Separation and Divorce Archives


Separation and divorce can be a very emotional process, with each party holding a different idea about what is “fair” in a divorce settlement. While some assets like money in a joint bank account might be fairly easy to divide, others, like the family home, may carry more emotional value and be more difficult to “split” in a divorce settlement.

Divorce Settlements – Does Fair Mean a 50/50 Split?

There are two types of approaches to a divorce settlement: equitable distribution or community property. States following a community property approach seek to distribute property and assets as close as possible to a 50/50 split.

Michigan follows the equitable distribution method of divorce settlement, meaning assets will be divided fairly, but not necessarily “equally”. This can be a bit confusing as the definition of what is considered fair varies with each situation.

Of course, this matters most if you are relying solely on the courts to divide your assets. You and your ex-spouse can choose to divide property in a way that seems most fair to the two of you, then formalize your decisions in a Judgment of Divorce. Understanding the legal approach in your state can help guide your choices.

Factors to Determine Equitable Distribution

When approaching property distribution, lawyers or the judge consider factors such as your age, length of your marriage, each individual’s contribution to the combined property, earning ability, spousal behaviour during the marriage, and financial history to determine what is fair for each party.

Marital Property vs Separate Property

Another factor is marital property versus separate property. Assets that are purchased or gained during your marriage are considered marital property. Assets you bring into your marriage or received through a gift or inheritance is generally considered separate property. Marital property is divided during the divorce settlement. Separate property typically is not.

Homes, vehicles, furniture, pension plans or retirement income, businesses, and joint bank accounts are generally considered marital property, regardless of which spouse “earns” or “works for” the asset. For example, if one spouse works out of the home, while the other stays at home with the children, all work income, pension, and bonuses are marital property to be divided.

It is illegal for either spouse to hide assets from property division during a divorce settlement, though some try. If a spouse is discovered trying to hide assets, the court can award a higher percentage of those assets to the other party.

Determining which assets are separate or marital is complex; having an experienced family law attorney on your side can be critical to ensure a fair settlement.

Who Gets the House?

Some believe that the spouse who has custody of the children automatically keeps the house, but that is not the case. The easiest way to settle is to sell the house and divide the proceeds in the divorce settlement. But the “easy” way is not always the right way. Some are attached to their homes and want to keep it. Others want to keep the home to ensure stability for their children.

If one spouse wants to remain in the house, there are a few ways to handle the situation. One is for the spouse to buy out the other spouse’s interest in the property. Another is to jointly hold the house in both names for an agreed-upon time (example once the child becomes an adult or leaves the home).

Divorce Settlement is More than Just Property

Of course, your life is more than just your bank accounts, vehicles, or real estate. Divorce settlement will also involve emotional decisions around child custody, child support, parenting plans, and spousal support (or alimony). Discussions around children, in particular, can be very difficult. It is important that you consider your child’s needs first in any decisions around parenting…or property division.

Settling your Emotions

Going through a divorce can take its toll on you, your family and your friendships. While in time you will adjust to your new normal, you should be prepared for the emotional toll. For some tips on how you can manage the emotions of divorce, read our blog, 10 Tips to Help Recover After Divorce and Tips on Talking to your Children about Divorce.

Stephanie Krane-Boehmer – Working with You for a Fair Divorce Settlement

Whether you are already separated and are considering divorce, or just have questions about what you might expect during divorce proceedings, contact Stephane Krane-Boehmer. When negotiating a divorce settlement, you will need to make a lot of important decisions that could affect your life. Stephanie guides her clients through the process with empathy and support, and has the experience you need to ensure you and your family are protected in the divorce settlement.

Contact us for a free consultation today. We offer affordable fees and payment plans.

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Parenting time is a critical part of parenting agreements. Separate from a custody agreement or child support, parenting agreements set out how you will share parenting responsibilities, how you will communicate with each other, and how you plan to act together in the best interests of your children.

Holidays are family time, and for couples that are separated or divorced this can mean both holiday fun and holiday headaches. Holiday schedules are often added to parenting agreements to ensure children get to experience the joys of the season with both parents. No matter the fairness of the parenting agreement, it can be difficult for parents to adjust around the massive changes to their holiday traditions.

Your Children Come First

Regardless of your marital status, you are still a family. Your children come first, and if you keep this in mind, it’s easier to handle the emotions around parenting agreements. Not only your emotions, but the emotions of your children. How you talk to children about your divorce and how you act around them can have a huge impact on their development.

The Michigan Courts site has some great resources regarding creating parenting agreements, and how parenting time needs vary based on different stages of child development.

Handling the Holidays

With all this in mind, how DO you handle the holidays? You may choose to alternate, share or split holidays. To minimize any disputes, it’s best to include a holiday schedule in parenting agreements, keeping in mind that any holiday schedule supersedes your normal parenting schedule.

