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One of the most common questions in the divorce process is, “How long is this going to take?” For couples who are filing a DM divorce – in other words, a divorce that involves children – they can expect the process to last a minimum of six months, or 180 days. Divorces that do not involve children are labeled DO – these take a minimum of 60 days to complete.

Before you get too hopeful about the prospect of having a divorce finalized in two months, listen to Michigan lawyer Jacob Femminineo in this video as he delves more deeply into the 180- and 60-day divorce laws. Learn about possible waivers that a judge may grant if it’s in the best interest of children who are wrapped up in a divorce. Understand why divorces take so much time and why so much paperwork needs to be filed. And find out why a 60-day divorce is the minimum for every couple in Michigan, no matter their marital, financial, or parental situation.

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When referring to Michigan divorce cases, the term “jurisdiction” means one thing – which court will be hearing your divorce case. In the state of Michigan, all divorce cases are held in the circuit court of the county in which the person who has filed for divorce lives. This may seem simple enough, but there are two crucial details that can affect how timely, costly, and inconvenient a divorce may be (beyond the obvious).

In this video, Michigan divorce lawyer Jacob Femminineo explains the two most important numbers to remember when it comes to jurisdiction in Macomb County and beyond. Learn about the laws of establishing Michigan residency before legally filing for divorce, as well as the 10-Day Rule for county residency. And find out why, if you’re at all suspicious about a soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s “vacation” or “visit” to another part of the state, it’s in your best interest to file for divorce before they do.

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Download the Initial Divorce Interview form

Divorce is never easy, no matter how amicable a couple’s situation may be. Oftentimes, the most difficult part of a divorce is deciding when to file, particularly if children are involved. Working with the right Michigan attorney to ease the burden and simplify the process is half the battle in managing a divorce. In this video, Macomb County lawyer Jacob Femminineo explains how an initial interview with a divorce lawyer at Femminineo Attorneys will proceed. The biggest takeaway – that first consultation is completely free.

Femminineo Attorneys will tell you what you can expect from the divorce process every step of the way, whether or not you can use one attorney in your Michigan divorce, what will likely happen at the end of the divorce process, and they’ll help you determine when to file. In addition to the free, confidential, initial interview, these Michigan divorce lawyers have simplified the divorce process by offering an online divorce questionnaire that describes what information to prepare for your first meeting with your lawyer. Whether you decide to file for divorce immediately or not, this basic information will be at the ready to quickly get the process underway.

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There are two types of conferences in a Michigan divorce case: status and settlement. Conferences such as these occur during the divorce process when both parties have retained lawyers individually.

In a status conference in Macomb County, the two attorneys – and sometimes the parties as well – will meet with one of the judge’s referees. Conferences of this nature may occur early on in the divorce process and, though some people may consider them a waste of time, they are helpful in getting the divorce case moving and that much closer to settlement.

A settlement conference is somewhat similar to a status conference but, in this type of meeting, the parties and lawyers are sitting down with the judge who, believe it or not, wants to keep his or her finger on the pulse of what’s happening with the cases on their docket and move them along.

Watch this video, featuring Michigan lawyer Jacob Femminineo, for more details about exactly what happens, what matters are discussed, and what decisions are made during status and settlement conferences in the Michigan divorce process.

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Custody issues in a divorce case can easily become controversial and complicate the divorce process. While there are a variety of elements concerning custody, in this video Michigan lawyer Jacob Femminineo delves more deeply into two aspects of the matter: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody is, simply enough, where the child lives. Whether the child ultimately resides with the mother or father or is split between both parents’ homes will be decided during the divorce process. Typically, there is usually one parent who has sole physical custody.

The concept of legal custody is more involved. This type of custody takes into account all the major decisions regarding the child such as care, education, religion, and health. Michigan divorce cases involving children almost always end with joint legal custody. Watch this video to find out why, to get specific examples of situations involving legal custody, and to find out what circumstances will have a judge getting involved.

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In a divorce case involving child custody, what was once referred to as “visitation” is now called “parenting time.” Michigan divorce law defines “standard” custody to be when one party has sole physical custody of the child (or children) and the other party – known as the non-custodial parent – has reasonable parenting time to spend with their child. In other words, the parent without sole custody gets to see their kids on weekends, holidays, and in the summer.

This weekend-holiday-summer arrangement isn’t set in stone though. Jacob Femminineo gets into the specifics of parenting time in this video and describes the many, many ways that parenting time can be divided between divorced parents. Naturally, the goal is to consider what is in the best interest of the child – but there is a way to get to a “magic number” so that both parents can get equal quality parenting time with their kids.

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Whether two people are married or not, when a couple who has a child together decides to end their relationship, there is one legal constant: One party will have custody of the child and the other party will pay child support.

In this video, Macomb County lawyer Jacob Femminineo goes into detail about the three main factors that are involved in determining what your child support payment will be in the state of Michigan. The first two factors involve money – your income and the other party’s income. The third factor involves the number of overnights the child will have at one party’s residence and at the other party’s home.

When added together, these factors create a non-negotiable number that one party will have to pay to the other. If more than one child is involved, the numbers get multiplied accordingly. That’s the objective formula. But there’s more – watch this video to learn about the other elements that can affect what that final child support number will actually be.

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When a couple decides to go their separate ways, they must always file a complaint for divorce. In the most basic terms, this filing alleges that there has been a breakdown of the marriage and that there is no reasonable likelihood that the relationship can be preserved.

So where does the “no fault” divorce come into play? By law, Michigan is a “no fault” divorce state, which essentially means that neither party is legally at fault regarding the dissolution of the marriage. While that sounds simple enough, the matter can get a little complicated. Jacob Femminineo explains in detail in this video that fault can indeed matter. If there is a definitive cause for the breakdown of the marriage, such as addiction or infidelity, fault certainly comes into play.

Watch this video to find out how the fault of one party can affect the divorce settlement, particularly the division of assets.

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In the state of Michigan, an initial interview with the Friend of the Court must take place when a divorce involves children. This interview will occur very early on in the divorce process, usually within the first one or two months of filing. It’s highly recommended that each party have their attorney present for this meeting.

During this initial interview, there is more of an emphasis placed on the physical custody of the children than the legal custody. On the table for discussion: the number of overnights each parent will have and the income of both parents. These very crucial details are taken into consideration to help the Friend of the Court make a recommendation of how much child support should be paid, and which party should be paying it.

In this video, lawyer Jacob Femminineo explains where this initial interview is held in Macomb County, why it’s required, how to prepare, and what can be expected from the Friend of the Court.

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Anyone who is divorced with children in the state of Michigan is well-acquainted with child support. There is one important facet with this area of the law, however, that often results in some confusion: child support modification.

The first thing to know is that child support modification cannot happen independently of the courtroom. The judge who is assigned to a divorce case when the divorce papers are filed has jurisdiction on all issues thereafter involving custody, parenting time, and, yes, child support… at least until the child turns 19.5 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. That judge will make the decision about when, or if, any modification to child support can occur.

So when can the amount of child support be increased or decreased? What has to take place to convince a judge that a modification is in order? Watch this video featuring Macomb County lawyer Jacob Femminineo for insight into this complex matter.

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In the state of Michigan, in a divorce case involving child support, it is required by law that an income withholding order go into effect and be entered into the final judgment of a divorce. The employer of the party who will be paying child support is ordered to deduct the determined amount from the party’s paycheck and send it to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU).

While it may sound like a hassle, MiSDU actually makes life easier for the divorcing parties. They disburse child support payments to the other party, they track payments that are in arrears, and so on. Watch this video featuring divorce lawyer Jacob Femminineo as he addresses common financial concerns that arise when it comes to child support, income withholding, and the duties of MiSDU.

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The questions surrounding spousal support are not always easy to answer. Parties who are divorcing want to know when they have to pay spousal support, for how long, how much it’s going to be, and so on, but there are a lot of ingredients in the spousal support recipe. While child support is calculated through an objective formula, spousal support is a completely subjective matter.

There are a great number of factors that surround the determination of spousal support (also known as alimony), but the one thing that remains constant is that there is no right or wrong answer. It may feel like there’s a difference between what’s right and what’s wrong to the parties involved, but a judge will make his or her determination based on what they think is appropriate for the situation. Divorce lawyer Jacob Femminineo talks more about the subjectivity of spousal support in this video and how each divorce case can be affected differently.

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There are two big questions surrounding spousal support: How much do I have to pay? And how long do I have to pay it? If you have a good divorce attorney, they will argue and negotiate for you to get an equal and fair settlement. However, there are plenty of factors that can come into play to change these numbers – which leads to one of the biggest choices you will make surrounding spousal support: modification.

In this video, Macomb County divorce lawyer Jacob Femminineo explains the difference between a modifiable spousal support arrangement (it can change) and a non-modifiable arrangement (it is set in stone no matter what happens). There are dangers in both choices that must be taken into consideration when considering the final judgment in a divorce. Find out what they are.

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There are some divorcing couples who prefer to opt out of the Friend of the Court in Michigan when it comes to child support and income withholding. They feel that, no matter their differences in the marriage, they can get along for the sake of the kids and exchange monies as agreed upon – in cases like this, opting out makes sense. However, there are plenty of scenarios when opting out doesn’t make sense, and it’s a choice that Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC will never recommend to any client, no matter how amicable the divorce may seem to be.

The bottom line is this: Financial situations can change. Watch this video featuring divorce lawyer Jacob Femminineo to find out why opting out of Friend of the Court can go so very wrong. And why it’s beneficial – and just plain smart – to take advantage of this free service.

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Motions can be brought before the court to deal with any and all issues surrounding a divorce, from child custody to child support, parenting time to bill payment. Essentially, if two parties can’t come to an agreement on a major issue, they can file a motion asking the court to decide for them. This can happen during the divorce process and after the divorce has been finalized.

