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Bloomfield Hills Michigan Family Law Blog

Billions at stake: The importance of a prenup

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is a business mogul. Those who aspire to become giants within the business world would benefit from lessons from this mastermind. Unfortunately, one of the most important lessons he may teach the public is through a mistake in his personal life.

The billionaire recently announced that he is divorcing his wife of over 20 years. Because he did not have a prenuptial agreement, state law may guide the division of assets for one of the richest estates in the country. What does this mean? In most cases, this likely means courts would split the marital assets in half. Since Bezos founded Amazon a year after the marriage, a court would likely consider the asset marital property. As such, it would be subject to division.

Thinking of Divorce in the New Year? You Are Not Alone.

Divorce rates spike after the holidays. This is true both after summer and winter breaks. Researchers point to many possible reasons for this increase. Perhaps the stress of the holidays with extended family and travel was the deciding factor. Others say couples may have wanted one last holiday or summer break as a family before moving forward with the divorce.

Whatever the reason for the timing, research supports the fact that divorce filings go up in the months immediately following winter and summer break. So those who currently find themselves putting away holiday decorations and considering moving forward with a divorce proceeding are not alone.

Divorce in 2019: One key change that could impact negotiations

Anyone considering a divorce or in the early phases of the divorce process will likely finalize the divorce in 2019. The date of the final divorce agreement is important as it will determine which tax laws apply. Those that finalize their divorce in 2019 will likely be subject to the new tax regime.  

What is different in 2019? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxes alimony. This change impacts both the person paying and the person receiving alimony. In the past, the individual paying alimony could take advantage of a tax deduction.

Child custody disagreements & holidays: Three resolution options

Child custody disagreements tend to peak between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. It is not uncommon for parents to feel a need to be with children and share traditions. This desire can collide with the reality of the agreed upon child custody arrangement. There are ways to avoid or navigate through these issues. Three potential options for resolution include:

University professor tries to hide assets during divorce

Those who go through a divorce may have concerns the other party will attempt to hide assets. Although it sounds like a plot out of a Lifetime movie, such attempts are not uncommon. People can attempt to hide assets with third-parties or with use of false documents. A recent case provides a real-life example.

Case in point: Professor tries to hide retirement assets

Case leads to questions about validity of prenups in MI

A prenuptial agreement protects assets in the event of a divorce. Couples that use this legal document trust the paperwork will serve its purpose. But do they always work? As recently discovered by one couple, there are situations when an individual can successfully challenge a prenuptial agreement.

Court case provides an example: Allard v. Allard and prenups in Michigan

In a high-asset divorce, is alimony a sure thing?

When affluent couples divorce, there can be a lot of assumptions about the process. People often assume it will be contentious, lengthy and public, for instance. Of course, this is not always the case, but divorces where there is a lot of money at stake do tend to invite more complexity and attention.

This is perhaps why many people assume that one person will receive alimony in high-asset divorces. In fact, people might think that spousal support is reserved specifically for these cases because there is more money involved. However, like the other assumptions about these divorces, this is not necessarily true.

Can you get the ring back when an engagement goes wrong?

Engagement rings symbolize a promise for a future together. Those who purchase this piece of jewelry often have to save for months and, in some cases, take out loans to cover the costs. But what happens to the ring if one party calls off the engagement? That is the question posed in a recent case filed in federal court in Washington D.C.

Details of the case: Was the ring a gift? The case involves a couple that was living together for approximately one year. At this time, one party bought the other a 4.06 carat ring. One party offered the ring with the proposal of marriage. Acceptance of the ring was, according to the court filing, dependent upon the impending nuptials.

Tips to avoid two unexpected consequences of gray divorce

The term "gray divorce" refers to those who move forward with a divorce later in life. Anyone that is over the age of 50 fits into this category. These individuals bring unique issues to divorce compared to those who are going through a split in their twenties or thirties. These individuals have had time to save for retirement and build their portfolios. As a result, these individuals must address the handling of these assets carefully during divorce.

Why the special care? Those who are savvy with their finances begin saving for retirement early in life. This money compounds and can result in a significant sum as we approach retirement. Although only one spouse may put money into the account, the court often considers this asset marital property subject to division.

Is your spouse hiding assets?

Divorce is a difficult enough process, and any additional complexities can be overwhelming. High-earning couples understand this well as they prepare to divide assets they amalgamated at their union.

When two partners consider dissolving their marriage, one spouse may feel less inclined to split the assets in a fair or respectful way. Hiding assets is a serious offense, and Michigan courts do not treat parties who withhold assets kindly. But how can parties know if their spouse is being deceitful?

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