Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Detroit Law Blog

Think about what changes you need to make in custody for 2019

As the holidays approach, you are probably focused on making the season as special as you can for your children. There is one thing that you can do right now to help your children thrive in the upcoming year — review your child custody order to ensure that it still meets your child's needs. Handling these matters early is usually best, as it affords you the time to implement changes.

When you review the order, you can start to plan for 2019. Get your calendar out and write down the days that you will have your children with you. This can help you know what plans you will need to make. You can also figure out when you will take a vacation this year, if one is in the works.

Can bankruptcy help you with your finances in 2019?

The holidays are a tough time for many people, not only because of the emotional toll they can take but also because of the financial impact. Some people decide that they want to start January off with a fresh financial picture. If you are drowning in debt, you might be considering bankruptcy.

We know that you have probably been responsible with your money. The trouble that many people realize is that medical bills and other unexpected life events can trigger effects that make it hard to crawl out of the massive debt they have. Filing for bankruptcy might help you get your finances under control.

Tips to help you prepare for divorce before you file

The start of the year is a time when people tend to evaluate their life choices. If you are currently in an unhappy marriage, you might decide that you are ready to call it quits. Many people don't want to take this step at the holidays, especially if they have children so they might wait until after the first of the year. Preparing for this step is a good idea if you are going to file for divorce soon.

There are several aspects of life that are affected by the end of your marriage. You need to think about each one so that you can decide how you are going to handle it.

  • Finances: Your finances are going to change drastically with the divorce. You will have to pay your bills from your own income. Plus, you will have added expenses from having to file for divorce. A woman faces an average of a 73-percent loss in standard of living when she gets divorced. Setting a budget now might help you to keep your finances on track.
  • Living arrangements: You need to determine who is going to move out of the home. If the answer is you, now is the time to start looking for a place. At a minimum, you need to figure out how much money you are going to need to get this done. In some cases, you might be able to arrange to live with a family member or friend for a bit.
  • Financial documents: The property division process requires you to split up all the assets and debts from the marriage. Having your financial documents enables you to have an accurate account of what's what. If you can't keep the originals, try to get copies of everything.
  • The children: Make plans for the children. They will have a period of adjustment when you share the news with them. You also need to think about child custody arrangements.

Choose the type of trusts you use carefully

One thing you have to decide when you are creating an estate plan is whether you need to set up trusts. If you decide that your heirs can benefit from having things placed in trusts so they are transferred easier when you pass away, you'll have to determine what types of trusts you need.

There are two primary categories of trusts that people use – revocable and irrevocable. The main difference between these two is that revocable trusts can be changed or voided. Irrevocable trusts can't. If you are trying to protect assets from creditors, you will need to use an irrevocable trust.

Modifications of support payments are sometimes necessary

Changes in life's circumstances sometimes require you to alter your budget. When you have a child support order in place, you might find that this obligation has become difficult to meet. Of course, you want to provide for your children, but the monthly amount may be too great for you to continue paying it each month as stated in the terms of your support order.

Child support modifications are possible when there are major changes in your finances. You won't be granted a modification for things over which you have control, e.g., buying a bigger house with a much higher mortgage payment. Instead, modifications are meant for circumstances like being demoted or losing your job.

Reduce holiday stress by planning ahead for custody issues

Even parents who have been divorced for many years are probably looking for ways that they can take some of the stress out of the holiday season. Since child custody matters are a big source of stress during this time of year, parents who have a shared custody arrangement should take the time to plan properly right now. Going into the hustle and bustle knowing what to expect can be beneficial.

Before you start looking at the schedule for the holidays, you need to get your focus where it should be. The holidays are a time to enjoy family. There might be some events that come up that require an adjustment to the regular custody schedule. Be willing to work these out with your ex, no matter who is requesting the change. Thinking about what your children will enjoy and what is best for them should be the primary focus of your thoughts.

Bankruptcy has many benefits that you can enjoy when you file

A personal bankruptcy has many benefits, but most people focus on two. One of these is that you will be relieved of your personal debts. The other is that your creditors won't be able to harass you. These are both important, but you shouldn't let them cloud your judgment. We want you to think carefully about how the bankruptcy filing might change your finances now and how it might impact them in the future.

There is a time of credit rebuilding after a bankruptcy. This isn't always easy. In fact, many people really struggle with this. When you file for bankruptcy, you will be forced to live only on your income. Your days of being able to make things stretch with credit are over.

Get ready for your family law mediation session

Many family law matters, including divorce and child custody, are handled through mediation if both parties can work together to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. If you are going into this situation, you must ensure that you are ready for what's to come.

Getting ready for the meetings with the mediator doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Gather any documents you might need. This can include the child's schedule for school and other activities. You should also grab your own work schedule since this might impact the parenting time plan.
  • Write down your concerns. These meetings can get heated and stressful. By having your main concerns in writing, you can make sure that you address them during the meeting. Remember that your ex will have a list, too.
  • Be prepared to compromise. You aren't going to get your way on every matter. Check your list of concerns and mark down which ones you feel strongly about. Those are the ones you need to focus your efforts on during the mediation.
  • Think about your children. Even when there is a solution that seems to be the right answer in your mind, you have to be prepared to think about other options. Keeping an open mind while thinking about the children instead of yourself can be beneficial during these meetings.
  • Keep your cool. Sometimes, an ex might go into a meeting with the intention of ruffling your feathers to get their way. Remaining calm can thwart this effort. Remember that you can always ask to speak to the mediator in private if necessary.

Sole proprietorships are easy, but establish little protection

People who are just getting started in business might wonder what type of legal entity they need to establish. This is a complex question that takes many factors into account. For some individuals, such as freelancers and contractors, a sole proprietorship might be a viable option.

This is only appropriate for people who are the only owner of a company. They are solely responsible for the company and the debts. There isn't any additional paperwork to file and no added fees, which do come with business entities like a limited liability company.

Avoid these 4 estate planning mistakes

Your estate plan outlines who gets what when you pass away. It is imperative that you understand what your plan says and that it is up to date. You should review it at least once per year so that you can see that everything is set how you want it.

There are some mistakes that you can make when you are setting up or updating your plan. You need to ensure that you avoid these. Here are some common considerations that are often overlooked:

  • Improper designations. There are limitations to what your will can do. Some assets, such as bank accounts and other financial accounts, are governed by payable-on-death designations. Even if you name the asset in the will, the POD designation will trump it. When you review your will, review these so they are up to date.
  • Not fund trusts. The trusts that you establish should be funded. While there are some that are funded when you pass away, you need to ensure that you consider the funding options for the others.
  • Forgetting a power of attorney. You should set up the power of attorney designations for someone to oversee your health care and your finances if you become unable to. You need to ensure that these are kept current.
  • Failing to understand the estate plan. As you make the estate plan, don't be afraid to ask questions. You need to understand exactly what the plan is doing. This helps you ensure that you are setting it all up the way you intend.
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Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.
1460 Walton Blvd , Suite 102
Rochester Hills, MI 48309

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Phone: 248-218-1473
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