In this video, divorce attorney Jacob Femminineo talks about the jurisdiction of the judge in a divorce case and why this is important to understand when it comes to motions. He also spends some time on what happens with motions specifically in Macomb County.

Fast fact: Motions are the busiest days in court. Watch this video to find out the best days to file your motion in Macomb County, Oakland County, or Wayne County.

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There is one phrase that divorce attorneys often hear from their clients: “I want a legal separation from my spouse.” Here’s the reality – there is no such thing as a legal separation in the state of Michigan. A married couple either lives together or, if they no longer want to be a pair, they choose to live apart – but there is no legal separation. Once the divorce process begins, legal documents and interim orders will come into play telling both parties where they (and their children, as the case may be) will take up residence. Once a divorce is in motion, even then there is no legal separation that occurs.

In this video, Macomb County lawyer Jacob Femminineo explains the reasons why legal separations don’t exist in Michigan and goes into detail about the differences between separation and abandonment.

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A separate maintenance agreement does exist in the state of Michigan, but it has a somewhat tricky definition. Not to be mistaken for a separation agreement or a legal separation, a separate maintenance agreement essentially means that a couple is getting a divorce… but they’re not really divorced.

Confusing, right? There are various reasons why couples select a separate maintenance agreement rather than legally getting a full divorce – it can often involve matters of health care or religion. But there are also some snags that couples can encounter when trying to benefit from a marriage union through a separate maintenance agreement. Allow Jacob Femminineo, a Macomb County attorney, explain how a divorce can take place in a separate maintenance agreement, but still leave a couple with a married status.

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In today’s society, the majority of families have shifted from the “traditional” man goes to work and woman stays home to dual-income households. When these “modern” couples file for divorce, it’s only natural to expect that the ways and means surrounding child custody have changed with the times as well. Enter: joint custody.

Divorcing couples have made a push for joint custody rather than agreeing to one party having sole physical custody and the other having reasonable parenting time. There are caveats, however, to every arrangement. Jacob Femminineo, a lawyer in Macomb County, Michigan, explains in this video what joint custody really means, what’s involved in determining joint custody, and how parents can get creative about making their new family units work.

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This video covers the main factors that come into play when a Michigan court is determining the amount of spousal support to be paid in a divorce case, which party will be responsible for the payments, and, most importantly, if support will be paid at all. Remember – spousal support is subjective. There is no right or wrong answer. But there are plenty of ingredients that go into making the final decision.

The length of the marriage, the ability of one or both parties to work, the age of both parties, state of health, standard of living, and fault are all considered important components in the matter of spousal support.  Macomb County lawyer Jacob Femminineo goes into detail about each of these elements and discusses their relevancy in divorce proceedings.

There is an objective formula that is in place in Michigan when it comes to determining child support. The three main factors involved – your income, the other party’s income, and the number of overnights the child(ren) will spend at your residence and at the other party’s home – come together to create a non-negotiable number. This is the amount of child support that one party pays to the other.

The other legal constant is that one party will have custody of the child and the other party will pay child support. It’s understandable that divorcing couples – particularly those who are not divorcing amicably or who are already having financial issues – will worry about whether or not their child support will be delivered in full and in a timely manner.

Income Withholding in Michigan

In the state of Michigan, it is required by law that any divorce case that involves child support is subject to an income withholding order which is entered into the final judgment of a divorce.

In the simplest terms, this means that the employer of the party who will be paying child support is ordered to deduct the determined child support amount from that person’s payment and submit it to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU).

This could be interpreted as “forcing” someone to pay child support. But MiSDU is actually intended to make life easier for divorcing parties by regularly disbursing the child support payments, tracking payments that are in arrears, and so on.

Michigan Divorce and Child Support Modification

However, there are always circumstances that can arise which alter the way child support is calculated and affect how much money an ex-spouse will receive. Job loss is the biggest factor, and in the case of such a big change, a child support modification may be in order.

Whatever the situation surrounding child support modification, any changes cannot occur outside of the courtroom or without the jurisdiction of the judge who was assigned to your divorce case when your divorce papers were filed. The judge will determine when or if child support modification is warranted.

Take Precautions with Child Support

Too often, problems receiving child support stem from unwise decisions made by the divorcing parties. There are couples who believe their divorce will be amicable and therefore choose to opt out of the Friend of the Court in Michigan when it comes to child support and income withholding. They believe they can always manage money issues between themselves without legal intervention.

Unfortunately, situations and divorces may not always remain amicable, and ultimately child support can become a serious problem between former spouses. Financial situations can change. It is always the smart choice to take advantage of the free service that is the Friend of the Court.

If you have questions about the divorce process, child support, or income withholding, contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC in Macomb, Michigan, to schedule your free initial interview.

Custody decisions are made based on what is in the best interest of the child, and it is rare to encounter a divorced Michigan couple where one party has full custody of their children. The state prefers parents to share custody of a child whenever possible. However, there are exceptions to every arrangement, and no two custody agreements are identical.

Definitions of Custody

Also known as “sole custody,” full custody is generally accepted to mean that one parent has both legal custody and physical custody of the children.

When a parent has legal custody of a child, they have the right to make all important decisions for the child. This can include choices surrounding medical care, schooling, extracurricular activities, travel out of the country or state, day care arrangements, and so forth. Physical custody simply means the child regularly resides with one parent.

“Standard” custody in Michigan divorce law means one party has sole physical custody of the child and the non-custodial parent has reasonable parenting time to spend with their child, such as weekends, certain holidays, school breaks, and summertime. In this situation, parents often have joint legal custody which means that both parents have an active role in their child’s life and neither parent can make a major choice for their child without the other’s approval.

The Child Custody Act and Mediation

For Michigan in particular, the state code includes the Child Custody Act which names 12 specific criteria that must be taken into consideration by the judge presiding over a divorce case involving children.

Michigan judges typically order divorcing parents to participate in mediation before custody orders are issued to see if it’s possible for parents to work out a custody agreement without involving the court. The state does favor joint custody.

Sometimes it’s necessary to get creative when solidifying custody arrangements, and there are any number of ways that parenting time can be divided equally and fairly between divorced parents while maintaining consistency and stability in the child’s life.

If you have questions about child custody or the divorce process in general, contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC in Macomb, Michigan, to schedule your free initial interview.

You may feel any number of emotions surrounding Valentine’s Day, whether you’re divorced or in the process of getting a divorce in Michigan. There’s anger, loneliness, sadness, indifference, and even glee for some people. Whatever your current state of being, it’s not wrong – we all process life changes in different ways.

Recent studies have found that divorce filings actually increase 40 percent around Valentine’s Day, so if you’re feeling like you’re alone in your loneliness, don’t. Instead of dwelling on the love you had in the past (or the terrible Valentine’s Days you used to have), find positive ways to cope with this one day of the year.

Focus on Your Children

Custody issues during a divorce can make you feel disgruntled, not to mention stressed about your kids’ well-being. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to take 24 hours and stop thinking about parenting time and who’s getting the kids on what weekends or holidays.

Celebrate your children instead of focusing on the absence of marital love in your life. Create new traditions that are special to your changed family unit. And, most of all, do your best not to taint the holiday for your kids just because you’re feeling less than merry about hearts, flowers, and chocolates. Even though your relationship isn’t what you might have hoped for, you can still convey to your children that love is possible, wonderful, and in their future.

Celebrate on the Cheap

When there is divorce, there are money issues, whether you’re the one who’s doling out child support or the one who’s lamenting the inability of your ex-spouse to pay you on time. Find ways to make the most of the holiday without putting yourself in the hole.

If you have someone new in your life, opt for a romantic dinner at home instead of a wine and roses meal at a five-star restaurant. If you are flying solo, don’t go overboard on the jewelry purchase just to make yourself feel better. A pot-luck or BYOB night with the other single girls or guys in your circle can help you cope without over-indulging moneywise.

Try to Stay Optimistic

So many divorcing couples are of the mindset that relationships and romance are forever tainted by an ugly split. Know that love is possible for you in the future. Trust too that your divorce battle, if it is hostile and taxing, will ultimately come to an end, and you can move on with your life with a new outlook, and hopeful for love.

If you have questions about pursuing a divorce in Macomb County, Michigan, contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC to schedule your free initial interview.

A separation typically precedes a divorce. But, in the state of Michigan, there is no such thing as a legal separation. This also means that couples do not have to be separated for a set period of time before filing for a Michigan divorce.

Once the divorce process begins, legal documents and interim orders will tell both parties where they and their children will live. Even though a couple is living apart, this is not considered a legal separation at any point. So is there any sort of legal option concerning separation from one’s spouse?

The Closest Thing to a Legal Separation in Michigan

In Michigan, separate maintenance agreements follow practically the same course as a divorce proceeding. This judgment essentially leaves a couple divorced from everything except the bounds of marriage.

Opting for a Judgment of Separate Maintenance in Michigan rather than a Judgment of Divorce in Michigan means that you cannot remarry. If you decide at a later date that you would rather be divorced completely, an entirely new case will need to begin and be carried out to complete a divorce.

Reasons for Choosing a Separate Maintenance Agreement

Why would anyone choose a separate maintenance agreement over a divorce? Often, the reason for going the route of the separate maintenance agreement is due to health care or religious reasons.

If one half of the couple is dealing with health issues and has concerns about losing their medical insurance, opting for a separate maintenance agreement instead may prevent the insurance they share with their spouse from being terminated. Keep in mind, however, that many employers are in the process of considering separate maintenance agreements as having the same effect as a Michigan divorce when it comes to health care benefits.

In some circumstances, if a person will be excommunicated from their church if they divorce, they may choose a separate maintenance instead, choosing to live apart from their spouse but remain legally wed.

The Intricacies of Separation and Divorce

Ultimately, nothing is simple when it comes to separate maintenance agreements or divorce, and an attempt to benefit from a marriage union while still having the “freedom” to live separately is not easily managed. If you would like to pursue a separation or divorce in Macomb County, Michigan, or simply have questions about the divorce process, contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC to schedule your free initial interview.