Make a list of all holidays – including Father’s Day and Mother’s Day – and determine how it would be best for your kids and your family to spend it.

Take Care of Yourself Too

As parents, we put our children’s needs first, but that doesn’t mean you completely ignore your own needs. Taking care of yourself is important. When you take care of your own needs, you are happier and have more energy to care for others.

If you don’t have your children over the holidays, make some plans to meet with family or friends. Schedule a massage, go to a game, have dinner at a nice restaurant. Spending time on things that make you happy will lift your mood and make you feel a little less lonely.

Cleaning and organizing can have the same effect. An “out with the old, in with the new” attitude can help you stop looking to the past and begin imagining a new, hopeful future.

Start New Traditions

Holidays are also a time of nostalgia. We look back and remember our childhood, and may also be a little sad for what we’ve lost going through a divorce. No matter how thorough, parenting agreements cannot help us manage our emotions.

Rather than look bad with sadness, start new traditions with your family to begin to create your new life. Buy or make new ornaments for the tree. Incorporate charitable giving or volunteering into your family holidays. Change up the holiday menu and involve your children in the cooking.

Take Time to Grieve

It’s natural to be sad, especially if this is your first holiday after a separation or divorce. A lot has changed, and though many changes are positive, you’ll still miss the best of your old life. Over time, you’ll find the sadness fades and will be replaced by new joys, new successes and new traditions.

If you are thinking about divorce, creating or considering changes to parenting agreements, or just want to understand your options, a good divorce lawyer can help. The Law Office of Stephanie Krane-Boehmer provides services for divorce including child custody, parenting agreements, and spousal support. Contact us today.

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Bankruptcy and death – two things most of us would rather not think about. Similar to our blog on Bankruptcy and Divorce. It’s not pretty, but it does happen. So, here’s what you need to know.

An estate planning lawyer can help with many things, like preparing your will, helping you make sure you communicate your end-of-life decisions. Most importantly, an estate planning lawyer can help make sure your assets transfer to the person(s) you wish to receive those items after your death.

But what happens if a death also involves bankruptcy?

Situation: You have declared bankruptcy, then get an inheritance

An inheritance after you’ve declared bankruptcy can seem to be a saving grace. But as with bankruptcy and divorce, timing is everything.

When you file for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy estate is created with a trustee to administer your assets. The inheritance can be added to those assets if you are in bankruptcy when your friend or relative passes away.

  • Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any cash you inherit is added to your total assets to help pay down debt. Property like cars or houses, unless exempt, will be liquidated and added to your estate.

However, any inheritance received more than 180 days after filing will remain your property. Note that the court uses the date of death as the inheritance date, not the date the inheritance is received.

  • Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the timing of the inheritance may not matter as much. The judge can choose to add your inheritance into your total income, increasing the amounts of your repayments.

Situation: You receive an inheritance from someone who has declared bankruptcy

When a person dies, they can pass their possessions along, but not necessarily their debt. But the inheritance may not end up coming to you if it is required to pay down the deceased’s debt.

  • Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the deceased’s assets are already under the care of the trustee. Debts will be paid off until the bankruptcy is discharged. Any non-empty remaining property is then passed to the heirs.

An Estate Planning Lawyer or Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help

If you are in one of the situations described above, an estate planning lawyer or bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate the courts and your options.

We can work with you to discharge your debt or help ensure you receive the inheritance you deserve.

You can also consult with an estate planning lawyer to set up a living trust for your property. In some cases, property in a trust will not be considered part of the bankruptcy estate. Property isn’t just a home or car. It can include family heirlooms and even cash.

Although a trust sounds like something only a very wealthy person might consider, almost anyone can set up a trust to save their heirs from dealing with probate or the additional challenges of bankruptcy after death.

Need help? Contact Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney Stephanie Krane-Boehmer

Stephanie Krane-Boehmer is an expert Michigan bankruptcy attorney and estate planning, lawyer. Stephanie is happy to help you with all your estate planning questions. Although dealing with legal matters can be intimidating, she will put you at ease with her experience, expertise and down-to-earth approach.

We are located in Rochester Hills and serve Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer Livingston, and Wayne Counties. We are here to support you through all aspects of your legal proceedings.

Keep in touch with Stephanie Krane-Boehmer on Facebook.

If you are parents who are not living together, are seeking separation, or going through a divorce, you may be looking for parenting plan examples.

A parenting plan outlines how parents who do not live together will make important decisions regarding the care of their children.

An Emotional Process

Dealing with custody issues can be emotionally draining, and parents want to protect their children during negotiations as much as possible. Your Michigan divorce attorney or family law attorney can provide advice on how to discuss the divorce with your children, and how to create a parenting plan that focuses on your children’s needs.

