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Ann Arbor Law Blog

Building a divorce support team

For Michigan residents and others, getting a divorce can be both emotionally and financially draining. To increase the odds of recovering both financially and emotionally from a divorce, it may be a good idea to lean on a support system. In most cases, this will include friends, family and an attorney. It also may include a trusted CPA or other financial professionals. Those who lack a team of professionals may be best served by assembling one before getting divorced.

Ideally, a person will interview multiple attorneys and conduct second interviews with his or her preferred choices prior to hiring someone. Friends, family or other social contacts may provide references. The person chosen to represent an individual should have experience with complex cases while having the ability to communicate. In addition to an attorney and financial advisor that are well versed in divorce matters, it may be worthwhile to seek out the services of a therapist.

Getting a home postbankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process that can be used to resolve overwhelming debt, and every year, 800,000 people in the United States use it to get out of debt. Michigan residents that have gone through a bankruptcy may think that buying a new home may be impossible. Although it may be a complicated process, purchasing a home after a bankruptcy is possible.

The type of bankruptcy a person that wants to buy a new home files is an important factor. Chapter 7 releases debtors from the obligations for their unsecured debt. Chapter 13 filers are able to reorganize their debt and pay it back in affordable monthly payments. Mortgage lenders tend to be more accommodating to Chapter 13 filers than Chapter 7 ones because the former are paying back their debts.

Bankruptcy rates are rising for seniors

Bankruptcy laws help people reduce or eliminate their debts. Although this protection is available to all adults, Michigan seniors are a growing section of bankruptcy filers. There may be a few reasons why they're turning to the federal bankruptcy code to resolve their financial problems.

Possibly the most significant cause of senior personal bankruptcy was the recession that started in 2008. The recession hit older adults hardest because they didn't have time to recover their financial losses in the stock market before it was time for them to retire. With less money in their nest eggs, people in this age group may find it harder to pay the bills after an illness. To compound the issue, health care costs have risen dramatically in recent years. Some seniors who were able to pay their bills in the past are no longer able to do so.

How to avoid credit card debt this holiday season

Credit card debt is an extremely scary topic for many Americans and for good reason. Americans have recently hit a milestone and now carry more debt than any other time in the country's history. The total debt has now exceeded $1 trillion. 

Many people accrue a lot of credit card debt during the holidays at the end of the year due to excessive shopping. Before you head out to the mall, consider these tips to avoid putting too much money on your credit cards. 

Deciding whether to stay or to leave when children are involved

People in Michigan who are struggling with whether or not they should try to stay married for the sake of their children should think about several things. There are reasons that might support going ahead with divorces and others that might warrant further consideration.

When people are in marriages that are abusive, there is no question that they would be better off getting divorced. People who remain in such situations should realize that abuse often escalates, and both they and their children may be in danger if they stay. Others who are not in abusive marriages but who fight constantly with their spouses might also want to go ahead and file for divorce. Children may be better off when they are not constantly witnessing their parents' fights. People who have gotten to the point that they simply do not like their spouses and are very unhappy might also be want to go ahead and get divorced. Their children might be better off if they can enjoy two happy homes instead of a single home in which their parents are unhappy.

Understanding the changes in Michigan's medical marijuana law

With ever-changing marijuana laws across the country and in Michigan alone, it can be confusing to understand what is legal or illegal. Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan and just underwent several changes due to a new law. A lot of people are wondering how many plants a patient or caregiver can grow.

Everyone must be aware of the new laws and regulations so they do not get in legal trouble. Keep reading for an analysis of what laws changed for medical marijuana in Michigan and what might be next.

Economic conditions could reverse slowdown in bankruptcy filings

The number of bankruptcy filings fell 1.8 percent in September 2017 compared to September 2016. Overall, there were 790,830 bankruptcies filed by Michigan residents and others through Sept. 30. There were 805,580 bankruptcy cases in the prior year. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, this was the lowest total over any 12-month period since June 2007. However, the decline in overall bankruptcies in the period between September 2016 and September 2017 was the lowest in a one-year period since 2011.

While fewer people are filing for bankruptcy than in previous years, there are still signs that filings could increase. Those who study bankruptcy figures say that the number of cases filed overall is still a sign that many people are in precarious financial situations. If interest rates increase, it could force more people to file. It may also result in businesses filing for bankruptcy in larger numbers as well.

Divorce can be a positive choice for some couples

Michigan couples may look avidly for a way to avoid a divorce and repair a marriage that is no longer intact. In some cases, the partners are parents and want to preserve a shared home for their children. In other cases, they may simply be dedicated to counseling or making changes in order to keep a commitment that they intended to last for life. These changes can make a real difference for many couples, who then go on to find renewed happiness in their marriage. However, for others, divorce may be the easier and happier option for both partners' future happiness and romantic success.

Worries about the specter of a "failed marriage" may make couples resist a split even when both have become discouraged from seeking to preserve the relationship. However, a relationship that taught lessons and benefited a person, even through ending it, is not actually a failure. Another factor can be a fear of social pressure or criticism over the divorce, although this has changed rapidly over the years. Any relationship can be a stage of life that sparks development and change rather than being stuck in an unhappy past.

Think twice before dipping into your 401(k) to pay debt

People struggling with debt may turn to avenues such as taking on a second job or bringing in a renter to help with the bills. Sometimes, these approaches pay off. Other times, though, they can be risky or unnecessary. For example, an improperly vetted renter could cause significant property damage.

Similarly, if you are considering using funds from your 401(k) to pay down debt, that could be a mistake. Here is why.

Efforts to raise debt limits have support

If one judge had his way, Michigan residents and others would not face debt limits when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He and others shared this sentiment at an October meeting of the American Bankruptcy Institute Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy. This may help those who don't qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy but don't find Chapter 11 to be a realistic alternative.

Under current law, those with more than $1,149,525 in secured debt don't qualify. Those who have more than $383,175 in unsecured debt don't qualify either. These limits were established in 1978 in an effort to prevent real estate developers or others who may have avoided filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 13, an individual uses regular income to pay debts under a payment plan lasting either three or five years. Some say that the debt limits no longer make sense for debtors in all parts of the country.

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