Stress and Oral healthWhether you initiated your Michigan divorce or not, no matter what side of the equation you stand on there is bound to be anger that arises throughout the process. It could be anger at the situation, at your soon-to-be ex-spouse, at the way things have worked out with spousal support or child custody. The thing to know and understand is that anger is normal as you grieve your marriage and recover from your divorce.

Productive Ways to Manage Anger

There are good and bad ways to deal with your anger. Stuffing this emotion down isn’t wise, but allowing it to rise to the surface and stay there is also unhealthy. It’s important to honor your anger, as long as you don’t harm yourself or others because of it.

It’s possible to manage anger in productive, healthy ways:

  • Work it out. Exercise, that is. Invest in a punching bag. Take a kickboxing class. Run. Join a baseball team or take up tennis (healthy hitting is good). Moving your body, sweating, and releasing feel-good endorphins will help you release anger and anxiety surrounding your divorce. And exercise will at least put your mind in a different place for a little while.
  • Shout it out. There are a number of ways you can verbally or physically release your anger without hurting anyone in the process. If you need to, scream. Go in your basement, let it out in your car, or head to a wide-open field and just yell. You’ll get tired soon enough, and might even find yourself chuckling as your rage diminishes.
  • Talk. You may never have envisioned yourself as the support group type, but knowing that others are feeling the same emotions as you can help you feel better about the pain and anger you’re experiencing over your divorce. Then again, you may discover that the group setting doesn’t benefit you and only reinforces your angry emotions. In that case, one-on-one time talking with a counselor may be the right choice for you. You can talk to friends as well, but sometimes it’s better to let your feelings out around an impartial third party – no judgment, no regrets about what you say.
  • Write. For some people, journaling is one of the most therapeutic measures possible. It helps reduce anger during a divorce because writing requires you to focus as you get your thoughts down on paper. There is no right or wrong way to journal – just write whatever you need to get out, whether that’s cursing or complaints or dismay. Journaling can also help you make decisions throughout your divorce, giving you an outlet for thinking through situations from every angle with no repercussions.

Ultimately, the goal is to let your anger have its day in the sun (or days, as the case may be). You want to avoid toxic explosions of anger in inappropriate situations. Acknowledge that you’re angry so that you can deal with this powerful emotion in productive ways.

If you would like to discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce or simply have questions about the divorce process, contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC to schedule your free initial interview.

Young man and walking couple on a blurred backgroundDivorcing couples often have questions about dating while going through a divorce, and how such a situation might negatively affect their Michigan divorce proceedings. It’s wise to consider how every action could affect your divorce – and when it comes to dating, there is reason for concern.

The No Fault Michigan Divorce

Michigan is a no-fault state, meaning, in the simplest terms, that neither party is legally at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. However, if you cheated on your spouse and that ultimately caused the breakdown of the marriage, fault can indeed matter. There are plenty of reasons why marriages dissolve, infidelity often chief among them. But what’s the law regarding new relationships once the divorce is in progress?

If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are living separately and the divorce is in progress, having a girlfriend or boyfriend could get in the way of a speedy or clean divorce. Even if the person involved in the infidelity that caused the breakdown of the marriage is no longer in the picture, a relationship with someone new could taint property division as well as child custody.

Money and Kids in a Michigan Divorce

Divorces can become messy and contentious. Even couples who are parting amicably can find themselves embroiled in a bitter battle, particularly when it comes to money and children. When so many emotions are in play, any extraneous detail may be used against someone.

It’s often presumed that things will be divided on a 50-50 basis in a Michigan divorce, but it could be argued that an unequal division of the assets (60-40 or 70-30, for example) is only fair. Child custody could also be affected. The member of the divorcing couple who has a new partner could find themselves losing precious time with their children. It could be implied that you’re not focused on the welfare of the children if you’re dating while the divorce is in progress. Or one parent may object to their children being exposed to anyone who is romantically associated with the other parent’s life when a divorce is already so difficult to explain and manage when children are involved.

Make Wise Decisions During Your Divorce

There are so many elements to a Michigan divorce, and it’s always better to do what you can to make the process simpler instead of more complicated. A divorce attorney at Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC can advise you on the wisest choices to make during your divorce, whether that involves dating or other situations that might affect your divorce settlement. Almost any action can have consequences.

If you would like to discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce or have questions about the divorce process, contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

Girl With Mobile Smart PhoneWe live in a wired world where many people are attached to some sort of handheld device nearly 24/7. Text messages, emails, and call histories may feel private to the user, but they leave a digital trail. So how much of it can actually come back to bite you in the course of a Michigan divorce?

The Power of the Digital Trail

The first question is: What do you have to hide? Remember, Michigan is a no-fault divorce state so “technically” there is no one to blame for the dissolution of a marriage. In reality, however, if infidelity did cause the breakdown of the marriage, fault is indeed an issue. And at that point, behavior – including a digital trail – comes into play.

Smartphones are smart for a reason: They provide an often detailed record of what the user was doing, planning, and thinking – and with whom – at any given moment and over any period of time. Though it may seem as though information taken from a cell phone is an invasion of privacy, most divorce proceedings do permit cell phone evidence. And the trend to use this information is increasing.

In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 92 percent of attorneys reported a rise in the use of cell phone evidence, while 94 percent of attorneys reported an increase in the use of text messages specifically.

Text Carefully: Those Messages Carry Weight

While for purposes of the Michigan divorce, there is no requirement to prove adultery or fault, text messages and other evidence from a cell phone can be used in other ways. Digital exchanges can be offered up as evidence regarding the disappearance of marital assets, abuse, or other problematic behaviors such as gambling or addiction that led to the marriage’s end.

A court’s opinion can be influenced by one party’s behavior – such as threats against the other part – and how fit or unfit they are for child custody purposes. Custody and visitation could end up being limited if the court believes that certain behaviors evidenced through cell phone information could harm or have a negative effect on the children.

Cell phone evidence showing wastefulness of the assets or use of marital assets to pay for gifts, trips, and the like for a non-marital partner may also impact how marital property and debts are divided.

Practice Safe Texting

As with all matters involving a Michigan divorce, each case is unique, as is the evidence associated with it. Privacy issues may come into play, as well as the legitimacy and accessibility of cell phone records (detailed records of which are typically not kept by cell phone companies). Only your Michigan divorce attorney can advise you best on your questions regarding cell phone usage and how it relates to your case.

Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions with Femminineo Attorneys to learn about your rights, the intricacies of evidence and evidence-gathering, and the divorce process itself. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

broken heart on divorce document with cashEvery divorce case is unique to the couple involved. However, there are some behaviors that can negatively affect your divorce case. Any of these mistakes could impact your chances of a satisfactory Michigan divorce settlement.

Social Media Mistakes

People used to call their friends to complain about their divorce or go to support meetings. Now they may take to social media avenues like Facebook and Twitter to say what’s on their mind. And that honesty can be detrimental.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) surveyed the nation’s top divorce lawyers and discovered that there has been a big surge in social networking evidence. Eighty-one percent of attorneys have seen an increase in the number of divorce cases over the past five years using social networking evidence. In fact, Facebook is considered the leader for online divorce evidence, with 66 percent of attorneys surveyed citing it as a primary source.

It’s easy to be caught in a public contradiction, a lie, even a truth – whether it’s through status updates, comments, or photos. An estranged spouse would not hesitate to present this evidence to their divorce attorney to see if it could improve their settlement in a contentious divorce or help prove infidelity, mismanagement of marital assets, or poor parenting.

Cell Phone Mistakes

Chances are, you carry most of your life around with you in your pocket or purse – in the form of a smartphone. Texts, emails, social networks, banking apps, photos, and calendars are all types of electronic communication that can leave a digital trail.

The bottom line is, your cell phone can be used against you in a Michigan divorce, but perhaps not in the ways you think. Michigan is a no-fault state, which means there is no requirement to prove fault in any way for a divorce to be granted. However, cell phone evidence could provide evidence of adultery, abuse, problematic behaviors, or disappearance of marital assets that could affect divorce settlements and even child custody and visitation.

The AAML reported that 92 percent of attorneys surveyed have seen an increase in divorce cases that use evidence taken from smartphones in the past three years.

Navigating a Michigan Divorce

Ultimately, every Michigan divorce case is very specific to the couple involved. Information gleaned from social media sites and cell phones may or may not be a viable source of evidence. Only your divorce attorney can help you determine what’s best for your divorce case, and can advise you on proper behavior during your divorce.

Divorces can be complicated, so it’s normal to wonder about everything from cell phones to dating to getting a new credit card. Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions with Femminineo Attorneys to learn about your rights, the intricacies of evidence and evidence-gathering, and the divorce process itself. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

OlderCoupleSmilingWhen you get married, you don’t marry just one person, you marry into an entire family. They become an extension of you and your life, especially if your union produces children. But what becomes of your relationship with your in-laws if you and your spouse divorce?

Living a distance from your ex in-laws may make it easier to sever the relationship you have with them after a Michigan divorce. But even though a couple has parted ways, that doesn’t mean the entire family has to divorce as well. Easier said than done, though, right? Typically, one spouse’s family is on that person’s “side” in a divorce, and they may feel their loyalty cannot waiver. Then again, they have known their loved one since birth and may realize just how difficult they are to live with – in which case, you may have some unexpected allies on your team.

Maintaining a Relationship with Ex In-Laws for Your Children

Most families attempt to maintain some sense of normalcy for their children during a divorce and afterward. If you were close with your in-laws before your Michigan divorce and your children regularly saw their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, severing this connection entirely can confuse and upset your children. Family members who take sides may choose to sever any relationship you once had – which means you don’t have much choice about maintaining a relationship with your ex in-laws.

