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Rochester Law Blog

Spendthrift provision and its uses

People in Michigan who are worried their beneficiaries will waste their inheritances may choose to add a spendthrift provision to their trusts. This provision has other uses as well, and it is a powerful way to manage assets and ensure they will be protected long after the owner has passed.

According to the Huffington Post, there are numerous examples of when a spendthrift trust may be a smart decision. These include:

  • A beneficiary may not know how to manage a large amount of money and will waste it on frivolous and expensive items
  • An heir has a drug or alcohol addiction and the owner does not want the trust payments to be used towards their habit
  • A provision may protect certain assets in the event of a divorce, although this is not necessarily the case in regard to child support or alimony payments
  • Assets may be protected in the case of bankruptcy as long as the trust formation is not seen as fraud

Healthy co-parenting after a divorce

Divorce is challenging for Michigan couples, but sometimes they are so focused on their own needs and grief they forget about their children's best interests. Child custody is a major decision in the divorce process, and the healthiest outcomes are those in which the parents take a co-parenting approach to keep the negative effects to a minimum.

According to Psychology Today, parents are encouraged to organize schedules by designing a co-parenting plan. Based on what is best for the child, this plan outlines what days each parent has physical custody, the activities of the child, how information will be exchanged, how decisions about the child will be determined and how the parents will resolve disputes. The plan should be in written form and disbursed to all family members so everyone is on the same page.

Should you have a revocable trust?

People in Michigan who are looking to manage their assets may want to consider a revocable trust. Also known as a living trust, this is a popular tool people use for estate planning. In addition to a will, a trust helps many protect their money while they are still alive as well as after they have passed away. While a living trust is a good choice for many, people should also consider its downfalls before making a decision.

According to the American Bar Association, the owner of the trust designates beneficiaries of the assets and a trustee to administer the funds either after the owner's death or if they become incapacitated for another reason. One of the benefits of having this type of trust is it erases the need for probate, which can be beneficial for those who have a more complex estate and want assets distributed privately and easily. Another benefit is it can be revoked or modified by the owner at any time. 

Apps that may make your post-divorce life easier

You may have heard the phrase, “There is an app for that.” Ingenious techies continue to work on developing new apps for your mobile phone that assist with all sorts of issues, and you can even find one to help you cope with life after divorce.

Here are four apps that support the new look of family relationships and help you keep your sanity in the post-divorce world:

Factors in spousal support approval

Couples going through a divorce in Michigan should be aware of how alimony is determined. Not all situations warrant financial support for the wife or husband, and even if it is granted it may only be temporary.

According to FindLaw, the main reason spousal support may be granted is due to economic differences. If one spouse earned significantly less than the other, or if one left a career to raise a family, the other spouse may be required to provide ongoing income to either help the other gain job skills or to support a specific standard of living. While child support is determined by a specific set of guidelines, a variety of issues play into the awarding of spousal support, if it is granted at all.

What can you do if you lose all custody of your child?

There are few feelings more heartbreaking than fighting for custody of your child in Michigan courts and losing. Rather than face the prospect of never being part of your child's growth and development, do you have options to fight and possibly overturn a judgment denying you custody or visitation rights?

According to the Michigan Court of Appeals, you have the right to file a claim of appeal within 42 days of the case decision for a criminal case, and within 21 days for a civil case. First you must determine if you have a right to appeal by reviewing the requirements for appeal in the court that handed down the decision. If you are within your rights to appeal, initiating is a simple matter of submitting the appropriate paperwork within the designated period of time, including the official claim of appeal form and a copy of the judgment you are appealing.

Changing your beneficiaries may mean changing your will

If you have already prepared your will, you probably think that part of your job is over, so you go on to something else, believing there is no reason to think about things like wills anymore.

Not so fast. Sooner or later, you will probably find that you should add, remove or replace one or more beneficiaries to your will with someone else.

Conversations about divorce during the holidays

You might have recently attended a family celebration during Thanksgiving, or you could be planning on seeing your loved ones during Christmas in a matter of weeks. During the holidays, various stressors can arise and you may have a number of topics to discuss with those in your family. However, this can be particularly true for those who are in the middle of separating from their spouse or have already divorced. For example, your relatives might ask you why your spouse is not present or question you about rumors they have heard.

We know how difficult it can be to work through these questions and situations, in some instances. Whether you are unsure about how certain aspects of your divorce will turn out, such as a custody dispute, or simply feel that these questions violate your privacy, it is important to stand up for yourself if you feel uncomfortable. Moreover, you should be prepared. Not only can preparation help you answer questions your loved ones pose, but it may also put you in a better position to handle your case in the courtroom.

Tips for dealing with a high conflict divorce

Couples who are going through a high conflict divorce in Michigan may have an easier time if they are more prepared for what to expect. Any divorce is difficult, but dealing with intense emotions and a non-negotiating spouse can inflate the challenges along the way.

The Huffington Post recommends treating the process like a hostage negotiation. In fact, mediation is sometimes the best way to resolve a divorce because the mediator helps keep things civil. Each partner is encouraged to treat each other with respect, stay calm and use active listening skills. The divorce mediator can keep emotions in check and guide the couple through tough topics such as child custody.

Child custody and the holidays

For many families, Thanksgiving and Christmas are joyous times when everyone gets together to celebrate family and friends. For divorced couples in Michigan, however, the holidays can be a time of stress and conflict. Dividing up custody time can be hard to decide, but planning ahead can make things go much more smoothly for the children.

If this is the first holiday season after the divorce, it can be challenging to split time fairly between the two parents, and there can be a lot of grief for all parties involved. According to Huffington Post, there are usually two different ways to handle co-parenting during the holidays. One is to split time between each parent for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. This can be a viable option for those who live in the same city and are able to have healthy discussions around what works best for everyone involved. A more common method is to alternate years. This tends to be favored by the legal system, as it is the easiest to figure out.

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Rochester, MI 48307

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