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Brighton Family Law Blog

Charged with drug possession? Your criminal defense matters

Facing a simple drug possession charge may not seem like that big of a deal. Really, though, this is a criminal offense that can have some serious consequences that can haunt you for life. If you are facing a drug possession charge in Michigan, your criminal defense matters.

Anyone who is accused of carrying drugs for personal use could face misdemeanor or felony charges. It all depends on the type of drug allegedly found and the amount supposedly in your possession. The possession of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines are all considered felony-level crimes under state laws -- regardless of the amount. The possession of marijuana or prescription drugs can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.

Personal injury suits can be tricky for motorcyclists

For some people in Michigan, there is no greater feeling than riding astride a motorcycle. Motorcyclists usually value this experience greatly and take necessary safety measures to protect themselves on the road. Unfortunately, other drivers may not. Motorcyclists are usually at risk for serious personal injury from negligent drivers of larger passenger vehicles.

If you ride a motorcycle, you are likely already aware of the unfair prejudices that motorcyclists face. Other drivers often assume that motorcycle operators always speed or engage in reckless driving behavior, even though most maintain safe speeds and follow the rules of the road. Because of this, other drivers may act aggressively around motorcyclists, refusing to share the road safely and increasing the likelihood of an accident.

New tax plan has family law impact

A sweeping new tax overhaul may affect future divorce proceedings and will change the way individuals approach spousal support payments. Individuals interested in family law matters in Michigan may benefit by gaining an understanding of the new tax treatment of alimony payments. The changes have supporters as well as critics. 

Under current law, alimony payments are tax-deductible for the person who pays. The person who receives the payment is obligated to claim the funds as income, and it is taxable. Under the new changes, the payments are no longer deductible for divorce judgments entered after 2018. Individuals currently in the divorce process will not be affected by the new law as long as the process is finalized before 2019. 

Is walking a safe alternative to driving for the elderly?

As many people age, they decide the time has come to curtail their driving or to stop driving altogether. They attribute this to many factors such as slowed reaction time and decreased visual keenness.

Having robust alternatives to driving makes this choice much easier. For example, if you live in an area with excellent public transportation, you may decide that it is really no hardship to stop driving. Similarly, if the public transportation is not great but it is easy to get around via walking, you may decide that walking is a completely safe alternative to driving. The reality is that, yes it can be safer for you to walk than drive, but the situation is likely to be nuanced.

Changes in Michigan family law could affect child custody

Historically, women took over the main role of parenting after divorce while fathers were relegated to a couple of weekends every month. While that might have been appropriate for past generations, Michigan family law may be evolving to keep up with modern families. Lawmakers are currently reviewing a bill that would encourage parents to treat 50/50 custody as the first option for child custody.

Joint physical custody is rapidly becoming normalized across the United States, and many states now actively consider the important role that fathers play in bringing up their children. Ongoing research into the effect child custody has on children shows that kids benefit greatly from having equal access to their fathers after divorce. Children in shared custody arrangements typically perform better in school, have higher self-esteem and seem to do better overall than their peers in sole custody agreements. These results are considerably different than the past stance that women were inherently better caregivers.

Family law documents give insight into Casey Affleck's divorce

Whether a person should be pay alimony to an ex-spouse is not always clear. Although many people in Michigan are under the impression that one person will always have to pay another spousal support after a divorce, this is simply not the case. Family law can be complex, and judges typically take the time to understand all of the factors -- including the length of the marriage and each person's income -- before ordering spousal support payments.

Some Casey Affleck fans might be surprised to learn that he was not ordered to pay spousal support to his ex, Summer Phoenix. The couple was married for 10 years before they separated in Nov. 15, and their divorce was only recently finalized. Recent documents indicate that Affleck only makes approximately $400,000 annually, which might seem like a substantial amount to most, but is not much compared to his Hollywood peers. Phoenix reported an annual income of $24,000.

Spousal support an important part of Michigan family law

Divorce can be a financially stressful time for everyone involved. Between asset division, changing household incomes and more, your financial security may become understandably complicated. Spousal support is a key aspect of Michigan family law matters that helps protect you or your spouse in the event of a divorce.

Also called alimony, spousal support has perhaps been unfairly painted by popular movies and TV shows. Being ordered to pay spousal support is often painted as "losing" rather than as an important part of the divorce process. If you are ordered to pay, it is likely because you earned significantly more than your ex over the course of the marriage, or were perhaps the sole earner. Any of the following may be taken into account:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The income and earning potential of each person
  • Each spouses' age
  • Future expenses

Family law and inheritance -- protect yourself in divorce

Parents often think long and hard about the best inheritances to leave to their children. The last thing on their mind might be that their child's inheritance could be compromised during a divorce. For the most part, Michigan family law treats inheritances as separate property that is not to be included during asset division. However, individuals should still take precautions to ensure that they do not inadvertently jeopardize their inheritance.

Keeping inheritances separate is key to maintaining it as separate, personal property that is not subject to asset division. When an inheritance is paid out, heirs should avoid depositing the funds into a joint bank account, commingling the funds and using them for marital expenses. Doing so causes an inheritance to become marital property, and in the event of a divorce, an ex could be entitled to an equitable share.

How even a simple will is better than nothing

There are many reasons that people in Michigan decide not to draft wills. Perhaps they think they do not have enough money or assets to make it worthwhile. Instead, they tell family members of their intentions (for example, Joe gets the wooden toys, and Helen gets the dolls). Or maybe they have taken a look at the state's laws for intestacy succession, and these laws more or less line up with what their will would say anyway.

However, if you do not create a will, it can lead to dire consequences. Even the simplest of wills can avoid outcomes such as these listed below.

Make sure your prenup complies with Michigan family law

From a young age, many people in Michigan already have an idea of what they want their marriage to be like. However, these plans usually have more to do with flowers, music and locations than something much more important -- financial security. Prenuptial agreements are an invaluable part of family law that allows individuals to protect their personal assets in the event that a marriage does not last.

Popular media, TV shows and movies tend to unfairly portray people who ask for prenuptial agreements as callous or uncaring. In reality, prenups offer significant protections for both parties and can often make the divorce process far easier. These agreements are especially helpful for:

  • Retirees
  • Individuals with children
  • Business owners
  • Couples with high-earning jobs

Law Offices of Harris & Literski
123 Brighton Lake Road, Suite 205
Brighton, MI 48116

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Phone: 810-626-3281
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