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Oakland County Law Blog

Can you divorce for asset-protection reasons in Michigan?

Many divorces occur because the parties grew apart or committed acts that were hard to move past. Financial issues, too, drive many divorces. However, what if you want to remain married, but it may make sense for financial reasons to get divorced? For example, what if one spouse has a high chance of losing assets such as the house, cars and money due to a personal injury lawsuit or another type of lawsuit such as one for malpractice? By getting divorced ahead of any legal actions, the both of you would, in theory, have the peace of mind that at least half of your estate is secure. So, is divorce a realistic asset-protection strategy?

Michigan is a "no-fault" state, which means you do not have to provide a reason to divorce. As long as at least one party wants a divorce, the court will likely grant it. That said, there may be avenues to explore that prove less risky than divorce. Here is a look at why divorce for asset-protection reasons can be dangerous.

Tips For Protecting Your Business & Financial Assets In Divorce

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One pressing concern for professionals such as lawyers, dentists and doctors who have considerable assets is how to safeguard these assets and their business in a divorce. After all, it can be more than frustrating to think about the possibility of your ex ending up with the business you spent years building and cultivating.

When to call in a lawyer on a contract dispute

Contracts form the basis for protecting parties in an agreement. When disputes arise, sometimes the parties are able to resolve the issue through their own discussions. In many situations, however, the parties are unable to find a shared solution to the contract dispute on their own.

In these cases, a business attorney needs to assist in finding a legal resolution to the dispute. There are several typical situations in which a lawyer needs to intervene to assist a client in resolving a contract dispute.

3 things to know about LGBT parenting in Michigan

With the landmark Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal across the United States, same-sex couples now have the same right to marry as heterosexual couples in any state. However, marriage is just one aspect of family life, and each state governs many other aspects of family law differently.

In Michigan, LGBT parents do not always have the same rights under state law as heterosexual couples. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples who wish to become parents or are already parenting, it is important to understand aspects of how the law governs their status. Here are three basics to keep in mind.

What is the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction?

If you are a Michigan parent married to or divorced from a foreign national, you may worry about the possibility of your children’s other parent taking them overseas for a visit and refusing to return them. Such international parental abduction cases are not all that uncommon, especially when the parent has strong family ties to people in the foreign country.

In the event you and your children become the victims of this form of kidnapping, you may be able to get help via the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This Convention came about in 1980 when the Hague Conference on Private International Law drafted this treaty in an attempt to get all 98 countries that signed it, of which the United States is one, on the same page with regard to their own laws and also their commitment to recognize, respect and abide by the laws of all the other countries.

#MeToo: Ending Sexual Harassment in Michigan Workplaces

iStock-916049464.jpgFor far too long, employees suffered from sexual harassment in silence, afraid to come forward due to fears of increased harassment or retaliation. The events of the last year, spurred on by the #MeToo hashtag on social media, have taken the lid off of the sordid happenings at companies and institutions across the nation.

From Hollywood studios and casinos to Fortune 500 corporations, women are stepping out of the shadows to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination.

How do you co-parent when your ex is a narcissist?

Being married to a narcissist was a living nightmare. You may be relieved to finally be free of him or her, but you still have to share the parenting with your ex. Unfortunately, narcissists often continue to make life difficult for their exes for as long as they maintain contact with them. You and other Michigan parents who are divorced from narcissists might wonder if it is possible to co-parent.

The answer is yes, but it is rarely easy. This does not mean that you have the luxury of cutting off your ex if he or she has visitation rights. Psychology Today has provided the following tips on getting through the parenting years with a narcissistic ex-spouse:

  • Understand that narcissists thrive on drama and contention. Your ex will try to look like the good guy, while painting you as the crazy or bad parent. If you realize this, you may avoid letting it get under your skin.
  • Refrain from arguing with your ex in front of your children, or arguing at all. Reason and logic simply do not get through to narcissists. To keep your sanity, you will need to set boundaries and stick with them. This may include writing down your rules and texting or emailing them to your ex, repetitively, if he or she challenges you. Your ex will not be able to say that he or she was unaware of your expectations.
  • Whenever possible, limit your conversations with your ex to text message or email, so you have a written record. Keep screenshots and copies of written communication with your ex.
  • Look for signs of anxiety or depression in your child, which are common among those who are subjected to a narcissist's abuse. If your child is in counseling, you may need to seek a court order to prevent your ex from switching counselors or trying to end the counseling.

Do I have to pay my children who work for the family business?

Lots of discretion

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Parents who own their businesses and employ their children have a lot of legal discretion when it comes to how they handle the situation. However, if you are in doubt about whether a practice is legal, it can a good idea to consult a lawyer. An accountant can also help you maximize the financial benefits from employing your children.

Type of business

You are on firmer ground if your business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership with your spouse. In fact, in these cases, you do not have to worry about Social Security or Medicare taxes for your children if you do pay them.

Reasons to pay

Not paying your children can be a good way to save money with your business, but there are compelling reasons to pay, too. For one thing, parents are allowed to use/control their minor children's money in many cases, and paying your child could mean you get a tax break due to less income coming from business operations. You can still use the money you paid your child to help toward household expenses or the child's college savings or car savings if that is what you and/or the child want.

Schwartz Law Firm volunteers at Gleaners Food Bank

On January 13, 2018, Schwartz Law Firm staff, friends and family gathered at Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan in downtown Detroit. Their mission: bag 5,000 pounds of potatoes for distribution to hungry families in the Detroit metro area. It was hard work, as the video documenting the occasion attests. But it was also a fun, team-building event that everyone enjoyed.

Facing divorce when you share a business with your spouse

If you and your spouse are facing divorce and you have built a business together or share a financial stake in a business, your financial future may be in jeopardy. When couples who divorce have to divide their assets, including a business, things can get messy quickly, especially when the divorce is contentious.

Here is some information that can help you better understand your options in terms of dividing a business in a divorce in Michigan. It is important to know some basics regarding how the law views asset division between spouses.

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