improve relationships. These couples have more free time to relax and spend time with one another. In 2017, a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that just spending around $100 to $200 per month on cleaning services could make a difference.

Divorce and protecting finances

The divorce process can have a detrimental effect on one's finances. However, there are steps that Michigan residents can take to protect their money.

It is important that divorcing individuals are aware of their own credit standing as well as that of their spouse. Obtaining the credit reports of both parties can reveal hidden credit accounts and credit issues that should be addressed.

Important factors for white collar charges

White collar crimes happen more frequently than people may think. Many people may not think white collar crimes are very serious, perhaps due to their nonviolent nature, but the law treats them as serious criminal offenses.

For those who may be facing such charges, it is important to understand what all they entail.

Best interest test informs judicial decisions in custody fights

Michigan parents concerned about potential divorce litigation should know the biggest disputes in most cases are related to child custody. Parents are typically emotional and highly motivated regarding parenting time and the unpleasant prospect of being forced to spend time away from their children. An awareness of legal principles and typical points of controversy can help divorcing parents understand and prepare for the process.

The primary guiding principle for judges presiding over custody disputes is the best interests of children involved. Child welfare is the prism through which every judicial decision must be filtered. Judges are charged with the uncomfortable responsibility of balancing interests that are competing. For example, residential stability is a key component but it must be weighed against the need for children and parents to spend time together and often one must be sacrificed for the other. Frequent moves are known to be stressful and any parent hoping to maximize custodial time should present a stable environment as quickly as possible after separation.

Fathers have equal legal standing in child custody cases

Although family courts in Michigan have traditionally viewed mothers as the best custodial parents for children, modern law recognizes the parental rights of fathers and mothers equally. Men might still encounter prejudice when they pursue custody of their children, but preparation for court and avoiding confrontations with mothers may help produce a fair outcome in family court.

Because courts hear plenty of conflicting statements from feuding parents, judges could respond favorably to documentation about relationships between fathers and children. A father might present records of visits with children along with financial statements that show money paid toward the children's expenses. When questioned by a judge, a father should make detailed responses about his relationship with the children. Judges place value on the nature of parental relationships, and they are watchful for warning signs about weak bonds or hostility.

The truth about shared parenting

As a general rule, parenting decisions in a divorce are designed to be made with the best interest of the child in mind. However, what this actually means may be ambiguous to Michigan residents and others. In some cases, decisions may be based more on personal or professional biases as opposed to what is actually going to be best for a minor child.

In most cases, it is best for the child to have a relationship with both parents, assuming that he or she won't be abused or neglected. In fact, children of divorced parents said that this was worth any extra hassle that they experienced. However, shared parenting may not be championed by those who may believe faulty data that says children want to live with one parent and in one home. There also is no proof that children favor one parent over the other as infants. Both parents should be involved in their children's lives as soon as possible.

Changes ahead for alimony and taxes

Tax laws around alimony are set to change in 2019 for people who live in Michigan and throughout the country. However, experts are unsure just how the new rules will play out.

The current law allows people who pay alimony to deduct it from their taxes and requires the person who receives alimony to pay taxes on it. For divorces that happen after the end of 2018, this will no longer be the case. The alimony payment will no longer be tax deductible, and the recipient will not have to pay taxes on it.

How your disability could have factored into your arrest

Many people have disabilities. Quite a few fall under the purview of the ADA, depending on the situation. Even if your disability does not, it could have factored unfairly into your arrest. For example, if you rolled or hurt your ankle earlier in the day and told that to a disbelieving police officer, he or she could have basically set you up to fail a field sobriety test.

Similarly, if you are deaf and use an ASL interpreter and insisted on one during a DUI interrogation, a police officer who ignored that request could have been in the wrong. What happens in some of these cases is that the officer asks any passengers in the car to interpret or insists on lip reading. A refusal to accommodate reasonable requests and to use techniques such as de-escalation instead of force hinders communication and can lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary arrests.

Contempt a major factor in some divorces

A researcher and marriage counselor, John Gottman, has identified contempt, criticism, stonewalling and defensiveness as elements in a marriage that make it more likely to end in divorce. Of the four, contempt is the most destructive because shows a lack of respect between partners. When couples in Michigan engage in any of these behaviors, divorce could be in their future.

An example of contempt would be if one person felt the other person's remarks suggested that person was dumb or worthless. When one person brings this up to the other person, the other person might state that this is the truth or might simply not care. At this point, contempt has set in.

Spyware and GPS trackers used in some in divorce cases

After a separation or divorce, some people in Michigan could be the target of stalking by a former spouse. When the Justice Department did a study on stalking in 2012, it found that although 1.5 percent of the adult population reported experiencing stalking, that number went up to 3.3 percent for people who had been divorced or separated. Stalking may now be done by digital surveillance as people increasingly use GPS trackers and spyware to keep tabs on their ex-spouse's whereabouts and activities. Some attorneys say that clients can leave them criminally liable if they use evidence in the divorce gathered in an illegal way.

One woman believed her ex-husband used both of these. First, she noticed he always seemed to know when she went out of town and where she was. Although she initially suspected he had hired a private detective, she did not detect anyone following her. After a mechanic found a GPS tracker on her car that had been installed long after she left him, she went to the police. However, since her ex-husband was still listed as an owner of the car, installing the tracker was not illegal.

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