We Americans love lots of things. We love to fall in love, we love to get married, we “love” to get divorced, and we love to move. Almost all of us fall in love (at the very least with our pets), almost all of us get married, almost half of us who get married get divorced, and almost half of us born in one state end up living in another. When our country was formed none of this was true. Marriage was near universal, divorce was unheard of, and most people stayed put.
State rights, one of our nation’s founding principles, made sense back then. It makes far less sense today. But your state of residence determines all kinds of things. These include the penalties for crimes you commit, how much you pay in taxes, how much you can collect in welfare, what you can leave your children when you die, where you can buy beer, whether you can smoke pot, whether you can readily get an abortion, and the list goes on.
One of the biggest issues some married couples face when they move across state lines is how they will fare if they get divorced. (And, again, almost half will untie the knot.) The answer may be far better or far worse depending on the state and even the county in which you reside. I say “may,” because if you reach an amicable settlement, that settlement may be legally approved no matter where you live. But if you have a contested divorce and end up leaving it up to a judge, she’ll likely apply state or county guidelines that can be very different depending on the state or country. Indeed, since only a few states and counties in the country have formal guidelines, the guidelines are mostly those set by the local judge. These judges are, of course, influenced primarily by what other judges in their locality and state are doing.
Why ‘brutal’ divorce laws must change in White LakeChecklist: Issues To Discuss With Your Divorce Attorney Download article as a PDF Divorce is complicated - legally, financially, and emotionally. Dividing up property a couple has acquired throughout their marriage (also known as marital property) can be one of the most contentious aspects of divorce. Luckily, divorce attorneys can help alleviate some of your legal and financial stresses by advocating for a division of property that works in your favor. If you have decided to retain a divorce attorney, you can help save your attorney time (and save yourself some money) by gathering important legal and financial documents together before meeting with your attorney. Doing this ahead of time gives your attorney an immediate and useful overview of the property and assets likely to be at issue in your case. Most importantly, it allows the two of you to work together to secure your short and long-term interests. The checklists below can give you and idea of what topics and documents come up in discussions with a divorce attorney. Be Prepared to Discuss Issues Relating to Children ____ Child support ____ Child custody, legal ____ Child custody, physical ____ Visitation with non-custodial parent ____ Grandparent visitation ____ Visitation with stepchildren ____ Health insurance for children ____ Dental insurance for children ____ Uninsured health care costs ____ College education ____ Residence in the marital homestead ____ Beneficiaries of life insurance policies ____ Claiming children as dependents for income tax purposes ____ Religious upbringing of children Property Issues ____ Equity in homestead ____ Other real property ____ Home furnishings ____ Business assets ____ Professional practices ____ Professional degrees ____ Retirement benefits (pensions, IRAs, 401(k) plans) ____ Motor vehicles ____ Recreational vehicles ____ Personal property ____ Savings accounts ____ Stocks, bonds, and funds ____ Compensation for contributions as homemaker ____ Hidden assets ____ Debts Spousal Support Issues ____ Entitlement to support ____ How much? ____ How long? ____ Continued health care coverage through COBRA Other Issues ____ Domestic violence ____ Order for protection ____ Child abuse ____ Parental kidnapping ____ Restoration of maiden name ____ Post-divorce nonfinancial support ____ Attorney's fees and expenses Documents to Have Ready ____ Individual and business income tax returns for the past three to five years (federal, state, and local); ____ Proof of your current income; ____ Proof of your spouse's current income; ____ Prenuptial agreement; ____ Separation agreement; ____ Bank statements; ____ Certificates of deposit; ____ Pension statements; ____ Retirement account statements; ____ Trusts; ____ Stock portfolios; ____ Stock options; ____ Mortgages; ____ Property tax statements; ____ Credit card statements; ____ Loan documents; ____ Utility bills; ____ Other bills (e.g. school tuition, unreimbursed medical bills, music lessons for children, etc.); ____ Monthly budget worksheet; ____ Completed financial statements; ____ Employment contracts; ____ Benefits statements; ____ Life insurance policies; ____ Health insurance policies; ____ Homeowner's insurance policies; ____ Automobile insurance policies; ____ Personal property