Grand Rapids Criminal Defense And Family Law Blog

Recovering back child support in state or federal court

Parents in Michigan who are owed back child support might be able to recover payments through state or federal courts. Those who seek to recover via state courts can prepare for court appearances by gathering evidence that they have already attempted to collect outstanding child support from the other parent and that the non-custodial parent has not made child support payments for a significant time period. In cases where the parents were not married when the child was conceived or born, the court may require evidence that the father was made aware of his paternity.

In 1992, the federal government passed the Child Support Recovery Act. This law was designed to make it easier to prosecute parents who are not meeting child support obligations and to act as a deterrent against non-payment. The circumstances in which a parent may rely on federal courts to help with child support recovery are limited. Federal courts will first consider whether recovery is available through the state courts, whether the payor has a history of moving to avoid payment obligations and if the payor has attempted to conceal his or her whereabouts to avoid making payments.

Do you need an attorney if you agree on everything?

Divorces can cost a lot of money. On average around the United States, the process of divorce costs about $15,000. In an attempt to reduce costs, some try to go through the process without a lawyer, and that is a huge mistake you do not want to make. 

The truth of the matter is you are not an expert on divorce law. You could end up making a huge mistake or overlook a key detail in the final paperwork. This can cost you dearly in the long run, so always have an attorney in your corner to help you out. 

Avoid these common real estate mistakes in a divorce

Divorcing couples in Michigan who own a home have several options for dividing it, but they should make sure to avoid some common mistakes as well. One error people make is fighting to keep the home only to find out they cannot afford it. Before deciding to take the home, a person should make a monthly budget that accounts for all expenses associated with it.

Another common error occurs when the couple refinances the mortgage to remove one of them from it but does not do the same with the deed. This can seem like a way to reduce paperwork, but it can also lead to problems later on if the divorce is no longer amicable and the owner wants to sell the home and runs into financial problems.

Why fiscal honesty is important before marriage

Those who are planning on getting married in Michigan and elsewhere will ideally have a financial talk prior to doing so. This can help them identify and potentially rectify monetary problems before they negatively impact a marriage. It can also ensure that both partners are on the same page when it comes to how to handle their money. The conversation should include everything from each person's credit score to the amount and type of debt that they have.

Couples who don't feel comfortable having a financial talk on their own could enlist the help of a third-party to facilitate it. A local church, financial professional or a therapist could work to ensure that each side can talk about their finances without feeling judged or ashamed. These conversations may create the foundation for a prenuptial agreement. While few people actually use them, it can be a powerful tool in helping a marriage function as smoothly as possible.

How child custody will affect taxes

One thing that parents in Michigan should keep in mind as they are negotiating child custody agreements is how their custody arrangement will affect taxes. One of the issues is who will be as head of household.

This may be more complex than it initially appears. The divorce must be finalized by the end of the year for either parent to qualify. The child must be living with the parent more than half the time. Technically, the parent who claims head of household may also need to be covering more than half of the household expenses. If there are two children and parents share custody, each parent can have one child for one day longer than half the time, and this allows both parents to claim head of household. Parents who only have one child may alternate who the child spends the most time with and who can take the deduction.

Criminal charges may hinder child custody decisions

When it comes to divorce in Michigan, many fathers feel that they are being denied rights in family law disputes. CNN has reported on the issue by interviewing fathers who claim that they are not being treated fairly by the legal system. According to the report, some fathers are facing tens of thousands of dollars in child support payments after the loss of employment while others are being denied visitation rights due to criminal complaints.

CNN also interviewed a family law attorney and a superior court judge regarding the matter. The findings were that while family courts are meant to treat both men and women equally in divorce matters, some favor the mother over the father when children are involved in a case. Furthermore, 80 percent of all custodial responsibilities rest on the mother after a divorce is finalized in the United States.

One way to avoid a conviction of drug charges

Facing drug charges can seem like the end of the world, especially when it is your first time. You may think that you are doomed because of this one mistake. Michigan takes drug crimes seriously, so what are you to do to protect your future?

The good news is that you may be eligible to take advantage of MCL 333.7411. This is the number of the Michigan law addressing the avoidance of criminal penalties for some drug charges. 

Wealthy couples may be more likely to split

It's well known that money can be a major source of marital problems for couples in Michigan. Financial stresses and differences over spending and saving practices can lead to serious arguments and even divorce. A survey of 2,000 adults by SunTrust Bank indicated that money was the leading cause of stress in a personal or romantic relationship. However, while financial stress may weigh most heavily on lower-income couples, studies show that divorce is actually more common among wealthier families.

Researchers for SunTrust Bank noted that 35 percent of respondents said that financial issues were the primary point of contention with their partners. Overall, couples who shared common financial goals were more likely to have successful marriages. At any income level, disparities in financial approaches can lead to tension. According to the Federal Reserve Board, couples with more widely disparate credit scores are also more likely to divorce in the first five years of marriage. In addition, people with higher credit scores are more likely to have successful long-term relationships.

Using prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

The future can be unpredictable. Michigan couples who want to get married or who are already married should consider making plans for possible situations that may occur in the future. For couples who are currently unmarried, this entails completing a prenuptial agreement. Couples who are already married should discuss a postnuptial agreement.

Two of the main reasons couples get divorced are communication and money. Completing a prenuptial agreement not only affords both parties protection, but it also aids in promoting healthy conversations about financial matters early on so that they may not be a factor that contributes to a divorce.

Retirement after a later-in-life divorce

Divorce is on the rise among older Americans in Grand Rapids and across the country. While the rate of divorce for younger Americans and the population, on the whole, has been on the decline or remained steady, the opposite has held true for people age 50 and up. In fact, since 1990, their divorce rate has doubled, and the trend shows no sign of stopping. People who are remarried or who have only been married for a few years are more likely to divorce, as is the case for younger couples as well. However, many "gray divorces" also take place among people who have been married for decades.

Property division can take a significant toll on retirement funds for divorcing couples of any age. However, the concern can be far greater for older Americans. They have less time to rebuild their individual retirement plans, and it costs much more to fund two single retirements out of the same money originally slated for both. However, prudent financial planning can help people divorcing later in life to avoid some pitfalls and emerge successfully into retirement.

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