Eisenberg, Middleditch & Spilman, PLLC

Birmingham, Michigan, Family Law Blog

Child custody battle keeps Victoria Azarenka out of championship

Many Michigan parents understand what it's like to disagree with each other regarding the care and raising of their children. In situations of divorce, or where parents were never married to start, child custody issues can turn into raging battles that take weeks or months (even years) to resolve. Sometimes, such circumstances drastically affect the lifestyle of one parent or the other.

Tennis superstar, Victoria Azarenka was recently gearing up for this year's U.S. Open. She has since learned that her current child custody problems with her former boyfriend are going to keep her from competing. It seems a judge from the West Coast (where her ex-boyfriend filed custody papers) informed Azarenka that she is not allowed to take her son out of the court's jurisdiction.

Do you know the consequences of hiding assets?

Divorce is one situation in Metro Detroit where some spouses hide assets to cheat their partners out of their share of the marital property. Many of them are not aware of how risky this type of behavior is. They may have motivation to hide information about assets and finances because of a sense of entitlement and negative feelings where they want to punish their partners. No matter their reasons for doing so, the temptation to keep more of the marital pot for themselves may be too much for them to ignore. 

Here is a brief overview of the consequences that hiding assets can bring.

Divorce of high net worth couples need not be costly

For high-earning couples, or those with significant assets, ending a marriage can be a costly process. However, as for any divorce in Michigan, with proper planning and professional guidance, even a high net worth divorce can be navigated without breaking the bank. In most cases, if one spouse accumulated substantial assets before the wedding, there will likely be a prenuptial agreement. However, dividing property that the couple gathered during the marriage could be more challenging.

If property division becomes confusing and contentious, it may be wise to list all assets methodically. That includes anything with a value such as properties, businesses, homes, boats and cars along with furniture, computers, artwork, guns, collectibles and jewelry. Make sure no asset is forgotten and dig a bit deeper to unearth those that may be hidden by the other party. The next step would be to separate personal and marital property before negotiations about the division of marital property can start.

Child custody issues: Where should the children live?

What is best for the child? This is perhaps one of the most important questions that must be answered during the divorce process when Michigan parents decide to divorce. As such, it is the essential component of the child custody agreement.

In most cases, the child lives with one parent and then either visits or moves to the other parent's home on a regular basis. However, some families are taking a different approach, called nesting. With nesting, the children remain stable and the parents move in and out of the family home.

3 mistakes to avoid in a high-net divorce

If you are divorcing your partner and there are valuable assets at stake, you should approach the situation carefully. Michigan divorces are not always easy. When there are high-net assets involved, deciding who gets what can get complicated.

You may be under a lot of stress and feel emotional about the changes you are experiencing because of your situation. It is important for you to stay calm and rational so you can make the right decisions and avoid problems that can affect your divorce outcome and tax situation. Take some time to learn about some common mistakes that often occur in high-net divorces to avoid making them. 

Prison possible in failure to pay almost $30,000 in child support

Food, clothes, mortgage – it all adds up. Then, when one adds on the cost of school supplies and other necessities this time of year, the cost of raising a child appears to increase exponentially. Michigan courts have long recognized the need for both parents to bear financial responsibility for their children. As such, when parents divorce, it is likely that one parent will be responsible for making child support payments.

Unfortunately, it appears that not all parents share this vision. In fact, in some instances, the non-custodial parent fails to make required payments. When this happens, it is often the child that loses out and does not receive the benefits that come with regular child support.

Child custody plans are not easy when one parent won't cooperate

Co-parenting with a disagreeable ex-spouse can make matters difficult, if not impossible. Trying to reach child custody agreements can be frustrating if one spouse cannot behave respectfully or refuses to compromise. Michigan parents may be forced to deal with such parenting partners by declining to continue a discussion once it begins to deteriorate into an argument. They may also determine to avoid any topics that incite tempers. However, while parental disagreements may be frustrating, there may be other matters that are more serious.

If one parent speaks negatively about the other to the children, this often creates confusion for the children. A former spouse who places the children in the middle of his or her disputes with the other parent may not be acting in the best interests of the child. If the behavior of the other parent does not change, a counselor or mediator may need to intervene.

Parenting time an important part of child custody agreement

Children are an important consideration in a divorce. When the Michigan couple decides that the marriage cannot be salvaged, they still each have a responsibility to their children. As part of the divorce decree, child custody details are stated so that the children's best interest are protected.

One aspect of the child custody arrangement is parenting time. Depending upon the relationship of the parents, the parents can work together to come up with a reasonable parenting schedule. This is a flexible schedule in which the parents work out the specific details such as date, time and any other issues that need to be considered. This arrangements gives the parents the freedom to work together rather than follow a rigid schedule that might not fit the individuals' or a child's lifestyle.

More to property division than just agreeing on who gets what

Saving money is a good idea in many instances. Many Michigan couples use coupons, try to cut expenses and look for the best deals on their purchases. However, when it comes to divorce, saving money by attempting to do it themselves may actually cost them more in the end. Although they may agree on property division details, there can be specifics that are not considered but still end up proving costly.

As a part of the property division process, couples will need to review both their assets and their liabilities. Then a decision as to which party will receive which assets is made. Finally, decisions regarding which party will be responsible for which debt will need to be made. How these assets and liabilities are divided can have a tremendous impact on each individual.

Financial aspects of property division

The writing is on the wall and both individuals know that the marriage will probably not last much longer. Once reality sets in, it is time to start thinking about one's financial future and how the property division process can have a lasting impact. For many Michigan couples, separating the financial aspects of the marriage can be a challenge.

Credit card and consumer loan debt is one aspect that will need to be addressed. A review of credit bureau reports can help one determine the exact status of each account. Once this has been determined, the couple needs to decide if they are going to close the account and pay it off, close the account and pay it off later or simply leave the account open. It is important to identify exactly how much is owed and who owns the account; just because both individuals can use the account does not mean that both individuals are considered financially responsible by the lending institution. Even if the courts order both parties responsible for the amount due, the lender may not, depending upon how the account was originally set up.


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