appraisals; ____ Real property appraisals; ____ List of personal property (including home furnishings, jewelry, artwork, computers, home office equipment, clothing and furs, etc.); ____ List of property owned by each spouse prior to marriage; ____ List of property acquired by each spouse individually by gift or inheritance during the marriage; ____ List of contents of safety deposit boxes; ____ Wills; ____ Living wills; ____ Powers of attorney; ____ Durable powers of attorney; and ____ Advance health care directives. As you can see, the above list extensive -- yet, it is not exhaustive. Every divorce is different since every couple enters and leaves a marriage under different circumstances and with different assets. Therefore, to ensure no property is overlooked, it is always a good idea to have an open and frank conversation with your attorney regarding all of the property and assets relevant to your case. More Information For more information on marital property division, free to check out FindLaw's section on divorce and property. If you have more general questions, you may want to check out FindLaw's divorce section. Finally, if you do not yet have one, consider retaining a local divorce attorney. Request a Free Case Review with a Divorce Attorney The legal issues involved in a divorce are numerous and complex. Finding a trustworthy and competent attorney is key. You must also muster the diligence and courage to collect and to share all your private financial information with your divorce attorney. A great place to start is to immediately see an experienced divorce attorney for a free initial case evaluation to begin the process.
Checklist: Issues To Discuss With Your Divorce AttorneyTop Michigan License Restoration Attorney If you have a revoked license for multiple drunk driving offenses contact us at Law Offices of Barton Morris for the best chance to get it back. Barton Morris and his legal team are highly experienced in conducting the Driver License Appeal Division Hearings and are very successful. Attorney Morris and his team not only prepare you for the hearing but also assists you with the preparation of letters and the substance abuse evaluation. The key to success is proper preparation and meticulous review of all evidence to be submitted. If everything goes as planned, your license privileges can be restored in as little as 10 weeks. Understanding the Process The reason most people are not successful in obtaining their license the first time is because they do not understand the process and what is expected. They believe that they can do it without an experienced attorney, then they have to wait a full year when they get denied. The ONLY way to ensure success is to retain an attorney who thoroughly knows the process which greatly increases your likelihood for victory. Review and Determine Eligibility The process begins by reviewing your driving record, which we can obtain immediately in the office, and determine your eligibility and conviction history. At this time, we will also engage in an extensive review of your personal history and provide a detailed overview of the process. Substance Abuse Evaluation You will be referred to the appropriate substance abuse evaluator for an evaluation and drug test. Once the evaluation is completed, we review it for accuracy and completeness with you prior to submission to the state. After submission it takes an average of six weeks to receive the hearing date. During that six weeks we assist the client in development and preparation and review of the required three to four letters from close friends and family documenting sobriety. Hearing Preparation Prior to the hearing we meticulously prepare the client with a mock hearing where we review all anticipated questions and ensure the client knows exactly what to expect. This includes questions that are particular to each of the hearing officers all of whom we are very familiar with and know what they individually are looking for. During the hearing we will conduct the examination and presentation of the evidence. We also handle any follow up investigations or evidence submission. Next Steps After Approval After your license is approved, if a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device is required, we will assist you in procuring this device at the best cost available. 93% Success Rate in 2016 If you’ve recently been denied your license, call the Law Offices of Barton Morris as soon as possible. Attorney Morris and his experienced legal team has a high probability to win this case on appeal or at least get you an earlier hearing date. Commonly Asked Questions DOES A PERSON NEED A LAWYER FOR A LICENSE RESTORATION? DOES A PETITIONER NEED TO ATTEND AA? HOW DO WE ACHIEVE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF SUCCESS? WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD SUBSTANCE USE EVALUATION? WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE LETTERS OF SUPPORT? Helpful Resources To visit the State of Michigan’s website regarding license restoration.