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Bloomfield Family Law Blog

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.

New tax law could hurt divorced people

As residents in Michigan look ahead to the impending new calendar year, there are likely many changes to prepare for. Some of these changes may be things people initiate and choose themselves and other changes might be imposed on them. One of the changes that people have no control over is the implementation of the new tax law, set to take effect on January 1, 2019. Many things will factor into whether or not the changes to the tax code are considered positive by taxpayers. One of those things pertains to spousal support payments.

Paying alimony every month to one's former spouse is not something people be happy about but up until now, the person who has been ordered to do so has at least been able to deduct the money paid from their federal income tax return. This ability to get a tax break in exchange for paying spousal support may well have facilitated the agreement to pay alimony in many divorces.

Dealing with the issue of jurisdiction

For many divorcees, moving away from Farmington Hills may seem to be an attractive option. Doing so may help to ease any tension that still exists between them and their ex-spouses. Given that research data shared by Psychology Today shows that 16 percent of Americans move every year (with 43 percent of those completely leaving the metropolitan areas they currently reside in), it may not be unreasonable to assume that parental relocation is an issue that many divorced couples will eventually face. When one parent relocates with the kids, the question of which family court has jurisdiction over their custody case will almost certainly come up. 

Typically, the state that can claim to be a child's "home state" is the one that will have jurisdiction. Per the Michigan Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the state defines "home state" as being the one in which a child has been living with a parent (or guardian) for at least six months prior to the commencement of custody proceedings. The home state of newborns that are less than six months old is the one in which they have lived from birth. If the law designates Michigan as a child's home state, then the local family court has jurisdiction (this holds true even if a child has moved out of state within the last six months, yet one parent continues to live here). 

Ways to prepare for child support modification

It can be a crushing blow to receive a pink slip in Michigan, and even more so while you are paying child support to a divorced spouse. With your major source of income gone until you find a new job, you may have to seek a modification in your child support agreement. But to do so, you should establish your current financial status in a few important ways.

First, as FindLaw points out, you must show that your status has changed following the establishment of the current child support agreement. Your change in circumstances cannot have occurred before the court had entered the present agreement that dictates how much you should pay your ex. So make sure that any documentation on your current circumstances has been properly dated.

How can the Hague Convention help you get your kids back?

If you are a divorced Michigan parent whose foreign-born ex-spouse takes your children overseas for a visit and fails to return them, this obviously is a serious situation. Unfortunately, parental abduction represents a not uncommon phenomenon, and when the abduction is to a foreign country, it makes for an even more serious and complicated situation.

Fortunately, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may offer you the help you need to get your kids back. As explained by the The Hague Conference on Private International Law, 98 countries, including the United States, signed this international treaty in 1980. In it, the countries agreed to recognize, respect and adhere to each other’s child custody laws. They also agreed to work together to return any internationally abducted child to his or her “habitual residence,” that is, the country in which the child normally resides, as expeditiously as possible.

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