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Ann Arbor Law Blog

Financial surprises for women during divorce

Women in Michigan should be prepared to face some unsettling financial revelations if they file for divorce. A survey of 1,785 participants showed that 46 percent of the divorced women encountered financial surprises during their divorce.

Divorced and divorcing women are likely to be surprised by the total amount of their marital debts and that fact that they may have to reenter the workforce. Women also discover during the divorce process that the alimony or child support they receive may not be as much or last as long as they thought it would. The extremely high costs of getting a divorce and obtaining adequate health care insurance are other unwelcome financial updates that women are likely to experience.

Co-parenting cooperatively is best for the kids

Divorced Michigan parents must learn to deal with the difficulties of a co-parenting arrangement. Co-parenting is easier when both parents commit to maintaining focus on the emotional well-being of their children, understanding the harm that can come from minimizing one another in the eyes of the children, appreciating that the children should have attachments to both parents and valuing the relationship with both of them.

The focus of a co-parenting arrangement should be on the children. In many cases, the parents will be required to adhere to a schedule that has been either agreed upon or ordered by a court. The schedule is a good place to start, but those who get the most out of co-parenting know reasonable flexibility can lead to greater satisfaction for themselves and their kids.

Divorcees may have less when it comes time to retire

The National Retirement Risk Index was created in 2006 by the Center for Retirement Research in order to measure the percentage of households that are at-risk of a lower standard of living after retirement. Michigan residents who are approaching divorce might want to know that the risk of a lower standard of living is 7 percent higher for divorced people. Individuals usually must deal with higher costs of living per person because marriage allows for certain economies of scale.

Married couples share expenses for things like housing and utilities, and they have to cover these costs alone after divorce. The incidence of divorce while nearing retirement age, sometimes called gray divorce, has increased in recent years. The overall rate of divorce in the United States has leveled off more or less, but the rate for people at least 50 years old doubled between 1990 and 2010.

3 items you can keep when you file for bankruptcy

Many people are apprehensive about bankruptcy because of the common misconception that you will have to liquidate all your assets. On the contrary, the objective of bankruptcy is to facilitate repayment of debt, and if this can be done without liquidation, it is entirely possible that you can keep your most valuable assets while still relieving the debt that has become a burden.

The following are three examples of what you may be able to keep even after filing for bankruptcy. Whether your assets are liquidated depends largely on whether you file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, and you should consult with a legal representative to determine which is the right option for you.

Financial situations often get worse as debtors delay bankruptcy

The time period during which a person is struggling with asset depletion and avoiding a bankruptcy filing is sometimes referred to as the sweatbox. It's an unpleasant situation for Michigan residents who have to deal with collection calls and making decisions regarding the finances of basic life necessities. A report called "Life in the Sweatbox," which was recently published in the Notre Dame Law Review, focused on the impacts of delaying filing for bankruptcy.

Generally, the longer people remain in the sweatbox, the worse their financial situations grow. The report defines people who remain in the pre-bankruptcy stage for two years or more as long strugglers. According to the study, long strugglers had half the median asset value of debtors who filed sooner. Approximately half of long strugglers were faced with debt collections lawsuits, compared with 35 percent of other debtors. Long strugglers had a median debt-to-income ratio more than 40 percent higher than debtors who filed sooner.

How disability can impact child support payments

Disability can change a Michigan family's life significantly, especially if a newly impaired parent's income was the basis for child support payments. Because disability can significantly affect a person's ability to work, it can often be accompanied by a sharp reduction in income. This can impact a parent's ability to meet their child support obligations.

When a parent's income changes significantly, they may find it difficult or impossible to continue payments at that level. An acquired disability does not cancel a parent's child support responsibilities or remove the obligation to participate in the child's financial upbringing. However, child support payments are intended to be based on the parents' standard of living and lifestyle. This means that the support amount due each month can be modified in family court to reflect the true picture of a parent's financial situation.

Criminal reform may help victims of mistaken identity

Michigan residents may have heard about groups such as the California Innocence Project that aim to help those who have been wrongfully convicted. One man spent eight years in prison for a sex crime before DNA evidence exonerated him. He was convicted because a witness wrongfully pointed him out as the person who committed the act. In many cases, an individual will pick someone out of a lineup who looks vaguely familiar a person they believe committed an offense.

Over time, the witness becomes more convinced of the decision until he or she believes that the person picked out of the lineup actually committed a crime. Throughout the state of California, reforms have been made to decrease the likelihood of errant identification. One such reform is the use of double blind lineups. They have been shown to be more accurate without making it harder for a person to identify a suspect.

Female Breadwinners Can Creatively Manage Alimony Responsibility

Female breadwinners in Ann Arbor, Michigan are breaking the glass ceiling, achieving career success and earnings that outpace their male counterparts. As female breadwinners make great strides toward equality, many are coming to grips with the fact that they will be responsible for spousal support at the end of a marriage that may have failed.

According to an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, 45 percent of lawyers stated that they saw an increase in men being granted alimony and 54 percent saw an increase in the number of mothers paying child support. In addition to dealing with visitation plans, child custody, and property division, women are now being told they will be responsible for paying child support.

How to stop foreclosure on your Ann Arbor home

If you have been unable to make mortgage payments for a while, you may be facing a home foreclosure. The prospect of losing your home can cause a lot of anxiety and stress, as well as a great deal of confusion about how to proceed legally. With so much weighing on you, it can be hard to know where to start in terms of saving your home and getting back on track.

The good news is that there is such a thing as foreclosure defense, and employing this strategy can help you stay in your Ann Arbor home. Read on to learn more about how foreclosure defense works and whether it might be an option in your case.

Changes to student loan treatment in bankruptcy proposed

For many people in Michigan struggling with debt, student loans can contribute substantially to the burden that they face. However, this type of debt is set aside from other unrepayable expenses like credit card bills; unlike those debts, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. As student loan debt and defaults continue to be a major concern across the country, the Department of Education has solicited input about how student loans can be dealt with in bankruptcy in the future. Over 400 comments were submitted as part of the process.

Under current law, it is difficult for people struggling with student loans to discharge that portion of their debt, requiring a finding of undue hardship. However, many lawyers and advocates have argued for a change of the law that provides more rights and options for borrowers facing a mountain of student loan debt. In order to change the way these cases are treated, Congress would need to pass a new law to change the treatment of student loans in bankruptcy. However, the Department of Education has some discretion in how it deals with these cases.

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