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Westland Legal Blog

Is my 30-year-old prenuptial agreement still valid?

Imagine you were married 30 years ago, and before you said, "I do," your spouse popped a very awkward question: "Will you sign a prenuptial agreement?"

At the time, you were so in love – and your spouse was from such a wealthy family – that the request, allegedly prompted by your future spouse's parents, seemed reasonable. You signed the dotted line and proceeded to have a beautiful marriage ceremony and never gave the legal document another thought.

Have you considered the benefits of signing a prenup?

Most people view prenuptial agreements as if they're for the rich or famous. Perhaps you've heard stories of a billionaire trust fund baby requiring his future spouse to sign a prenup that gives up her right to his fortune in the event of a divorce. Perhaps you've viewed prenuptial agreements as a kind of insurance policy against gold diggers. However, prenuptial agreements -- although they might serve this purpose in some cases -- are much more than a way for the rich to prevent losing their money in a divorce.

Even young people with very little in the way of personal assets can benefit from a prenuptial agreement, which is really a way of planning one's divorce procedure in advance -- just in case it becomes necessary. Although couples cannot decide all their divorce matters in advance -- for example, child custody and child support can't be covered in a prenup -- a premarital agreement can help couples pin down a lot of details, making the divorce process dramatically easier, faster and cheaper in the unlikely event it's necessary to dissolve their marriage.

Do you want to have sole custody of your child?

Do you want to have sole custody of your child? To have sole custody, in the truest sense of the word, you will need to obtain both full physical custody and full legal custody.

The differences between these two types of child custody are significant in terms of what they provide the mother or father who is seeking them.

What's the 100-mile child custody rule?

Imagine you received an excellent job offer across state lines. Or, imagine your sick mother needed you on the other side of the country. If you're a single parent who shares child custody with the other parent, this kind of dilemma could represent a serious problem: Can you move to the new location so you can take the job offer or help your mother without violating your child custody agreement?

If the other parent of your child does share custody with you and at least has regular visitation rights, this kind of dilemma could, indeed, represent a difficult challenge. In the state of Michigan, family courts abide by the "100-mile" rule, which governs how far single parents can move their homes and bring their children with them with they share custody with another parent.

Setting the rules for resolving post-divorce parenting disputes

If you're raising your child as a single co-parent and sharing the parenting responsibilities with the mother or father of your child, you may not always see eye-to-eye with the other parent. In some cases, a parental disagreement like this could blow up into a dispute that ends up in court. However, if you establish some rules of procedure for resolving disputes within your parenting plan, you may be able to prevent a costly court battle.

Here are three important things that you can include in your parenting plan that will help prevent a serious legal dispute later down the road:

  • When the parents cannot come to an agreement or decision on a point of discussion, the parents will seek out professional assistance. This professional assistance may be from a family counselor, a mediator or an arbitrator.
  • If dispute resolution is necessary, the parents agree that Parent A will pay 50 percent and parent B will pay 50 percent of those costs.
  • If either parent wishes to begin a dispute-resolution process regarding a point of disagreement, he or she must inform the other parent via a written notice or certified mail.

Guilty Plea: Failure to pay over $550,000 in child support

A 64-year-old man, who escaped paying child support for decades, recently pleaded guilty to a failure to pay child support charge in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The father of four, who authorities located and arrested in Canada, could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison and two years of supervised release as a result of his conviction.

According to authorities, the man owed $559,000 in overdue child support. However, he had been living in Canada under a false name, which allowed him to escape arrest for 20 years.

Candy shop sues over soured real estate deal in Lansing

A federal lawsuit claims that a real estate enterprise stalled its development operations at a commercial real estate location Lansing Township. Allegedly, the real estate company, which the lawsuit claims was "illegal and fraudulent," delayed operations due to a conflict of interest.

Mimi's Sweet Shop, the company that filed the lawsuit through the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, says that two individuals connected with Lansing Township's Eastwood Downtown Development Authority delayed operations to give preferential treatment to other companies that were connected to them.

Basketball star Lebron James in trademark war

International basketball star LeBron James has recently become embroiled in a trademark dispute because of his barbershop video series. The creator of "The Social Club," another barbershop video series, claims that James and his company, Uninterrupted, stole the idea of a barbershop-based talk show from him.

According to the plaintiff, Adventure Enterprises, James' show, "The Shop," directly stole the unique concept for "The Social Club," which is "a dual-purpose barbershop and content studio whose mission, in addition to providing haircuts, is to support cultural discussion, building community, personal growth, and diversity."

Is it time to update your estate plan?

The last thing you want to do as an estate planner is to create your will and estate plan, then file it away and never look at it again. You should review your estate planning papers at least every five years, and preferably on an annual basis. Changes to your family and needs, and changes to state and federal estate laws, can all have an effect on your current estate plan and necessitate some changes.

Take the new estate planning rule relating to federal estate tax exemptions that went into effect in 2018 for example. The current estate tax exemption, as of 2018, is a whopping $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples. This means that if you previously employed a mix of qualified terminable interest property trusts, credit-bypass trusts or life insurance trusts to minimize your estate tax burden due to it being over the old exemption levels, you might not need to take these elaborate measures anymore.

Financial concerns for women during divorce

Women and men are equal under the law, but that doesn't mean they have the same concerns, and that doesn't mean they're always treated equally by society. In some situations, one or the other sex has the advantage. When it comes to financial issues, women often face more challenges than their male counterparts -- this is true especially after getting a divorce.

Financially speaking, divorce tends to affect women more negatively than it does men. In fact, marriage brings various financial advantages to women. Married females tend to have a 20 percent higher income than never-married, widowed, separated and divorced females. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Married women also earn almost 10 percent more than unmarried men.

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Westland, MI 48185

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