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Birmingham Michigan Family Law Blog

Looking for a less disruptive housing arrangement for your kids?

If you're considering of involved in a divorce with kids, you may be dreading the prospect of sharing parenting responsibilities with your ex. Even if you're able to work well together as co-parents, you will still be disrupting your children's lives to a great extent simply because you will be moving into separate households. Now, your kids will have to pack their bags and move every week or so in order to spend time with the other parent.

What if you could be the ones packing your bags? It's a real possibility. It's called "bird nesting," and it involves the parents taking turns in the family home where the kids live full time. The arrangement has gotten some mainstream attention after being featured in the new ABC comedy "Splitting Up Together."

Are your pets property to be divided in a divorce?

It's a serious question. Traditionally, Fido and Whiskers have been viewed by the courts as nothing more than property that must be divided equitably in divorce. As more people come to believe that their pets are part of the family, however, the more contentious the issue has become.

"I have clients who have worked together to divide million-dollar assets, but they can't agree to a settlement regarding their family dog," said one Michigan divorce lawyer interviewed by the USA TODAY network. "The intensity people can invest in a pet is phenomenal, because they view it as a member of the family."

What is 'free range parenting'?

The state of Utah just passed a first-of-its-kind law formally legalizing so-called "free range parenting." This is a parenting theory espousing the idea that kids should be allowed to spend a great deal of time away from their parents and interacting with the world.

It is the opposite of "helicopter" parenting, where parents are rarely out of their children's presence and who hover over every decision a child makes. Free range parenting encourages kids to walk to school, go to parks with friends, and play without direct supervision.

After divorce, can family courts say whether kids play football?

Football is a way of life for many families in Michigan. However, there is growing evidence that repeated concussions can cause serious brain injuries, and that such injuries may be more severe among those who begin playing tackle football before age 12. Even for those who begin playing as teenagers, multiple concussions may cause lifelong damage to the brain.

Parents have the right to consider the evidence and weigh the risks vs. the benefits of their children playing contact sports. But what happens when the parents disagree?

Are you sure your marriage is over?

Though you might be frustrated and unhappy in your marriage, there may be some issues that have you wondering if it might be better for you to stay together rather than file for divorce. One of these, changes to the way spousal support will be taxed, may have you considering other options. The changes make spousal support tax-deductible for the recipient and taxable income for the payer. 

Divorce is one life decision that could have a significant and ongoing impact on your finances and post-divorce life. The wrong moves could cost you big financially and affect you for a very long time. Here are some questions to ponder about your relationship before separating and filing for divorce

How much child support was Michigan 'deadbeat' expected to pay?

A Michigan man, one of the United States' most wanted child support "deadbeats" has just been caught in Calgary, Alberta. Joseph Stroup, who was living in Alberta under the assumed name "Joop Cousteau," was caught by a Calgary restaurant owner when he seemed to be running a personal injury scam.

According to Global News Radio, Stroup had been a regular at the Bears Den Restaurant for several months when he ordered a cherry Coke with eight maraschino cherries. Shortly afterward, he showed the restaurant owner a cherry pit and complained that he had broken his dental work.

What is a qualified domestic relations order?

If you or your spouse has a pension, 401(k) plan or IRA, you will need to divide them in the event of a divorce. You can agree to divide these as part of your settlement, or a judge can divide them if your divorce goes to trial. In order for the division to be binding on the plans, however, you will need a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).

A QDRO (pronounced "quadro") is an order by the court instructing your retirement plan administrator or custodian to divide the account without creating a taxable event. That is to say, most retirement accounts are tax deferred, meaning that you don't pay taxes until you begin withdrawing money at retirement. If you withdraw the money before you reach retirement age (59-1/2), you have to pay all the taxes that were deferred.

Are dads spending enough time with their children?

In most cases, Michigan law officially favors child custody and parenting arrangements that promote a strong bond with both parents. That doesn't mean that every child custody and parenting order will split the child's time 50/50 between the parents, as there are often other factors to take into consideration. Still, children are generally better off spending lots of time with each parent.

It's interesting, therefore, that a recent study by the Pew Research Center found that about 63 percent of American fathers say they spend too little time with their children. Of those dads, 62 percent cited work obligations as the main reason why. Another 20 percent, however, said the reason was that they don't live with their kids full time. In other words, a substantial number of unmarried and divorced fathers feel they don't get enough time with their children.

Is your spouse hiding assets in your divorce?

Whether you settle or go to trial, a divorce is a legal proceeding. That means that each party has a legal duty to honestly and fully disclose all information material to the case. That includes being honest about your assets and debts. Unfortunately, as many as a third of U.S. adults who have combined assets with a spouse or partner admit they have been dishonest about money.

All-too-often, that carries through to financial disclosures during a divorce. It's all too common for a divorcing spouse to under-report income, overstate debts, inflate expenses or hide or undervalue marital property that the other spouse is not aware of. It occurs in all types of divorces, but it is especially pernicious in high-asset divorces.

Going to divorce court? What 9 mistakes could cost you the most?

Many divorces are settled, but if you can't resolve all of your issues between yourselves, you can have a judge resolve them for you. If you do go to trial, preparation and etiquette are key. Their lack could cost you in terms of credibility and even affect your settlement.

Here are nine tips to keep in mind:

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Testimonials
  • Understanding the legalities of the divorce process Laura has walked me through the maze of this legal system educating me so that I understand the divorce process. She has fought for me an every issue that I have had concerns with and given me excellent advice when I needed it. I am very satisfied with the direction and results. - Anonymous
  • The Best Family Lawyer in MI My cousin who owns his own law firm in Toronto found Amy for me as the best female lawyer in MI. It turned out to be very true. She helped me through one of the hardest times of my life, not only just legally but emotionally through a divorce... - Graeme
  • Laura Eisenberg -Attorney Without a doubt, one of the most professional people I have ever dealt with. Laura is an over-communicator with a complete skill set. She was able to manage my expectations while helping me to feel confident in the decisions we were making. The results were great and the client-lawyer relationship was exceptional.- Jeff
  • Excellent, Supportive, Knowledgeable, Strong Amy is the best type of lawyer one could want - she is tough when needed, extremely knowledgeable about her field, confident, supportive, straightforward, reliable and cognizant of keeping financial commitments at a reasonable level. Amy handled my divorce and was not only excellent in her delivery of services, but...- Jordana
  • Highly Recommended - Caring, Tough, Affordable Lawyer Laura Eisenberg was 100% on my side during my divorce and actually got it pushed through ahead of schedule because of her good relationship with the Oakland County judge! She got me everything I wanted and also worked out the custody, child support and the property settlement that I wanted. - Katherine
  • Very Skilled & Experienced Lawyer Laura helped me through a very difficult divorce situation. I was completely taken by surprise when my spouse filed divorce papers, and was worried about the children, the house, child support, etc. A friend recommended Laura because she had really helped her with her divorce. - Anonymous
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Responding to our clients' needs is our first priority at Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC. Whether you are considering divorce and have questions about your rights, or you are seeking custody of your child, our Oakland County family law attorneys are here to help you.

We invite you to contact Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC, at 248-358-8880 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your divorce or other family law matters. In addition to our regular business hours, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

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Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC
600 South Adams Road Suite 100
Birmingham, MI 48009

Phone: 248-358-8880
Birmingham Family Law Office

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