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Bloomfield Family Law Blog

Finding the right motives for relocating during your divorce

As your divorce from your spouse in Michigan progresses, you may find that there are moments when tensions are high and rationality is low. You may be required to take a step back and wait until the storm calms or solicit help from people who can mediate seemingly endless disagreements. At Lisa Stern, Michigan Family Law Attorney, we are committed to helping families reach agreements in as timely a manner as possible. 

One of your first concerns as a newly single person may be to find a place to live that does not require you to be in the same place as your ex. If the two of you have shared children together, this may present a unique challenge as you probably desire to keep the lives of your children as normal as possible. However, moving simply because you want to get as far away from your ex as possible is not always the most effective approach. Before you make the decision to relocate, you should assess the stability of your current lifestyle and the potential of your future. You should also take into account the needs and concerns of your children. 

Can I change the alimony I pay or receive?

Alimony, or spousal support, is a confusing and often controversial topic for residents of Michigan and elsewhere. If you are the one who receives alimony, you may wonder if you can have the amount increased. Along the same lines, if you are the paying ex, you may wish to have the amount you pay reduced or eliminated.

The answers to these questions depend on your personal circumstances, as well as current laws, as LiveAbout explains. When it comes to spousal support modification, the following circumstances will generally apply:

  • You have a significant change in your financial circumstances, such as losing your job, becoming permanently disabled or having an increase in your income.
  • Your prenuptial agreement or divorce agreement includes a clause to periodically adjust alimony for cost of living increases.
  • You have remarried or are cohabitating romantically with another partner.
  • Your alimony order includes an automatic share for an increase in the payor’s earnings (an escalator clause).
  • There is a change in state law that affects alimony payments.

What can I spend my child support money on?

If you are a divorced Michigan parent who receives child support from your children’s other parent, you may have read or heard conflicting reports on how you can spend that money. Some reports insist that you must spend your child support money only for your children’s basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. This, however, is untrue.

FindLaw explains that while of course you should spend part of your child support on your children’s basic necessities, you also are perfectly free to spend it on other things as well.

The impact of parental alienation on a child's well-being

According to Psychology Today, parental alienation syndrome occurs when one parent attempts to turn his or her children against the other parent. Typically, the parent who commits parental alienation is angry at the other parent and takes out his or her frustrations by painting the other parent in a negative light. Michigan courts frown upon parental alienation, as it is not only damaging to children's relationships with their parents but also, it is damaging to their emotional well-being.  

Another article by Psychology Today explains how parental alienation can harm the well-being of children of divorce. Parental alienation often involves a set of strategies that force children to reject their other parent and to create the impression that the other parent is dangerous. These strategies—which may involve limiting contact with the other parent, bad-mouthing the other parent, blaming the other parent for anything and everything and/or telling the children outright lies, such as "Daddy does not love you"—force the children to choose sides and emotionally withdraw from the targeted parent. This emotional rejection of the targeted parent leads to the loss of a loving and capable parent from the child's life.

The future of a marriage after an affair

People may hurt their marital partner accidentally or intentionally in a number of ways. Some examples include verbal abuse and disregarding different challenges that someone may be going through, but many people also cause their spouse a great deal of pain by carrying out an affair. There are different reasons why people cheat, and the impact of an affair can have significant consequences for the future of a relationship. Some couples are able to resolve these issues and move forward in their marriage, while other marriages inevitably come to an end.

If you cheated on your spouse or your marital partner was unfaithful, you may be wondering how to handle the situation and what to do next. If you have kids, this may be an especially challenging situation to find yourself in. It is important to consider the well-being of your children and do what you can to make things easier for them. For some couples, counseling is an option and can help each party move forward in the marriage. However, this is not even an option on the table for some couples, and even when both parties want to move forward with counseling it does not always work.

What can damage your chances of gaining custody?

Michigan parents like you are often put into very precarious situations when dealing with child custody issues. It can get personal quickly when you end up in these battles, and the decisions you make can have a lasting impact on whether or not you are viewed favorably by a judge when it comes time to decide who will get the children.

FindLaw takes a look at whether or not it is alright for you to move out of the house and leave your kids with the other parent, and then attempt to gain custody later in battle. Unfortunately, the short answer to that is: likely not. Though there isn't any way of knowing for sure, it's highly likely that you could damage your chances. Leaving the children behind in any capacity can paint a certain picture for the judge that will preside over your trial.

Is your spouse hiding assets from you?

As a couple in Michigan going through a divorce, asset division could be something of a headache for you. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the divorce process. Not only is the actual division tedious and sometimes full of arguments, but in some cases, your spouse might even be trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Lisa Stern is here to help you by pointing out signs of hidden assets.

In some situations, a spouse might start to hide assets if they know a divorce is imminent. What does hiding assets mean? Essentially, it's any action that is taken which obscures the actual amount of money a person is making or has. This is often done because assets may be divided between spouses, causing a person to lose more if they have more to give. A person with high assets may also be forced to pay higher alimony.

Virtual visitation can keep families close

When you divorced your spouse, you entered into a parental agreement in good faith, promising to visit your children on a regular basis. However, unpredictable circumstances may be drawing you to another state, away from your children in Michigan. The mere fact of your relocation does not invalidate the visitation agreement, and you may wonder how you can continue to fulfill your obligations to your children after your move. We at the office of Lisa Stern understand your concerns. It may be possible for you to honor your parental agreement even after your move, thanks to virtual visitation.

According to FindLaw, only a handful of states currently have virtual visitation laws on the books. However, family courts in a number of states, including Michigan, have ruled in favor of the innovation, deciding that communication with a child via the use of electronic or online technology can serve to satisfy the visitation requirements in a parental agreement in combination with regularly scheduled in-person visits. 

What is involved in divorce discovery?

If you and your spouse are filing for divorce in Michigan, you will have to go through a process of divorce discovery. According to FindLaw, this is a process in which you and your spouse will exchange information documenting your respective personal and financial situations. The discovery process can be formal or informal, but in either case, the court uses the information to make fair decisions in regard to child support, property division and other issues that arise during the divorce process. 

The most important thing to remember about the discovery process is that you must tell the truth. It will only hurt your case if you get caught saying or doing something dishonest. In order to help your attorney represent you to the best of his or her abilities, be sure that you are forthright in telling him or her what the discovery process is likely to uncover; even if it is embarrassing, it is likely to come out sooner or later in the discovery process anyway. 

Does Michigan child support go past the age of eighteen?

The purpose of regular child support is to assist children of divorced or separated parents throughout their upbringing so that they can develop into well functioning and capable adults. Many assume that children no longer receive support upon turning eighteen years old. However, this is not always the case in Michigan.

Child support, in addition to paying for food, clothing and health care expenses, also provides for the basic educational needs of a child. Hopefully, a child of divorced parents can navigate the school years with little trouble. By the time the child becomes a legal adult, he or she should have graduated from school and is ready to proceed with the next phase of life.

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