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Fowlerville Michigan Family Law Blog

Steps involved in estate administration and probate

Very few people in Michigan pass away after having resolved all of their financial issues. In most cases, they leave behind bills to pay, taxes and perhaps other debt. Additionally, they may have assets, the documentation of which might be scattered in various places. Estate administration and probate are essential for bringing those issues to closure. While some may think probate is something to avoid, in many circumstances, it is necessary to bring a fair resolution to one's unfinished business.

The first step in probate is to confirm that the deceased's will is authentic and valid, if a will exists. A probate judge will appoint someone to represent the estate and to see the process through to its conclusion. The deceased may have designated someone in his or her will to take on the role of executor. This person's primary duty will be to protect the assets throughout probate and to distribute them appropriately after all debts have been paid.

Can I modify a child custody or support order?

Many Michigan parents find that, after their divorce finalizes, they strongly disagree with their child support or custody arrangements. In some cases, it may be a support order than a parent cannot sustain on their current income, or may be a custody arrangement that does not practically fit with the parent's life circumstances.

There are a number of legitimate grounds to petition for a modification to a child custody arrangement or a child support order, but it is important to have a firm grasp on the perspective of the court before attempting to modify such an order.

Child custody during summer takes planning

If a Michigan parent was disorganized before a divorce, finding that sense of organization will be crucial after the divorce, especially if the couple has children. When school is out, child custody arrangements may drastically change. When it comes to scheduling vacations, last minute decisions may not go over well.

Planning ahead for summer activities is an important part of a parenting plan since most orders set deadlines for notifying co-parents of vacation plans. Further, a parent intending to travel out of the country with the children may find there are legal steps to take first, including receiving notarized permission from a co-parent. Organizing and packing for children includes proof of health insurance, immunizations and any medications.

Criminal defense can protect the rights of accused re drug crimes

Drug charges sometimes result from the violation of the civil rights of the accused. Law enforcement, in their zeal to rid the streets of potentially deadly drugs, may overstep their boundaries, using entrapment, illegal searches or other questionable tactics to achieve their goals. For this reason, those who are accused of drug crimes, even infractions or misdemeanors, would do well to protect their rights with the help of a criminal defense attorney.

An undercover Michigan police officer claimed to have seen a man possibly selling heroin from the passenger side of a vehicle. The officer then pursued the vehicle, but the driver allegedly attempted to flee. When the driver stopped the car after a short distance, both occupants exited the vehicle and ran. Police quickly apprehended the two men.

You may face many types of alimony

When you and your spouse divorce, and you were the primary income earner, you may face several types of alimony. When we talk about alimony in casual conversation, we often discuss it as one, great big monolithic thing. However, "alimony" and "spousal support" are broad terms that describe several different ways that one spouse may give money to the other in a number of different arrangements.

If you anticipate some kind of alimony playing into your divorce, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the various forms you may encounter as you navigate the process.

Getting finances in order before a divorce

Many people in Michigan understand the importance of planning ahead for a wedding, but few may realize the potentially devastating consequences of failing to plan when a marriage is ending. While divorce is usually a complicated and emotional matter, it may be even more so for those who have been married long enough for their finances to become entangled. When this is the case, careful preparation may mean a more positive financial future.

If a couple does not already keep track of spending, the hint of divorce may provide the incentive to do so. Not only will this help one anticipate a post-divorce budget, but it will provide information for the court when the time comes to divide assets and determine support amounts. Tracking spending should include daily expenses like bills and groceries, as well as spending for household repairs and holidays.

Weiner's guilty plea may harm his bid for child custody

It seems as though former congressman Anthony Weiner can't catch a break. After his public disgrace when the press revealed that he had carried on cyber affairs with several women, he was then accused of texting lewd messages to a 15-year-old girl. Weiner's wife, U.S. presidential candidate Hilary Clinton aid Huma Abedin, has filed for divorce months after her husband's scandal broke. Many in Michigan may be wondering how Weiner's actions will affect his chances for child custody.

Recently, a tearful 52-year-old Weiner confessed in criminal court to his role in the cybersex relationship with the high school student. Within hours, his wife of six years filed for divorce. Family law advocates say that, while his confession may have allowed him to plead for a reduced term in federal prison, it may have damaged his chances for custody rights for the couple's 5-year-old son.

Wills and trusts must be signed in moments of mental clarity

It may be difficult to keep track of the number of times a person signs on the dotted line in his or her lifetime. Buying a house, renewing a driver's license, getting married or using a credit card all require a signature. In most cases, a person's soundness of mind is assumed as he or she signs. However, when it comes to estate planning documents like health care directives, powers of attorney, wills and trusts, there are definite guidelines in place for determining someone's mental clarity.

Testamentary capacity is essential if a will or other estate planning document is to be considered valid. In fact, if someone questions whether the signer understood what he or she was agreeing to, there may be cause for a legal dispute. Those signing wills in Michigan must be aware of what a will is and that the will authorizes the distribution of their property. Signers must also generally understand what they own and who will benefit from the will (for example, family members).

You don’t have to lose your business to divorce

Are you a business owner facing divorce in Michigan? If so, you probably have a lot of questions about whether or not it is possible for you to keep your business intact through the divorce settlement.

The reality of the situation is that, without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, your business probably qualifies as marital property, and therefore may face asset division like the rest of your marital property.

Executor duties through estate administration and probate

The old saying that no good deed goes unpunished may also be true for administrating someone's estate. While it may not be exactly punishment, a person who is chosen to be the executor of a loved one's estate may certainly feel burdened by the responsibility. Estate administration and probate can be challenging and frustrating, and those in Michigan who are chosen for the job should be aware of some of the requirements.

The first sacrifice an estate executor must make is time. Dealing with estate issues, like paying the bills and taxes of the deceased, gathering and valuating assets, and maintaining the property through the probate process, can certainly consume an executor's time. Even if someone is selected to be a co-executor, the two will likely want to spend time together making decisions. Any disagreements with the partner will certainly take even more time to resolve.

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Fax 517-223-8233