While you don’t have to spend every holiday together, special occasions will arise for your children and your in-laws will likely want to be present for recitals, ball games, graduations, weddings, and births. To avoid making these situations stickier than they need to be, these guidelines for forging a new relationship with your ex in-laws can help:

  • Take the first step. It will likely be up to you to initiate a new relationship with your ex in-laws and keep it going. They may be tentative about overstepping their bounds in this new dynamic that has come to pass
  • Don’t assume they’re against you. Sometimes your in-laws will surprise you. They may believe that your divorce was caused by their loved one, or they may simply want to be an impartial third party that can still have a relationship with someone who was once part of the family.
  • Set boundaries. If the relationship you have with your ex in-laws was rocky to begin with, it’s unlikely to improve after a divorce. If you are making the conscious effort to keep them in your child’s life, establish ground rules to protect your feelings and emotions, and to protect your children from any negative talk to which they may be exposed. If your divorce is particularly contentious, you may want visits with ex in-laws and your children to occur on your turf so you can always be present. Families who truly want to stay connected will be willing to bend.
  • Know when to say “when.” Sometimes, family dynamics are dysfunctional and no amount of effort on your part will change things. It’s not good for your children to witness such unhappy and unhealthy relationships; you may need to briefly cut ties until everyone has agreed to be civil in each others’ presence. Or the in-laws may ultimately only see your children during your ex’s court-mandated parenting time.

Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions with Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

HappyFamilyOne of the most effective ways to begin a dialog with your children about almost any complicated subject is by introducing the topic through books. There are picture books to introduce a new baby, potty training, adoption… and divorce is no different. These five books can help you and your co-parent address divorce with your children so they aren’t confused and so the message about what’s happening in your family is consistent.

TwoHomesTwo Homes by Claire Masurel

Recommended ages: 3-6

Written from the point of view of a 7-year-old boy, Two Homes explains that the love Mommy and Daddy have for him doesn’t change just because they’re getting a divorce. In fact, from a kid’s perspective, a divorce can be, well, an embarrassment of riches. There will be two of everything: two homes, two bedrooms, two kitchens. This book is a way to ease your child into a new lifestyle where days will continue as usual – sleeping, eating, playing – just in two different places. There is no pitting Mom and Dad against each other, and it’s a great way to start talking about what it’s like to have two homes when parents divorce.

DinosaursDivorceDinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown

Recommended ages: 4-8

Kids have a tendency to blame themselves when things go wrong between their parents, but this book – through comic strips featuring dinosaurs – emphasizes that this situation is never a child’s fault and that everything will be OK. Brief chapters address topics like why parents divorce, adjusting to new living arrangements, what holidays may be like, and what to expect if Mom or Dad remarry and have more children. The graphics in Dinosaurs Divorce depict a range of feelings, from anger to sadness, guilt to confusion, and the text simplifies some very tough topics and makes them far more accessible for parents and children alike.

StandingonMyOwnTwoFeetStanding on My Own Two Feet by Tamara Schmitz

Recommended ages: 3-7

Through simple, straightforward statements, the young boy in Standing on My Own Two Feet is reassured during his parents’ divorce, knowing that Mom and Dad will always love him even if they don’t always get along with each other. Unconditional love is the focus in this book, and it is stressed that the child is absolutely not to blame for the divorce. This is a great choice for preschool kids, providing an empowering message to help kids cope with the changes that occur in their life because of divorce.

Other picture book recommendations for young children whose parents are experiencing a Michigan divorce: It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear (by Vicky Lansky), Let’s Talk About It: Divorce (by Fred Rogers), and My Family’s Changing (by Pat Thomas).

It is our goal to help you navigate all of the questions and difficulties you may encounter as your marriage comes to an end. Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions with Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

Charlie Sheen Denise Richards DivorceWhen it comes to celeb divorces, the most contentious splits are usually identified as such because of money fights or big payouts. There are some divorces between famous folks, however, that take on a life of their own thanks to paparazzi assistance and underhanded dealings. Whether you call them messy, ugly, or expensive (emotionally or financially), the following divorces are four of the worst in recent memory.

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise never saw it coming, or so he claims. His wife of five years, Katie Holmes, filed for divorce in New York rather than California or Colorado, where they had other homes (remember – jurisdiction is important, whether you live in Michigan or Timbuktu). The drama behind the split came from how blindsided Cruise apparently was and how secretly Holmes went about her plans, springing the divorce on him just days before his 50th birthday. The marriage came to a speedy end when Cruise agreed to give Holmes custody of their daughter while retaining generous visitation rights.

Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin

It was the phone call heard ‘round the world – Baldwin’s 2007 voice mail tirade to his then 11-year-old daughter, Ireland, in which he called her a “rude little pig” and other unsavory names. Though the couple divorced in 2002, custody battles over their daughter continued for years, and when this angry message leaked it didn’t garner Baldwin any public sympathy. Initially agreeing to share custody, Basinger allegedly violated the conditions of Baldwin’s visitation rights, the voice mail controversy occurred (which Basinger denied leaking and which temporarily cost Baldwin his visitation rights), and in 2008, Baldwin requested a new custody hearing. Accusations of emotional manipulation came from both sides. Just because divorce papers are signed, that doesn’t mean the battle is over.

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

The beloved former Beatle, Paul McCartney, found love with Heather Mills after the death of his wife of 30 years. But four years later, the marriage was over. McCartney announced their intention to split, but Mills went on the offensive, claiming emotional and physical abuse and doing everything possible to drag McCartney’s name through the mud. McCartney could do no wrong in the public eye, however, and tabloids accused Mills of everything from prostitution to gold-digging. Mills ended up with a $48 million settlement, but considering that McCartney’s assets are around $800 million, she might have done “better” for herself by toning down the dirty divorce dealings.

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards

While no one was necessarily surprised to hear that longtime bad boy Charlie Sheen was splitting from his wife of three years, Denise Richards, the general consensus was that even Hollywood divorces don’t get much uglier than this break-up.  Richards alleged that Sheen was abusive, unfaithful, and addicted to pornography, prostitutes, and gambling. Sheen’s foul and profanity-laced voice mails and emails to his wife surfaced, earning him no public love. Oh, and Richards was also pregnant with the couple’s second child during the apex of this celebrity divorce. Ironically, Richards is now generously caring for Sheen’s twin sons in her own home after the demise of Sheen’s latest marriage.

The Non-Celebrity Divorce

While there are plenty of celeb relationships that bite the dust due to infidelity or other salacious happenings (think Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, or Sandra Bullock and Jesse James), the divorces themselves are rather low-key and wrapped up swiftly. Though the media’s fascination with the downfall of any celeb certainly doesn’t help these couples find peace easily, if ever.

Divorces are never simple – you don’t have to be a celebrity to experience pain, manipulation, or unexpected revelations. It’s our goal to help you navigate any difficulties that may arise as your marriage comes to an end. Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions with Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

Image: Skipper/AP

HourMagazineThere are a range of emotions that surround the divorce process, most often fear of the unknown. While the ending of a marriage is never simple or easy, being tended to by divorce attorneys who understand everything you’re experiencing – emotionally, mentally, and financially – can ease the process.

A Family Law Firm That Treats You Like Family

Family law practices can sometimes operate on a detached level. Some attorneys will look at your marriage and reduce it to numbers and days, eliminating all the very personal elements that comprised this now-ending element of your life. A recent feature in the Detroit area’s Hour magazine exemplifies just how different Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC are from other divorce lawyers.

From parenting time to child support to spousal support and everything in between, the family law specialists at Femminineo Attorneys – Jacob Femminineo, Jr. and Katherine Krysak – guide people through all the issues that accompany their divorce.

“We’re here for you, not only to put the legal aspects of your divorce in place,” says Katherine. “Our goal is to help you put the pieces of your life back together. This is a difficult time and we will provide you the guidance you need, even after your divorce.”

Learn more about Jake and Katherine and the experience of working with Femminineo Attorneys by viewing the entire Hour magazine feature.

Femminineo Attorneys is an east side law firm working in the tri-county area, handling family matters primarily in Macomb County. Contact us to discuss your concerns, questions, and divorce needs.

Depression. young attractive woman with an awful migraineFor many couples, a divorce may feel like a blessing rather than a curse. The dissolution of a marriage can be a release from a union that was unhappy and fraught with difficulties. But just because you want a divorce, even welcome it, counseling can still be a wise choice to help you cope with the new reality that lies ahead.

Post-Divorce: Your New Reality

People differ on their beliefs about counseling. Some are willing to do it before a marriage ends in order to try to save the marriage. Others are completely against the idea of intervention by a mental health professional and they’ll refuse to seek any type of care in this vein, whether before marriage, during marriage, or after a divorce.

Keeping an open mind about the end of a marriage is one of the most successful ways to get through a divorce. Though you may be one of the lucky couples to part amicably and with little stress, that doesn’t mean life is going to be simple from here on out. Now you carry on as a single person, perhaps a single person with children. You are supporting yourself, living a different kind of life, and carving out a new existence for yourself and your family. That can take its toll on anyone’s psyche, and the economic reality of living a very different way than you used to can be taxing.

Give Yourself Permission to Feel

Many people rely on a few close friends or family members to get them through the lows of a divorce and all that’s associated with it. But sometimes it can be incredibly refreshing to speak with an impartial third party who knows nothing about you personally, holds no grudges against your ex, and is looking at your situation with a completely open mind.

Ultimately, even you don’t know how you’re going to react after your divorce is finalized. You may throw a huge party and celebrate your freedom. You may curl into a ball and cry for a week. You may volley between these two extremes or experience a series of emotions from grief to pain to remorse to joy. No matter what your emotions are doing, it’s important to recognize the feelings you’re experiencing and given them the freedom to run their course.

Through the guidance of a mental health professional, you can become even more aware and astute about the emotions that are flooding you – positive and negative alike. You may not want to dwell on your divorce any longer than necessary, but counseling after the ending of a marriage isn’t always about the marriage – it’s not a time to figure out what you did “wrong.”

