Faupel Musser Love, P.C.

Ann Arbor Legal Issues Blog

How can I get my groove back after my divorce?

If you're an Ann Arbor woman who is struggling to move forward after your divorce is finalized, the future may appear unnaturally bleak. This is particularly true when the divorce was unwanted.

However, even when you were the one who filed (or at least agreed that you needed to split), feelings of regret and uncertainty are common.

Child custody concerns: When could a parent lose custody?

Michigan family law courts will always make decisions that are in the best interest of the children involved. Usually, in the case of a divorce, the best interest of the child involves him or her being able to spend as much time as possible with both parents. For this reason, courts will almost always award joint legal custody -- and, in many cases, joint physical custody -- to both parents.

At the very least, even if the child lives full time with the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent will receive joint legal custody so he or she can play a role in making important decisions about the child's life, in addition to having regular and frequent visitations rights. It's only in rare circumstances that a biological parent would lose all of these parental rights. Nevertheless, it can happen.

The new alimony law may provide a tax break for paying spouses

When President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law a few months ago, it made it where come Jan. 1, 2019, alimony will no longer be able to be taken as a deduction on a paying spouse's taxes. It also made it where the recipient wouldn't have to pay taxes on those funds anymore either. What many haven't heard about though is how the new law allows paying spouses to continue taking a tax break.

In the past, the spouse responsible for making alimony payments has been able to take a deduction for them provided that they'd paid in cash. When the new law goes into effect, though, paying spouses will be able to instead transfer funds directly from their retirement accounts. Many see this as a potential upside to the new law.

Could 'bird's nest custody' work for you?

When Michigan parents divorce, they must make some hard choices about the custody of their children and where all parties will live once the split is final. The family law courts tend to prefer co-parenting arrangements unless there are mitigating factors that would make this untenable.

But not all kids adapt well to a life of shuttling between their parents' homes. This is especially true for kids with special needs. Those on the autism spectrum typically struggle with transitions anyway, and having to switch homes on a regular basis may prove too difficult for them, especially when they are young.

Child custody, living situations and factors the court considers

When seeking custody of your children in a divorce case, the court is going to carefully consider a lot of different factors to decide what is in the best interests of the children. Parents are naturally biased. While the court does want to keep families together and both parents involved, the children's best interests must come first.

One thing that the court considers is the living situation itself. Factors that play into this decision include:

  • How much privacy the child can have. This is especially important for older children and teens.
  • How many other children are living in the house. This can be important when divorced parents have children from other relationships who share their homes.
  • The gender of the child. This is related to the privacy issue, especially when the gender of the child and the parent are different.
  • The child's age. Young children typically need far less space than older children.
  • The parents' financial situations. Are you able to care for the children and provide for them? Can you give them a stable home life and meet their needs? Money isn't everything, but it does have an impact.
  • The parents' health. Some parents are not in good physical condition and may have trouble caring for a child. This can make a difference in where the child lives most of the time.

Filing for divorce in Michigan is easy, settling it is complex

If you're considering filing for divorce, then there's no one-size-fits-all set of requirements that you must meet in order to do so across every single jurisdiction in the United States. There are some standard guidelines you should meet to file for divorce in Michigan though under MCLA 552.1, et seq.

First, at least one of the two of you must have been residing in the state for at least 180 days before you file. It's important that one of you has been living in the county where you submit your petition for divorce for at least 10 days prior to filing as well. There are limited exceptions to these rules.

Make life easier by following these co-parenting tips

Even if you're looking forward to ending your marriage, you realize that co-parenting will bring many challenges into your life. Fortunately, with the right co-parenting tips guiding you, you'll find it much easier to remain on the right track, year after year.

Here are five tips that can make life easier:

  • Prepare for the good and the bad: There will be times when co-parenting is easy, such as when everyone is getting along. But just like that, you'll face a big challenge that has both you and the other parent upset and wondering what will come next. You need to prepare for both the good and bad so that you're never taken off guard.
  • Be flexible: It's hard to remain flexible at all times, but it's a habit you should get into. For example, if the other parent needs you to alter your visitation schedule one weekend, do your best to accommodate his or her request.
  • Keep an open line of communication: This doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of time communicating with your ex-spouse. However, it's nice to know that you have an open line of communication that the two of you are comfortable using. From phone calls to text messages, consider all of your options.
  • Be short and to the point: When you see each other in person, such as when exchanging custody, be short and to the point with your communication. You don't want to come across as rude, but spending too much time together can result in an argument.
  • Work together for the well-being of your child: Co-parenting is all about doing what's best for your child, and you never want to lose sight of this. If you and your ex are arguing, keep in mind that you could be harming your child.

What are some signs that divorce could be in my future?

No one wants to hear their spouse say that they want a divorce. It's just not a pleasant conversation to have, even if you honestly know that the marriage has been in trouble. Even if you understand that it could be in your future, it doesn't make it easier to plan for in Ann Arbor, Michigan. So, what are some signs that divorce could be in your future?

When you spend less and less time with your spouse, divorce could be not so far away in Michigan. Married couples should spent time together. They don't have to be together 24 hours a day, but spending time together is how healthy relationships grow.

When could a parent lose his or her parental rights

Not all Michigan parents are fit to raise children. While courts largely view it to be in the best interest of children to have a mother and father who both spend time as their caregivers, there are circumstances when a parent has various problems that reduce his or her capacity to be a good parent. When these problems are so severe that they endanger the child's welfare, a Michigan court could choose to deny the parent his or her parental rights.

Here are several common reasons why parental rights are denied:

  • Being chronically or severely abusive to the child.
  • Being sexually abusive to the child.
  • Psychologically abusing or torturing the child.
  • Damaging a child emotionally in a severe way.
  • Neglecting to provide the child with food, shelter and other needs.
  • Abandoning the child as a result of extreme disinterest.
  • When the parent has a long-term and serious mental illness.
  • When the parent suffers from drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Having a felony-level conviction relating to a violent crime against a family member.
  • If the parent has been imprisoned for long enough that it prevents the parent from being able to care for the child.
  • The child is at risk in any way if he or she returns to the home of the parent.
  • The parent has induced the child to carry out crimes.
  • The newly born child has an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • The parent has given birth to more than two infants affected by drugs.

What you need to know about Michigan spousal support

The employment of spousal support, also referred to as alimony, occurs in cases where it’s necessary to even the economic playing field while the couple adjusts to life apart. If a couple cannot agree to terms of spousal support, determination about eligibility and amount are at the discretion of the Michigan court system. The amount of spousal support allowed is based on a wide variety of factors.

 

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When you are facing a difficult legal situation, turn to Faupel Musser Love, P.C. For a free initial 15-minute phone consultation, call 734-881-9484 or to schedule an in-office appointment, contact us online.

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