While custody seems to be simply a matter of where your children will live, there are many other factors that need to be agreed upon.

Although agreeing on a parenting plan arrangement might not come as easily as you would hope, the Law Office of Stephanie Krane-Boehmer can help you understand the child custody process and make it go a little more smoothly.

Parenting Plan Examples Online

A search for “parenting plan examples” can bring up many valuable results to help guide your decisions; however, a decision should never be made without an attorney. Make sure the results are relevant to the laws in your area and look carefully at the source. Good parenting plan examples should cover:

    • Communication
      What is the critical information you will need to communicate, how often and how (e.g., by email or face-to-face only). How do you communicate in an emergency? Are children allowed to communicate with you when they are with the other parent? Is a communication schedule needed?
    • Parenting time
      Where will the children live? If you’re splitting time, how will it work, and what are the transportation arrangements?  What about daycare / after school care and babysitting – are there any concerns, and who is responsible for the costs?
    • Extra-curricular activities
      How will you manage the child’s social life (e.g., sports, school outings, summer camp, friends’ birthdays) – who is responsible for managing the activities and arranging payments?
    • Visits with extended family
      Does your plan need to address visits with uncles/aunts/grandparents?
    • Vacations & Holidays
      How will you arrange holiday time, especially traditional family holidays like Thanksgiving?
    • Notifications for Travel / Moving
      Good parenting plan examples should include guidance on stipulations around travel, especially travel outside the country, or moving anywhere that will make it difficult for the other parent to visit.
    • Education
      How will you make arrangements around choices of schools to attend? Who will receive school reports and notifications? Who attends school teacher conferences, who is informed of any issues at school, and who is allowed to take the child out of school?
    • Medical
      Look for parenting plan examples that also detail medical needs, like who will be responsible for medical decisions/insurance and who will be responsible to make emergency medical decisions.

Completing your Parenting Plan

While you may find good parenting plan examples online to help guide your decisions, it is recommended to either have a qualified family law attorney or mediator review your plan, or draft your final plan before submitting it to the court.

Family law attorneys have a lot of experience working on parenting plans and will be able to think of things you may not have found in the parenting plan examples you used.

Once your parenting plan is complete, it can be presented to your case manager, custody manager, or judge. If both parents agree on the plan, the judge can be asked to make it a court order as part of the settlement to ensure the parenting plan is legally enforceable.

Parenting Plan: The Best Interests of the Child

The Michigan Family Court system makes final custody decisions based on the best interests of the child.

A good parenting plan – especially one agreed on by both parents – can help the judge make determinations on what is best to take care of the child’s emotional, medical and educational needs.

Looking for a divorce attorney in Rochester Hills?

If you’re looking to create a parenting plan, you need a divorce attorney that you can trust and feel comfortable with. Contact the law office of Stephanie Krane-Boehmer in Rochester Hills Michigan for help with navigating divorce matters. Stephanie will support you through mediation, litigation, parenting arrangements, child support, and division of property.

We are located in Rochester Hills and serve Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer Livingston, and Wayne Counties.

Keep in touch with Stephanie Krane-Boehmer on Facebook.

Going through bankruptcy and divorce can be a complicated and emotional process. It’s not easy for anyone. Unfortunately, on top of the emotional considerations of ending a marriage, and the financial factors of dividing assets, at times a divorce can also land one or both spouses in the position of needing to file for bankruptcy.

In addition to having significant impacts on the outcome of a divorce, adding bankruptcy in Michigan on top of divorce adds complications and stress. Look for help where you can, and be sure to choose a lawyer with a solid understanding of both aspects of your case.

Different proceedings, different courts…what is the best way to handle your bankruptcy and divorce?

While divorce proceedings in Michigan are handled in the state court system, bankruptcy is always filed in the Federal United States Bankruptcy Court. Two different courts in two different systems. Two different systems that don’t always communicate easily with each other.

A key part of your lawyer’s work will be to ensure the right documents are filed in the right courts at the right time. And while that may seem simple, there are many factors to consider.

Timing of your bankruptcy and divorce is one important factor. Do you file before, during or after your divorce?

In short, it depends on your situation, and your lawyer can be a valuable resource to help you decide what is best for you.

When is the best time to file for bankruptcy when divorcing?

Filing for bankruptcy before your divorce can make the divorce proceedings go smoother. If it’s beneficial to both spouses, you can file for a joint bankruptcy and share the associated fees and costs to save yourselves time and money. There are also exemptions that you can use to your advantage when you file jointly.

Filing for bankruptcy during your divorce proceedings can complicate your divorce. Why? Because a filing in a federal court takes priority over a divorce in the state courts. As a result, filing for bankruptcy during a divorce triggers an “automatic stay” (or halt) to the divorce proceedings until the bankruptcy is settled. Your assets will be tied up as property can’t be transferred until the bankruptcy is settled.