Divorce is an ending, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and maturity, a time to take inventory of your life – the good, the bad, the mistakes, the successes – and start over. Private therapy will allow you to dwell and sulk when you need to without feeling guilty about burdening a loved one and, most importantly, it can help you find an optimistic, healthy, happy path into the future.

Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions with Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.


Property Damage Michigan DivorceDivorce can be a rocky road, and the Michigan divorce process can lead people to act in ways that might be completely out of character. There are some situations that can’t be helped during the legal dissolution of a marriage, but there are some behaviors that are hard to forgive, hard to ignore, and hard to wiggle out of legally. Take heed.

1. Property Damage

It may feel deliciously sweet to take a baseball bat to your ex’s car, graffiti their house, or torch their clothes, but that does you no good in the long run and could actually cost you more than those few moments of revenge were worth. If you ruin, dispose of, or sell a piece of property that should have been properly divided, you may find yourself on the hook for reimbursement to your former partner.

2. Slander

You know a lot of secrets about your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Be an adult and keep the secrets, especially if they could jeopardize the person’s livelihood. Screwing around with your estranged spouse’s employment will affect you negatively too in the long run, and that doesn’t make you look good in anyone’s eyes. It just makes you look jealous and petty.

3. Social Media Mayhem

Keep your divorce drama offline. Don’t argue in front of all of your “friends” on Facebook and don’t dish about a new love or post pictures of your recent trip to the Bahamas together. Be an adult – especially, if you have any, for the sake of your children – and even consider closing your social media accounts temporarily during your divorce so you won’t be tempted to misbehave, not even with a snarky comment here and there.

4. Using the Kids

Children are not possessions. They are people. Too many couples try to use their kids as bargaining chips to get what they want from a divorce. Make sacrifices for your child and keep the stress and arguing between you and your estranged spouse. Avoid slandering your significant other to your children or trying to sway them in any way. You’ll only be damaging your relationship with your children at the same time you’re trying to ruin your ex’s relationship with them.

5. Hiding Assets

Discovery is part of every Michigan divorce. Rest assured, if you’re trying to hide a major asset – or just happen to “forget” mentioning that extra car, mutual fund, or overseas bank account, it will come back to bite you in the end. Failure to disclose any assets is almost a sure-fire way to lose what you have. It’s better to be forthcoming than to attempt to hide and lose your assets completely.

Femminineo Attorneys is an east side law firm working in the tri-county area, handling family matters primarily in Macomb County. Contact us to discuss your concerns, questions, and divorce needs.

Real People: Caucasian Adult Women Bar Restaurant Drinks Head ShIs it ever a good idea – let alone actually possible – to be friends with your ex’s new spouse? When you divorce someone in Michigan, there are usually plenty of reasons why you no longer care to share your life with them. But that doesn’t mean you can wash your hands of them completely, especially if you have children together. And, eventually, a new stepmom or stepfather is likely to be in the picture.

It’s easier for all parties involved if you make an effort to get along with your ex’s new spouse – and it’s especially easier on the kids. But wanting to do something and being able to actually pull it off are two completely different animals. Let’s just put it this way: If you’re not BFFs with your ex’s new spouse, don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong – it would actually be unusual for you to genuinely like each other and get along. You’re putting far too much pressure on yourself if you try to force a relationship: getting drinks with your ex’s spouse one-on-one would be a rare occurrence; making an effort to hang out amicably at your child’s hockey game is, well, expected.

Take the High Road After Your Michigan Divorce

The most that you need to demand of yourself is to be polite and pleasant to your ex’s spouse – and do it in the best interests of your children. Remember, you’re not the only one who went through this divorce. Your kids are experiencing their own feelings, and now they’re learning how to cope with yet another parent figure in their life, perhaps unwanted or unliked. As much as it may secretly please you to know that your kids aren’t crazy about your ex’s new significant other, keep your glee to yourself and encourage your children to be respectful, open-minded, and patient (and model good behavior by following your own advice).

On the flip side, perhaps your children are absolutely in love with your ex’s new partner. That can be a hard pill to swallow, but being rude or mean to the new husband or wife isn’t going to make you feel any better about yourself or the situation. It can hurt to think that another adult has managed to snag a piece of your child’s adoration, but try to look at things optimistically: Wouldn’t you rather your child feel comfortable and safe with someone they’re inevitably going to be spending a lot of time with?

Give Yourself the Freedom to Feel

You are at liberty to feel unfriendly toward your ex’s new spouse, but if you want to make your life easier, you’ll do your best to save the anger, frustration, or irritation you’re processing for meetings with your therapist, closest friends, or clergyman. Work out the negative emotions before they eat you alive, or come screaming out of you at the least appropriate time.

The least of your worries at this point is whether you have a new friend in your ex’s spouse. It’s hard enough to make friends as an adult – trying to find people who share common interests, hobbies, or personalities – let alone forcing a (potentially unwanted) relationship with the new man or woman in your former spouse’s life.

Femminineo Attorneys is an east side law firm working in the tri-county area, handling family matters primarily in Macomb County. Contact us to discuss your concerns, questions, and divorce needs and to schedule your free initial interview.

back to school.happy asian mother with daughter in schoolIf you thought it was tough managing a successful co-parenting schedule during the summer, September will initiate newly divorced Michigan parents into the reality of a really-can’t-be-altered back-to-school routine. Even if you’ve been divorced for some time, these tips can help you cope with the complicated school schedule so that you don’t go crazy and your kids don’t get shortchanged in the process.

1. Plan Ahead, Way Ahead

Perhaps the last thing you want to do is spend more time with your ex-spouse, but it’s necessary to get all the key players in one place armed with calendars and smartphones. Plan the entire school year, from the first day to the last day, including pick-ups, drop-offs, in-service days, school breaks, holidays, and weekends (and don’t forget about extracurricular activities). There will of course be changes along the way, but at least you’ll be honoring your child custody agreement and have a rough draft from which to begin so everyone knows where they’re supposed to be and when.

2. Talk to the Teachers

Whether your child is in grade school or junior high in Mt. Clemens or elsewhere in Michigan, having a brief pow-wow with their teacher(s) can help eliminate confusion and perhaps eliminate any problems before they occur. Simple awareness can enable a teacher to shift their perspective to understand any unusual behavioral changes in your child. That doesn’t mean your kid will get away with acting out (or being withdrawn and uncommunicative), but your teacher will at least have a point of reference so they know how to proceed.

3. Initiate a Backpack Rule

Your child will be going back and forth between two residences and that means a lot of school stuff needs to go right along with them. Designate a backpack that is always with them, no matter whose house they’re going to for Michigan parenting time, and make sure your child is responsible for keeping it stocked with all their necessary school items and must-haves. It’ll help your kid feel a little more grounded and they’ll never be stuck at one house or another without a crucial textbook or personal item.

4. Get on the Lists

Maybe there was one spouse who took care of all the school responsibilities when you were married, but now that you’re divorced the situation has changed. Both parents need to be on all school email lists and mailing lists so that they both receive the same information about their child and any school happenings.

5. Communicate with Your Ex

You chose to have children with your ex-spouse, and that will always keep you connected, especially when your children are young and still in school. While your divorce may not necessarily have been amicable, for the sake of your children, be the adults and communicate with each other directly about all things involving school. Don’t expect your child to be the messenger. Thankfully, there are such things as texts and emails so you can get most of your back-and-forth done without always having to be face-to-face or speak on the phone.

Just as complicated as navigating the back-to-school season post-split is managing a divorce in progress when your children are headed back to the classrooms. Discuss your Mt. Clemens, Michigan, divorce questions with Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

African American Girl Child Colorful Plastic BallsParenting time can be fraught with complications. Ideally, you and your former spouse have worked out a fluid system that allows you both to spend a reasonable amount of time with your children during the week, on weekends, and on holidays. But there may be one unexpected speed bump to overcome: where to exchange the children.

There are many logical reasons to choose a neutral meeting place to exchange your children. Maybe your ex doesn’t want to drop the kids off at the home you formerly shared as an entire family because it’s painful for them, and also for the children to see them there in a non-permanent capacity. One party many not want to drop off the kids at their ex’s new place because that person’s new partner is always there and it’s uncomfortable seeing them. Or maybe in the divorce the exes have set up homes that are quite far away from each other and it would just be easier to meet in the middle.

To avoid the above scenarios, consider one of these four neutral meeting places to exchange the kids with your ex:

  1. School. This is the easiest way for your child to get from one parent to another. The exes never have to see each other, they need only agree on who’s picking up the child on which day. For your child, the routine is maintained and it’s simply a matter of knowing whether mom or dad will be waiting after the final school bell rings.
  2. Fast food restaurant. If you’re choosing to meet at a food spot, make it a fast food place so there is no suffering through a meal with your ex or waiting for the check to arrive. If you’re not a big fast food family, this could be an occasional exchange spot that makes the passing between mom and dad easier for your child as it’s smoothed over by a small treat they might not normally have.
  3. The mall. If you can use the mall as a neutral place without succumbing to buying your child something each time an exchange occurs, this can be a great neutral place to meet your ex. Should your former partner be known for causing a scene during exchanges, this meeting ground offers plenty of witnesses which may help tame any bizarre or undesirable behavior.
  4. Public park. If you want to exchange the children with little eye contact and no more than a “hello” or “goodbye” with your ex, a public park is one way to get your kids where they need to be without having to interact much with your ex. Your children will be distracted by the slides, swings, and other diversions, and you can make your escape quickly.

The goal in all of this should be to protect your children from any negativity you and your ex may still have between you and to maintain consistency and stability in the lives of your children. The kids shouldn’t become casualties of your emotional or verbal war so, for their sake, your relationship with your ex should become more of a business relationship than anything else. Drop-off and pick-up times should not be considered an opportunity to discuss anything regarding the children or the divorce – that’s what private emails, phone calls, or even third-party mediation are for.

