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Brighton Family Law Blog

Personal injury: Are motorcyclists at a higher risk of death?

With spring rapidly approaching, some Michigan residents might be getting ready to bring their motorcycles out of storage and back on the road. While driving a motorcycle can be an exhilarating and freeing experience, it can also be dangerous. Here are just a few ways in which the average motorcycle rider might be at risk for a personal injury.

Drivers of larger motor vehicles are often cautioned to keep an eye out for motorcycles, and for good reason. Motorcycles are much smaller than the average passenger vehicle, making them harder to spot in even the best of conditions. If a driver is not paying attention, he or she may easily overlook a motorcyclist behind another vehicle or during adverse weather conditions. Reduced visibility might be on reason that 66 percent of motorcycle accidents involve another driver violating a motorcyclist's right of way.

How does family law handle property division during divorce?

Property is not just a collection of random things that a person owns. For many people in Michigan, property has significant emotional and financial value. For instance, home is a place where family memories were created, but it may also be a financial investment. Dealing with these things during a divorce can be overwhelming for even the most level-headed person. Here are a few things to keep in mind when approaching this family law issue.

One of the first things to understand is how property is divided. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that property will not necessarily be cut neatly in half. Instead, the split will be whatever is deemed most fair. For some this could end up resembling close to an equal split, while dividing things between two-thirds and one-third might be more appropriate for others. Things like income during the course of the marriage, as well as the length of the marriage, could affect what is considered equitable.

Will my business survive these family law proceedings?

Michigan entrepreneurs and business owners put an enormous amount of time, work and effort into their businesses. But what happens when a business owner divorces or goes through a significant family law event? While most people do not want to short their ex-spouse on a fair share of the assets, business owners do not want everything they have worked for to fall apart. This does not have to be the case.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are often a good idea for business owners. These documents generally afford the same protections with the main difference being whether they were signed before or after getting married. Business owners can use these contracts to outline that their business is their own, separate property and as such will not be divided during divorce. Addressing added value after the start of the marriage is also smart, and many choose to limit how much their spouse is entitled to.

Family law: Don't forget about Social Security benefits

Despite being emotionally prepared to file for divorce, many people in Michigan delay filing for divorce because they feel as if they are not financially ready. This effect might be especially pronounced among Baby Boomers and those either close to or in retirement. Many are justifiably concerned about their financial security during retirement and the implications of splitting their retirement assets during divorce. In family law, not everyone understands that drawing Social Security benefits based on an ex-spouse's work history is possible.

When planning for retirement, many people take predicted future Social Security benefits into account. For married couples, these benefits account for 48 percent of regular income. Unmarried Americans report that these benefits make up 69 percent of their income during retirement. With Social Security benefits playing such a major role in retirement income, understanding how to access those benefits is essential.

Family law: Is co-parenting right for me?

Co-parenting is a popular trend in child custody, but is it right for everyone? Unlike traditional approaches that give one parent primary custody and the other visitation, this process requires an enormous amount of compromise and negotiations from both parents. Here are a few things that Michigan parents might want to keep in mind when dealing with this difficult family law topic.

This approach involves maintaining a joint parenting effort even after parents are no longer married. For those who went through particularly contentious divorces, the idea of co-parenting might not be a reality. Instead, the process might be better suited for parents who were relatively amicable -- even if not entirely -- through their divorce and are ready to maintain open, healthy lines of communication.

Why you need a will

Writing a will is something that is easy to procrastinate. You may assume you have a long life to live and that you can create your will several years down the road. However, if you die without a will in place, it can cause a lot of complications regarding your assets and beneficiaries. 

Still, you may be skeptical about whether you should make a will right now. Here are some of the main reasons you need a will as soon as possible.

Managing emotions and expectations in family law

Even those who go into divorce with the best of intentions can easily find themselves caught up in their own emotions. From sadness to anger to resentment, divorce can be as much of an emotional process as it is a legal one. While this is normal, letting those emotions run the show is not a good idea. Here are a few family law pitfalls Michigan divorcees should be aware of.

Feeling angry during a divorce is understandable, but it is not advisable to make actions based in anger. This often manifests in fighting over small issues or perceived slights. While it might feel cathartic at the time, this ultimately ends up costing both people more time and money, leaving them less financially secure when everything is said and done.

Alimony is an important part of family law

Securing a strong financial foundation after divorce is essential. Figuring out how to maintain that foundation can be a bit scary, though. Household income might be drastically reduced or, in the case of a spouse who was not employed, completely nonexistent. This can be a scary prospect that even holds some people back from filing for divorce in the first place. However, alimony -- which is an important part of Michigan family law -- can help ease some of these fears.

Alimony is also commonly referred to as spousal support. It is paid from one person to the ex-spouse during and/or after a divorce and is intended to help balance any unfair economic advantages. This is often seen in marriages where one spouse earned significantly more than the other, or when one parent took time off work to focus on raising the couple's children. Support might also help maintain the marital standard of living to which one person had become accustomed.

What does family law say about my inheritance?

The sentiment "what's mine is yours" might be nice in theory, but it can be somewhat more difficult in practice. For instance, what about that inheritance your parents left you? Or a valuable gift from a dear friend? You probably want to hang on to these assets during a divorce, but depending on your situation, this might not be the case. Here is what you should know about how Michigan family law handles these situations.

Your property can fall into one of two categories -- separate or marital. Marital property is anything that belongs to both you and your spouse, and generally includes anything that either of you accumulated during the course of your marriage. Separate property can be things that you owned before tying the knot or specific assets received afterwards. During divorce, you only have to divide marital property.

Teen drivers: A dangerous mix with teen passengers

Teen drivers are vulnerable to dangerous injuries, not only to themselves but also to their passengers and other motorists. As inexperienced drivers, they are often sleep-deprived and media-distracted.

Driving at night is still a challenge, and speeding is always a temptation. When their friends are riding along, teen fatality rates can skyrocket. Several media reports have noted that teen drivers with teen passengers cause vehicle fatality rates to soar.

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Brighton, MI 48116

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