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Fowlerville Michigan Family Law Blog

Can you modify a child custody agreement if you move?

Even though your divorce has been finalized for some time now and you and your ex have had a smooth ride with the child custody agreement that was arranged, you have been considering relocating to somewhere else. Now, you are wondering whether or not the courts in Michigan will agree to modify the original agreement based off of the merits that you are moving and may no longer be able to abide by the arrangement that was outlined initially. 

Courts are certainly open to modifying court orders based off of a person's circumstances and the reasons for why they are requesting a change. However, you should be aware that this type of approval may take some time and will require you to be forthright in sharing your reasoning for requesting a modification. According to verywellfamily.com, the court will take into consideration several factors before they agree to modify anything. Some of the areas they will look at including the following:

  • The location where you are moving and whether or not continuing the visitation schedule as it is will be possible. 
  • Your personal reasons for moving and whether or not they are in the best interest of your children. 
  • How much of a disruption your move will create for your children and if there are alternative options that would be a better solution. 
  • The degree to which you and your ex are able to communicate effectively and whether your move will make communication more difficult. 

What you can do to gain joint custody

As a parent going through a divorce in Michigan, you should keep in mind that you, your spouse and the court system all want what is in the best interests of your children. Generally speaking, the law presumes that close contact with both parents is in every child's best interest, and we at Gormley and Johnson Law Offices agree.

Many couples are able to resolve their divorce settlements without litigation through a process of negotiation. If this fails, however, the matter will go to court. In either case, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of gaining joint custody of your children.

Divorced parents feud over daughter's remains

Many in Fowlerville often ask when is the ideal age to prepare a will. Unfortunately, there may not be an easy answer to that question. Some (especially teens and young adults) may see no need to prepare a will due to the fact that they do not have significant assets to dispose of. Yet while one of the main purposes of a will is to detail how one wishes their assets and properties to be dispersed amongst their designated beneficiaries, it can also dictate what one wants to be done with their most prized possession: themselves. 

Unfortunately, that apparently was not on the mind of a young Illinois woman when she went to serve as a missionary in Africa. Her trip ultimately ended with her dying from malaria. Now, her parents are feuding over what do with her remains. The couple (who are divorced) reportedly had an agreement in place to split the young woman's ashes. Her father is now alleging that her mother never had any intention of fulfilling that agreement. The woman's remains were sent to her sister, with her mother's half then being buried next to her maternal grandmother. Her mother has since stated that she does not intend to send her father the remaining ashes, as he and woman had not had a close relationship in the years prior to her death. 

Should you get an annulment or a divorce?

If you want to end your marriage, you have two main options in Michigan. You can get a divorce or an annulment. However, you need to be aware that an annulment is not an option for everyone. In fact, it is very limited. According to VeryWell Mind, the court issues an annulment in only rare circumstances. Typically, that would be if the marriage was illegal in some way.

As you know, a divorce is readily available. You just have to go through the court system and follow the proper procedure to end your marriage through divorce. The same is not true of an annulment. You do have to go to court, but the court can tell you that you cannot have one. If the court denies your annulment, you can get a divorce instead.

Parenting plans: Prioritize the children's needs

When parents divorce, it can be extremely difficult on the children. Parents have to be ready to help the kids through the changes that are coming. This isn't going to be an easy transition but there are many things that you can do if you and your children are walking this journey together.

You have to be aware of and attuned to how your children are adjusting so that you can determine how to help them. There are some basic ways to make this happen.

How long does probate take?

If you have a loved one that passes away, you probably want to wrap up his or her estate as quickly as possible. It can be tough to have to deal with the aftermath and the financial aspects of a person's life. Things may feel slow going, especially if the estate has to go through probate. If this is your situation, then you probably wonder just how long it takes to get through the process in a Michigan court.

The answer is not a simple one. According to the State Bar of Michigan, the minimum amount of time for probate is about five months. However, it could take years to move a case through the system. It just depends on the estate.

How can I choose a good executor for my estate?

Designating a person to be the executor of your Michigan estate is a crucial decision, and while the good news is that you can choose almost anyone to be your executor, you still have to narrow down your choices according to important qualities that make a good executor. These characteristics will help ensure that your executor is both competent and ethically sound enough to take on the job of guiding your estate after you pass on.

First, as Farm Bureau Financial Services points out, your executor should make time to perform the duties of the office. Since going through probate or wrapping up the affairs of an estate may take almost a year to finish, your executor cannot be tied down to obligations that could make it difficult, if not impossible, to handle the job. Executor tasks can range from letting beneficiaries know about your wishes, to inventorying your assets, to even putting up a defense of your will in court.

What are some tips for dividing the family farm?

When you own your own business in Michigan, it can make estate planning more difficult. Things may get even tougher if you own a farm. Dividing the family farm can be a very sensitive issue to broach with your loved ones because everyone has a stake in what happens with it. So, as you start your estate planning, here are some tips to keep in mind from NorthernAg.

Make sure that you understand the ownership of your farm. The law may change what your will says upon your death. For example, if you have put your children's names on the deed to the farm, then that takes precedence and they will get the farm when you die even if you wanted it to go to your grandchildren instead.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

Marriage offers a couple a lot of advantages, but it also involves a big commitment and a lot of legal and social implications. Some couples in Michigan do not wish to enter into marriage, perhaps because of personal beliefs or because doing so would be economically disadvantageous. If you and your partner fall into this category but would still like to delineate rights, responsibilities and financial obligations to one another through legal means, you have the option of entering into a cohabitation agreement.

According to FindLaw, a cohabitation agreement may be either express or implied, oral or written, but it is easier for the court to make decisions about a written agreement if need be. Essentially, a cohabitation agreement is a contract between two people who wish to live together that defines the obligations and rights that each partner owes to the other. 

New baby? Remember to set up a guardianship in your estate plan

Having a new baby dramatically changes your life. You now have a tiny human who depends on you for everything. Meeting those needs can be a challenge sometimes. While you might not think that you can add anything else added to your schedule right now, there is one very important consideration you need to remember. You need to get an estate plan set up.

You might think that you don't need to worry about this now since you are young, but the truth is that you never what is going to happen or when. Getting your estate plan together now can help to protect your bundle of joy if something happens to you.

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