If your ex is extremely difficult to reason with when it comes to picking up or dropping off your children, or if their behavior during the exchange is overly demonstrative or unacceptable, it may be necessary to consult with your Michigan divorce attorney. If you’re in the process of finalizing your divorce, you may want your custody agreement to specify neutral locations where you can exchange the children.

Femminineo Attorneys is an east side law firm working in the tri-county area, handling family matters primarily in Macomb County. Contact us to discuss your concerns, questions, and divorce needs and to schedule your free initial interview.

BrideGroomSmile2Forget the idea of a “starter marriage.” Some Michigan residents are done after one try at marriage – and one unpleasant divorce. They are more than happy to stay single forever, cohabitate, or simply just date.

According to a new data analysis released by Bowling Green State University, the remarriage rate in the United States has dropped 40 percent over the past two decades. And USA Today reports that only 29 of every 1,000 divorced or widowed Americans decided to tie the knot again in 2011. In 1990, that number was 50 per 1,000.

Why so jaded?

Reasons People Stay Single After a Michigan Divorce

Every person will have their own set of very personal reasons for avoiding marriage in the future if the first one crumbled. But many people do cite some of the following explanations for their reticence to say, “I do” ever again:

Financial toll: Divorce is not necessarily cheap. If you’re paying spousal support and child support, you may already be extended to the max. Taking on another wedding, a spouse, and all the things that come with a new marriage – home, cars, perhaps more children – is a hefty responsibility. Some divorced individuals in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, are simply trying to stay above water until their legal and financial obligations are completed or minimized (by children coming of age or their ex remarrying, for example).

Exhaustion: Divorce, no matter how amicable, no matter how wanted by both parties, isn’t easy. You’ve shared your life with a person and now you are splitting it down the middle, determining who gets what like you’re making a wedding gift registry… except now it’s a divorce “registry.” Suddenly things that had no meaning now take on a truly new definition of “his” or “hers.” The emotional toll, the need to think about how divorce is going to affect each and every aspect of your life – it can be truly exhausting. And it can make a person think twice about ever having to go through it again.

Emotional distress: Some people divorce because of infidelity or other unfortunate breaks in trust. Emotionally, some individuals just don’t want to risk their heart again. They’d rather have the benefits of marriage by cohabiting with someone without the legal constraints. And they want to make the daily choice to be committed to the new person in their life, rather than feeling legally obligated to stay with them because of a marriage certificate.

The Chances of Marrying a Second Time in Michigan

So what are the odds for people who do take that leap of faith a second time and remarry? New research suggests that those who have been divorced once are less likely to stay in an unhappy marriage the second time. Many people who do decide to remarry again may prepare for the marriage differently, seeking out prenuptial agreements or other legal paperwork that can save them from another potentially painful, messy, or expensive divorce in the future.

The biggest reasons for marriage failure after the first try? Two factors complicate things: kids and money. The Brady Bunch made it look easy, but combining two very separate families into one new unit – when people have long been used to their own customs, traditions, and habits – takes a lot of getting used to for all parties involved, even if you have adult children.

If you’d like to discuss your Michigan divorce, the ramifications of a remarriage on your financial status, or the possibility of drafting a prenuptial agreement, consult with your Mt. Clemens divorce attorney at Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to discuss all of your concerns, questions, and divorce needs.

She Like it!Is Facebook an online destination for you to brag about your kids, stalk former classmates, or promote your business? For some people, Facebook and other social networking sites have become more than just a way to reconnect with blasts from the past or to market their product or service. For many, Facebook is an outlet – a place to play away from real life. And the consequences are leading to the demise of many a relationship, in Michigan and beyond.

A study from the University of Missouri being published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking has found that Facebook could be damaging users’ romantic relationships. Facebook users, ages 18 to 82, were surveyed to determine how often they use Facebook and if their frequency on the site caused conflict to arise between themselves and current or former partners. Excessive Facebook users (identified as people who check the site more than hourly!) are more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict with their partner, which could lead to cheating (offline) and divorce.

The Excessive Use of Facebook

The head researcher on the study says, “Previous research has shown that the more a person in a romantic relationship uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner’s Facebook activity more stringently, which can lead to feelings of jealousy.” This, in turn, can lead to arguments about past partners. Because Facebook users are more likely to reconnect with previous partners via Facebook, this can make emotional and physical cheating far more likely… though there is a caveat.

The findings held only for couples who had been in a relationship of three years or less. Perhaps relationships that are more matured mean couples may not use Facebook as often or simply feel confident in their marriage and believe this social network is not a concern or threat.

Facebook has been linked to divorce in previous studies as well. The New York Daily News reported that Facebook was named in a third of divorce filings in 2011. And a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 80 percent of divorce lawyers reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of infidelity.

Social Media, Your Smartphone, and Michigan Divorce

Michigan is a no-fault state, so even if you know or believe that Facebook has led your marriage into divorce, you cannot technically claim that your spouse is to blame. Problematic behaviors can be identified as leading to a marriage’s end, however, and the use of Facebook, Twitter, and even texting – via computer or smartphone – may be admissible for your Michigan divorce case. Facts such as these could impact child custody, parenting time, and spousal support.

Worried about your own digital trail? Believe your spouse’s online habits have ruined your relationship? Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions and concerns with Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

FiguringOutFutureIt’s easy to assume that people choose to cheat with a person who’s more attractive, thinner, sexier, or in better shape than their spouse. But this assumption is not always accurate, at least not 100 percent, and at least not according to Victoria Milan, a dating site for married people who want to have an affair.

In a poll of their 4,000+ members, the website discovered that most site users actually consider their significant other to be more attractive than their affair partner. And it’s not just in the looks department. Of male respondents, only 30 percent cheated with women younger than their current partner, and only 25 percent found their mistresses in better shape or more interesting than their partner.

When Did Online Dating Become Online Cheating?

Regardless of the statistics surrounding the behavior of those who cheat, one of the more disturbing aspects of this information is, yet again, how the internet is inflicting harm on relationships. Online dating seemed to be for single people – at the start. But niche sites like Victoria Milan and Ashley Madison are catering to individuals who have consciously chosen to be an adulterer.

In the many relationships that have imploded because of infidelity, the person who cheated may often say, “It just happened.” But the premeditation that accompanies joining, perusing, and following through on these online dating/cheating sites is impossible to ignore.

What’s Really Behind Cheating

So what’s wrong with marriages today that deliberately cheating through online opportunities is the direction people are turning instead of opting for marriage counseling or simply an open conversation with their partner? In this survey, men admitted that they found their mistresses more passionate, better listeners, and more caring than their significant others.

Does that mean women become less caring or less affectionate in long-term relationships, prompting a man to cheat? If that’s where someone wants to put the blame, then it could be said that men become lazy in relationships – physically and emotionally. The cheating site survey found that 50 percent of female respondents said their lovers were in better shape (though women also cited better listening skills and more passion as incentives). And a staggering 89.6 percent of women actively cheating indicated that the new man in their life makes them feel more appreciated than their significant other.

Infidelity and Your Michigan Divorce

Though Michigan is a no-fault state and infidelity cannot outright be claimed as the end of a marriage, behaviors or actions of your soon-to-be-ex can be identified as the cause of a union’s end and may be admissible in certain circumstances during your Michigan divorce case. These are the kind of facts that speak to a person’s character and could easily have an impact on how child custody, parenting time, and spousal support shake down.

Discuss your Macomb County, Michigan, divorce questions and concerns with Femminineo Attorneys. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

Men and Women After DivorceAs the saying goes, men are from Mars and women are from Venus. And it seems to hold true that, in some respects, the way men and women behave following a divorce differs just as much as how the two sexes act while courting a potential partner and when in a relationship.

Men Date Sooner Than Women After a Michigan Divorce

Men are more likely to date after their marriage has ended. Often nicknamed “rebound” relationships, these interactions are nevertheless legitimate (though they may not have much longevity). Why do men get out there sooner than women?  Turns out, men are more likely to deal with negative feelings like hurt and anger by distracting themselves with the dating scene and the new life ahead of them.

Women, on the other hand, are more inclined to hash out what went wrong in their marriage – whether alone, through self-help books, with friends, or with a therapist – and figure out how to deal with the barrage of emotions that accompany divorce.

These behaviors do not indicate that men are more emotionally stable than women. In fact, a survey of over 3,500 divorced adults found that 46 percent of women felt liberated after a divorce compared to only 37 percent of men. Sadly, 7 percent of men also said they felt suicidal, compared to 3 percent of women.

Divorced Men with Kids Likelier to Experience an Increase in Income

Financially speaking, men may fare better than women after a divorce, not necessarily because of spousal support or child support agreements that veer in their favor, but because men are less likely to have children to look after the majority of the time. This arrangement can allow a divorced man to focus on his career which is more likely to result in an increased income. Mothers, on the other hand, often end up suffering with severe financial issues.

Ultimately, every person reacts to divorce in their own unique way, man or woman. There is no “best” way to deal with the dissolution of a marriage. Work with a Mt. Clemens, Michigan, divorce attorney to learn the right ways for you to cope with the challenges ahead. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

How divorce affects your kidsDivorce comes with its own special brand of parental guilt. Alas, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University College London has found that divorce may be affecting your children even more than you realize.

The Physical and Emotional Tolls of Divorce on Your Children

In short, children of divorce may be more susceptible to certain types of health problems later in life. For people whose parents divorced before their children reached age 16, the kids had significantly higher levels of C-reaction protein, which is a blood marker of inflammation that’s associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease.

But it might not be the divorce itself that’s causing children harm, rather the social and environmental circumstances and disadvantages surrounding divorce. In fact, economic hardships and fewer educational opportunities may be the culprits behind these health problems.

This new information comes on the heels of a 2011 study that found children of divorce are more likely to contemplate suicide later in life than the children of parents who stay married. A more recent study also found that children who were under the age of five when their parents divorced had a greater level of insecurity in their parental relationships than kids whose parents divorced when they were older.