Filing after a divorce can also have advantages as long as your Judgment of Divorce contains language that contemplates the filing of a bankruptcy.

What about Alimony, Support Payments and Debts?

Despite the difficulty of handling both legal issues at one time, life goes on. The court system has made allowances for some important aspects of divorce during process.

  • Alimony & Support Payments – child support and alimony payments are considered priority debts, and cannot be discharged during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While some may want to use that to avoid these payments, a qualified Michigan family law attorney who also specializes in bankruptcy law will be aware of the rules, and take steps to stop these types of motions in their tracks.
  • Joint Debt – a key part of a divorce is to divide assets…and debt. This means the type and amount of debt that is discharged through your bankruptcy proceedings will depend on the state of your divorce proceedings and the type of bankruptcy you choose.
  • Assets and Property – the automatic stay when you file for bankruptcy freezes your assets and property. This means you won’t be able to touch your assets until your process is complete. For this reason, many choose a Chapter 7 (if eligible) so they can pay off debts and complete their divorce more quickly.

Sounds a little confusing? It can be. That’s why a qualified attorney familiar with both bankruptcy and divorce proceedings can be a huge support as you navigate the many decisions to be made when you are facing both bankruptcy and divorce.

Need some help? Contact the Law Office of Stephanie Krane-Boehmer for your separation, bankruptcy and divorce matters. We are located in Rochester Hills, and serve Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer Livingston, and Wayne Counties. We are here to support you through all aspects of your filings, mediation, litigation, parenting arrangements and division of property.

Although dealing with legal matters can be intimidating, we will put you at ease with our experience, expertise and down-to-earth approach.  Our mission is to achieve the best results for you as you work through the many challenges of bankruptcy and divorce.

Keep in touch with Stephanie Krane-Boehmer on Facebook

If you and your spouse have come to the decision that you’re going to divorce and you have children, the conversation regarding how to tell them was likely brought up. It’s important to spend some time planning with a divorce lawyer on how to speak to your children about divorce to help mitigate any feelings of blame that they might develop.

If you and your spouse aren’t currently speaking to each other or are unable to speak calmly and rationally, you can consider using a mediator or counsellor to help plan the details.

Have a Joint Conversation With Your Children

It’s important to try to have a conversation with your children together as their parents. This will reassure them that in spite of divorcing and not living together, you’re still their parents and nothing about that will ever change.

During this conversation, you can also explain why you’re getting a divorce. While it’s not necessary to share the exact details, and how you approach this will depend on how old your children are, it’s imperative to provide your children with the “why” so that they can better understand and internalize this change. When having this conversation, remaining calm will help shape your children’s reactions and decrease feelings of anxiety regarding the anticipation of this change. Explanations such as “We won’t be married anymore but we will still be your parents” or “We love you very much but we’ve decided it’s best if your parents just stay friends” are sensitive ways to explain what’s happening.

No matter how mature your children might seem, this is an adult situation that they won’t fully understand. As a result, you do not need to share specific details and it’s encouraged to try your best to stay neutral and think of your children’s feelings throughout this process.

Understanding Your Children’s Reactions

Divorce is an emotional process and your children will react according to how they feel. Often, these can be intense, confusing emotions. Recognizing and accepting how your children react is going to help them during this process. Using phrases such as “We understand” and “Thank you for sharing your feelings” will help reassure your children that both of their parents are accepting of their reaction and are here to help navigate their feelings with them during this time.

If your children are in school, some parents going through divorce choose to let their children’s teachers know. This allows their teachers to pay attention to any behaviour changes when parents are not around. Your child’s school might also have a school therapist or counsellor that your children could talk to. Encouraging them to talk about their feelings with you but letting them know they can also talk to other adults, might help them become more willing to open up.

Explain Any Changes

Depending on the ages of your children, they’ve most likely developed some routines and it’s important to consider how a divorce is going to impact their routines and lives. Consider addressing any changes such as which parent is moving out, when they can expect this to happen, how often they can expect to see both of their parents. If your children have any questions, answer with honesty and if you don’t have the answers yet, let them know that too.

If the decision to divorce is recent and nothing has been made official yet, having a divorce lawyer to help with the legal aspects of child custody, child support and parenting will help you spend more time focusing on your children and yourself during this time. A divorce lawyer can inform you about mediation options and ensure that your rights and your children’s rights are protected.

If you’re looking for a divorce attorney that you can trust and feel comfortable with, contact the law office of Stephanie Krane-Boehmer for help with navigating divorce matters. We are here to support you through mediation, litigation, parenting arrangements, child support, and division of property.

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