4 neutral places to exchange the kids with your ex >>

Divorce Affects Children in a Multitude of Ways

Recent reports have also noted the following effects of divorce on children:

And, not surprisingly, children of divorced parents have a greater chance of getting divorced themselves. Though they may aspire to a strong relationship, children of divorce are more likely to marry young and more likely to marry someone who also comes from a divorced family – kind of a double whammy before the marriage even begins.

Work with a Mt. Clemens, Michigan, divorce attorney to navigate your Michigan divorce successfully and with as little impact on your children as possible. Contact us to schedule your free initial interview.

Infertility and divorceCouples get divorced because of infidelity, because of addictions, because they’ve grown apart. Now, one more common reason that marriages end is because of infertility.

A new Danish study focusing on couples undergoing fertility treatments found that couples who are unsuccessful at conceiving a child after many years of trying are three times more likely to divorce than couples who do succeed. The grief of failed IVF lingers, with a Swedish study reporting that people continue to grieve three years after the unsuccessful attempts to conceive.

Blindsided by Infertility

The majority of couples enter into a marriage with their minds made up about whether or not they will have children together. Encountering unexpected conception obstacles can be a big blow to the foundation of a relationship and can destroy a union that never anticipated the prospect of being childless.

Some couples who remain infertile may stay married because they have weathered a common hardship together, bringing them closer together. But any couple who has faced infertility, in any of its many forms, knows the stress that this challenge can place on a relationship. Feelings of failure, inadequacy, despair, and anger are common reactions to infertility, and these feelings can be projected onto a partner. Women in particular are most prone to depression, low self-esteem, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness following failed fertility treatments. Research has shown that if one partner suffers from depression it can negatively affect the marital satisfaction for both people.

Relationship Stressors With or Without Children

The good news is that having a baby after experiencing fertility issues actually seems to improve a couple’s chances of staying together. But, of course, having children also places its own unique stressors on a relationship.

Ultimately, every relationship takes hard work, and unwanted challenges will be encountered along the way. Some couples choose marital counseling to help them manage difficulties that arise in their union. Other pairs are prepared to call it quits whether they’ve opted for counseling or not.

If you’re in the process of searching for a divorce attorney, contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview.

Conscious UncouplingCelebrity divorces are big news, and when one famous couple is able to make their divorce even more interesting by giving it a new name, well that’s a situation worth investigating a little further. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin recently announced their split, and identified the end of their relationship as a “conscious uncoupling.” Can you do the same in your Michigan divorce?

What Is Conscious Uncoupling?

Conscious uncoupling is a term that’s been around for quite a while. Essentially, it urges people to reflect upon the part they have played in their marriage and how their behavior has led to the union’s demise rather than placing all blame on their partner. While there is also a lot of psycho-babble surrounding the longer definition of the term, the ultimate takeaway is that it’s actually a refreshing way to split up, particularly since the majority of divorces involve finger-pointing and ill will.

Conscious uncoupling may lead to the question: Is there such a thing as unconscious uncoupling? Perhaps some divorces could be categorized as unconscious; many couples go through the motions of divorce, just trying to survive the emotional and mental strain of the ordeal. Self-reflection isn’t easy in the best of times, let alone in the throes of a divorce.

We are all built to protect ourselves, and divorce inevitably leaves even the toughest person in a vulnerable position. No one wants to feel so raw. But rather than looking down upon another celebrity “trend,” it might be possible to accept this way of breaking up as something to emulate in your own Michigan divorce. Especially since, in the state of Michigan, all divorces are considered no fault divorces.

Divorce affects your kids far more than you may realize >>

Conscious Uncoupling for the Sake of the Children

For couples with children, the idea of conscious uncoupling can lead to a much easier management of parenting time and child custody. The approach is enlightened, and could certainly make splitting up far less of a strain on your family, but how feasible is it? You want to show your children that you as parents can still get along, and you undoubtedly want to find ways that will make the situation less stressful for them. But it’s also important to be true to yourself in the time of divorce, to allow yourself to be angry at times, sad at others, and even happy.

Ultimately, each divorce is different. Our goal is to help you through this challenging transition with as few speed bumps as possible, no matter how amicable or unharmonious your uncoupling may be. Contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview.

Photo credit: Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Healthy co-parenting after Michigan divorceWhen your marriage produces children, divorce becomes that much more complicated. There are of course the legal issues like parenting time, custody, and child support to work out, but you also have to remember that your kids are just kids. They don’t need to be involved in the nitty-gritty details of your divorce. Even though you’re legally ending your union, you and your ex-spouse will always have a relationship because of your children. You can make the best of a difficult situation by developing and honoring rules for healthy co-parenting.

1. Communicate

This seems like a no-brainer, but when a divorce is far more contentious than amicable, good communication is typically the first thing to go. You can’t expect your divorce lawyer or a judge to be the mediator when your child has a problem with bullies or bad grades. These are issues for parents to manage with each other. You don’t have to talk with your ex face-to-face every time there is a concern about your children. Use text or email to keep the lines of communication open and don’t shut the other person down. Your children are the ones who will suffer most if you put up a wall just for the sake of being spiteful or because you still harbor ill will toward your ex-spouse.

2. Treat your children as children

An extension of the directive to communicate with your ex, this tip simply means that you are the adult and your children are the kids. Let them act their age and live their lives without putting the onus on them to relay specific messages to your former spouse. It’s not their job to talk to your ex about money, for example. If you have concerns about issues such as child support, talk to your Michigan divorce attorney about income withholding. Don’t trash-talk your ex to your children either – you’re both still the parents and authority figures. Demeaning each other will only sour relationships across the board – your kids don’t deserve that kind of stress.

Divorce affects kids more than you think >>

3. Develop a schedule

When your children are in school, parenting time can become very complicated. Will they have two of everything at each home? Will they need certain school supplies on certain days of the week? What’s the daily routine? Who’s picking up the kids and when? What’s the school calendar? Make sure your child’s school knows to communicate with both parents but, again, don’t expect them to do the lion’s share of the communicating. Develop a schedule with your ex and agree to go over it with your children and stick to it.

If you and your ex are having trouble co-parenting your children amicably, then maybe a mediator is necessary. When you have concerns about your former spouse’s accountability, be sure to ask your divorce lawyer to develop a divorce settlement that legally requires both parties to care properly for your children financially, emotionally, and physically. Contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview and get answers to all of your divorce questions.

High Price of InfidelityEver reminisce about the “good old days,” when there were Beaver Cleaver families and white picket fences and mistresses who called the home phone and hung up if her paramour didn’t answer? Sounds quaint, but infidelity was a touch more difficult to perfect in the past. Today’s indiscretions are accomplished much more easily, often when people are sitting or lying right next to their spouse. With the ultimate cheating tools at your fingertips – smartphones and social media in particular – there has been an enormous rise in marital infidelity. It’s cheating made easy. But no matter how a person might go about being unfaithful to their spouse, the fact is that infidelity can be expensive, very expensive. And that’s before it might even lead to an equally expensive divorce.

The Infidelity Shopping List

A recent survey conducted by a U.K. retail company researching American spending habits found that the average affair lasts six months and costs a little over $2,600 total. Expenses accounted for included hotel bills, dinner, drinks, gifts, and activities, like going to the movies.

Experts say, however, that there is far more to be factored into this total amount, like secret cell phones, secret credit cards, and airline tickets. Forget about the two grand over the estimated life of an affair; for some cheating couples, hotel rooms alone can cost $2,500 per week. And then there are the relationships which involve paying for a mistress’s apartment and living expenses. The cost of cheating can be astronomical.

When Cheating Leads to Divorce

Though Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, infidelity clearly is the culprit behind many a divorce. Ultimately, one person’s indiscretions can impact a divorce settlement… sometimes for the better for the spouse who was cheated on. The cheater may overpay in the settlement to avoid the messy aftermath of an affair, to feel less guilty, and to avoid the embarrassment of testifying to their behaviors or getting their new love involved.

Of course, the biggest cost of infidelity isn’t monetary but emotional. Breaking a person’s trust, affecting their self-esteem, making them crazy wondering what signs they might have missed, causing them to worry about what could have been done differently to prevent the affair… it’s all a complicated jumble of anger and sadness and confusion. But the person having the affair can feel the same emotions, struggle with the lying they did, feel shame, and have difficulty coming to terms with knowing they hurt someone they once loved. Even if you can get past the scarring that infidelity inflicts and maintain your marital relationship, the effects will be long-lasting, and it’s very likely that the trust will never be 100 percent secure again.

Clearly, you know your spouse best – or, you may think you do. Cheating can bring on unusual behaviors and just change the overall feeling of a relationship, like a spouse who is suddenly overly involved or seems detached or absent. Basically, straying from the norm can be a sign of cheating. If infidelity has led your relationship into divorce, contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview.

Divorce can affect your jobDivorce affects people emotionally, mentally, and financially. And all of these side effects can impact your professional life. They might even, in the worst cases, cost you your job. No one wants to allow their personal life to seep into their job responsibilities, but a divorce can be all-encompassing and compartmentalizing what you’re dealing with in that situation is certainly a challenge. How can you stay on track so that you don’t lose your employment while you’re ending your marriage?

Be Forthcoming, to a Point

You don’t need to tell everyone in your professional circle that you’re getting a divorce, but it does help to tell the people with whom you interact daily and, especially, your boss. Divorce is common. Your colleagues may have been through a divorce themselves or at least know someone who has. There is empathy to be found. Ask for it before you need it so that it doesn’t seem as though you’re using your divorce as an excuse for missed deadlines, coming in late, or permanent distraction. You may even find that your superior is willing to adjust your work load temporarily so that you can get through your divorce with a little less stress.

Just say no to the DIY divorce >>

Readjust Your Hours

Your entire life will change because of your divorce, so expect your work routine to change as well. If you have children, your parenting time arrangements may now have you responsible for picking your kids up or dropping them off at new times for school, daycare, or activities. You may be moving to a new place which could add time to your commute. However, you will still have to put in the same amount of time for work. Without getting into the dirty details of your divorce, speak with whomever you need to so that you can satisfactorily rearrange your schedule – perhaps with a flexible telework agreement – with minimal disruption to your daily work duties.

Choose Confidants Carefully

It can be tempting to vent to your coworkers about what your spouse is doing to drive you crazy or to make your divorce difficult, how the kids are misbehaving because of the split or how you’re going to have to sell your investment property to reach a divorce settlement. Everyone who is willing to listen at the office is not necessarily on your side. Some workplaces are competitive, and if there is a promotion up for grabs or an evaluation around the corner, you could lose out because of your oversharing. And a frenemy may take the opportunity to point out where you’re slacking and why they should get a bonus or better office over you and your “drama.” Also worth noting: Keep your divorce details off of social media.

Study says: Men are more likely to drink after divorce >>

Watch Your Finances

You have a job now, but is it enough to see you through this divorce? Some people may find themselves having to take on other jobs in order to make ends meet. Don’t allow this need to affect your main source of income. Divorce is easily accompanied by poor financial decisions, like attempting to keep the family home even though you can’t afford it, or splurging on unnecessary purchases or trips to make yourself feel better about the divorce. From the moment your divorce begins, you would be wise to create a strict budget – with the help of a divorce financial analyst if necessary – so that you can ensure you won’t be stretched so thin that you can’t maintain the job you currently have.

The tax implications of your Michigan divorce >>

Planning for Every Stage of Divorce

Your divorce will not be easy, and there may be mental strain involved which can certainly impact your working life as well. Be quick about seeking the support you need while reassuring your coworkers that this too shall pass. Your new normal will eventually become normal and everyone will understand when you have to go to a school event or a legal meeting or even a therapy appointment. You don’t have to attempt to keep it all together on your own – contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview today and discuss the course of your divorce.

Telling the kids you're getting a divorceFor many kids, their parents’ divorce may come as no surprise. Children are pretty observant, whether you and your spouse are openly arguing, not communicating at all, or giving off vibes of dislike and disgust. Nevertheless, the finality of hearing, “We’re getting a divorce,” from your mouths can be gut-wrenching to a child, no matter their age.

Telling the kids you’re getting a divorce isn’t easy, and it’s a conversation that any parent dreads. Take the time to practice your delivery and prepare yourself for a variety of responses – and questions – from your children.

1. Manage Your Own Emotions

Divorce can make you feel out of control in so many ways, and you no doubt spend many of your days trying to keep your wits together to spare your kids from the anger, resentment, sadness, and frustration you feel. Make sure those emotions are completely in check when you break the divorce news to your kids so you can allow them the room to feel what they need to feel. Listen to their responses, acknowledge their feelings, and accept how they feel. Be as even-keeled as you can possibly be for the sake of your children so they can manage their own emotions and not be consumed by your tears or worries. Let them know everything is under control and that you are both there for them. How you respond in this moment will set the stage for the relationship you have with your children from here on out.

3 tips for healthy co-parenting >>

2. Choose a Neutral Location

When the time comes to break the divorce news to your children, be strategic about where you choose to deliver this information. Your children will forever remember this moment so you’ll want to avoid doing it at a time or place that’s particularly meaningful to them. Avoid breaking the news close to birthdays or major holidays. Don’t choose an especially happy moment in the hopes that their joy over something else – an exceptional grade, a team win – will cancel out the heartbreaking news of divorce. And don’t corner them in the car or in an area where they have no opportunity to get away and begin processing this information on their own. At home is usually the best place to talk about divorce – at least your children can escape to their rooms.

Successfully blending families during the holidays >>

3. Give Them Answers

Some children may respond to their parents’ divorce news with silence. Others may have more questions than you can possibly answer. Do not mistake the former response as disinterest and do not believe the latter response to be acceptance. Every child is different – as you very well know by now – and their processing of this news will manifest in various ways. Don’t lie. Don’t put them off. Be as honest as you possibly can and explain what’s happening as simply as possible. Your children needn’t be bogged down with the financial details or settlement concerns, but they’re going to want answers to questions like: Where am I going to live? Are we keeping the house? Does this mean we won’t see both of you on Christmas? Will I still go to the same school?

4 neutral places to exchange the kids with your ex >>

Whatever areas of the divorce affect your children, talk to them about it. You will have to make the big decisions yourself concerning parenting time and child custody so that you can do what’s best for your family. In many ways, your children will have to concede to your choices, so be understanding if they rebel, argue, or spew hate. Be prepared too for tears, depression, or anxiety. Above all, don’t drop the divorce news on your children then go about your daily lives as though nothing has changed. Check in with your children regularly to make sure they’re managing, and get them help if they’re not

If you’re ready to begin the divorce process, contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview today.

Retirement after divorceDivorce can have your worry focused on the present and immediate future, but what about five years from now? Ten? Thirty? What will your finances look like when it’s time for your kids to go to college, get married, or – most especially – when it’s time for you to retire? Will you even be able to retire the way you always dreamed you would? 

Gary Plessl and Kevin Houser, certified financial planners and authors of The Book on Retirement: Are You Ready for The Second Half of Your Financial Life?, 10 ways you can plan for retirement after divorce and ease the financial impact of divorce on the rest of your life:

1. Establish a solid non-IRA cash fund.

Make sure you can weather a six- to 12-month storm such as an illness or job transition. Unfortunately, life has a funny way of throwing unexpected events at us at the wrong times, so be ready by having cash outside of retirement funds that you can access without penalty.

2. Change primary and contingent beneficiary information.

Make this switch on all retirement accounts, insurance policies, and all pension information so that they no longer include your ex, even if you’re still receiving spousal support.

4 ways to get organized before you divorce >>

3. Change your estate planning documents.

Focus especially on any clauses that might relate to, “If I die, then this happens….” If you get divorced but forget to make these important changes, your ex will still be able to make these important decisions if you’re not able to.

4. Review POA documents.

Make sure that all Power of Attorney (POA) privileges for your former spouse are revoked at all financial institutions.

Your divorce affects your child’s chances of receiving financial aid for college >>

5. Play catch-up, in a good way.

If you’re over age 50 at the end of the year, utilize the catch-up provision for 401(k) and IRA accounts. In 2015, for example, catch-up provisions on 401(k) accounts are capped at $6,000 and for IRAs it is $1,000.

6. Budget.

The best way to prepare a budget for retirement is to establish a hierarchy of what’s important to you and allocate your dollars that way. Maybe you want more time to travel, money for your grandkids’ college education, or an extra cash reserve. Whatever it is, budget for and save specifically for these items.

7. Make trustee changes.

When it comes to a trust, remember that it is the trustees who must make the decisions about what happens to the property, not the settlors or beneficiaries. Carefully consider your future successor appointment and future trustee appointments.

8. Review Social security provisions.

You will be able to claim the greater of either your personal benefits or half of your former spouse’s when it comes time to collect Social Security, but you aren’t allowed to claim both. And if you remarry, you can no longer claim your former spouse’s Social Security.

The tax implications of your Michigan divorce >>

9. Establish your own credit.

When you’re divorced, the last thing you want to do is keep joint financial accounts. Open your own bank accounts, get your own credit card, and work on improving your individual credit.

10. Hire a financial advisor.

You would be wise to seek out a financial advisor at the same time you hire a divorce attorney – don’t wait until after the divorce. Allow your financial and legal experts to work together to devise a fair settlement for both parties.

The financial element of divorce can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to deal with spousal support, child support, and the division of assets. Seek out the wisdom of an experienced Michigan divorce attorney. Contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview today.

financial infidelityLove and money do not always go together like a horse and carriage. In fact, money can often be the death blow to love and marriage. Whether couples disagree about how their money is saved or spent, or whether financial infidelity has put a kink in the union, both situations can lead to a bitter divorce.

A Hot Incentive for Figuring Out the Dollars and Cents

Twenty percent of couples surveyed say they would have sex more often if they had more money, according to financial security expert Pamela Yellen, author of The Bank on Yourself Revolution. She created a love and money self-assessment to help couples figure out if they’re financially compatible and, along the way, discovered that financial stress causes problems in almost 70 percent of relationships.

What kind of financial sins do couples commit? They keep spending secrets, hide purchases they make, lie about the price of items they buy, and – gulp – even steal money from their partner’s wallet without permission.

When your divorce affects your professional life >>

Are You a Victim of Financial Infidelity?

For couples who can’t get past the dirty money secrets their significant other has engaged in, divorce may be imminent. But if you haven’t gotten quite that far yet and you’re at the point where you’re trying to determine whether you’re sticking with your partner for the long haul, there are signs to look for that may indicate whether financial infidelity is occurring:

  • A sudden change in regular income
  • Opening new accounts without consulting you first
  • New spending patterns
  • Excessive shopping
  • Signing documents without your consent

In the broadest terms, financial infidelity can include hiding assets, hiding debts, and gambling problems. Essentially, financial infidelity is cheating, and not being completely honest about this situation can put a stake in your marriage. If you live in a household where one of you bears the brunt of managing your bills and accounts, this can be a recipe for disaster if you don’t have open communication about your finances on a regular basis.

10 ways to plan for retirement after divorce >>

Reinstating Financial Solid Ground

Perhaps a financial evaluation of one’s goals and beliefs where dollars are concerned is the kind of thing that should be a requirement before every marriage? After all, Yellen found that almost half of survey respondents never discussed finances before committing to their relationship – yikes.

If financial infidelity is at the root of your divorce, you no doubt have concerns about whether or not your soon-to-be former spouse will be able to manage child support and spousal support. When lying played a central role in your relationship, you need the support of a divorce attorney. Contact an experienced Michigan divorce attorney at Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview.

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