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Macomb County Law Blog

The best way to discuss a prenuptial agreement with your partner

You've done your homework and you're convinced that you and your partner should create and sign a prenuptial agreement before your wedding day. While you're positive about the benefits, you have some doubts about how your partner will feel.

Only you know how to best approach a prenuptial agreement with your partner, but if you're wondering where to start and how to have the conversation here are some tips you can follow.

  • Start with the truth: Sometimes, getting your feelings into the open is the most difficult part. Tell your partner why you want a prenuptial agreement, without hiding any of your true feelings.
  • Explain the benefits: Your partner may be unfamiliar with the benefits of a prenuptial agreement, thus leading them to quickly turn you down. Upon explaining the benefits, they may see things differently.
  • Ask and answer questions: The worst thing you can do is try to force your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement. Not only will this cause tension between the two of you, but it could invalidate the agreement in the instance of a future divorce.
  • Take your time: This only works if you leave enough time between your first conversation and your wedding day, so don't delay in bringing this up. The more time you have, the easier it is to prevent a situation in which you have to cram everything into one conversation.

Do you understand direct parenting time interference?

Many families share custody and visitation rights between parents who divorce or separate. Unfortunately, some parents refuse to respect the other parent's rights to time with their child, which can lead to serious legal consequences.

When a family court issues a custody order, it is a legally binding document, not a list of suggestions about how parents should share time and access to a child. When one parent disobeys a custody order and the other parent misses out on time with their child, courts may view this as "stolen" time. Depending on the circumstances, the parent who steals the other's time with their child may face legal consequences.

Divorce and your children: Don’t say these things

As you prepare for divorce, it's important to take steps to protect your children. This will be a difficult time for them, but there are things you can do to ease their pain and help them establish a new normal.

Even though you have the best intentions, it's easy to let the wrong thing slip when discussing divorce with your children. Here are some things you never want to say:

  • It was your mother's or father's fault: No matter how strongly you feel about this, don't place the blame on your spouse. Telling your children this will only complicate things, as it may push them away from their other parent.
  • Things will be bad for a while: Even though circumstances are changing, be careful of how you address this with your children. Telling them that things will be bad can be taken in a number of ways. You want to reassure them, not give them any additional reasons to worry.
  • You won't get to see me as much in the future: Even though your living circumstances are changing, there are steps you can take to ensure that both you and your ex get to spend time with your children. Things will be different, but you can still spend a lot of time together.

Child custody and co-parenting: These things could go wrong

Your divorce is in the past, and now it's time for you and your ex to co-parent your children. With the help of a parenting agreement and visitation schedule, you hope to remain on the right track until your children are old enough to take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, things can and probably will go wrong during your time as co-parents. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Parenting time interference: This is a two-way street, with both parents in a position to make this mistake. Stay out of the way when your children are spending time with their other parent.
  • Visitation violation: For example, if your ex has visitation rights, you expect them to follow the terms and conditions of your agreement. However, there are many ways they can violate it, such as by keeping your children for longer than they're allowed.
  • Putting your children in the middle: Just because you're divorced doesn't necessarily mean all bad feelings are gone. There's a good chance you and your ex are still at odds, which can lead to a variety of complications. Don't put your children in the middle of your fractured relationship, such as by telling them bad things about your ex.

How to prepare your finances for life after divorce

Regardless of why you're divorcing, you can't spend all your time dwelling on the past. It's okay to reminisce, but it's critical to turn your attention to the future before and during the divorce process.

More specifically, you need to prepare your finances for life after divorce, as the sooner you do this the less likely it is that you'll make a costly mistake. Consider taking the following steps:

  • Create a property and debt division checklist: This will guide you during your divorce, while also giving you a clear idea of what you may end up with when everything is said and done.
  • Create a post-divorce budget: Your budget before and during your divorce will differ from your budget in the future. Plan for the future with a clear idea of how much you'll earn and your monthly expenses.
  • Prepare to make concessions: Even if it's something you don't want to do, there's a good chance your divorce will cause you to change the way you live. For example, now that you only have your salary, you may need to trade in your luxury car for something more affordable.

Mistakes to avoid after asking for a divorce

You finally built up enough courage to ask your spouse for a divorce. While it was difficult, you have the conversation out of the way and you now can move forward with the legal process.

Of course, your work is just now beginning. In addition to all the steps you have to take, it's a must that you also avoid common mistakes. Here are a few that could creep up on you:

  • Saying too much: You're tempted to ask your spouse about child custody, child support and property division. But if you do, it's likely to cause more harm than good, as you probably won't see eye to eye on all matters.
  • Continuing to argue: Your spouse now knows that you want a divorce. There's no secret. You don't need to argue about anything that happened in the past. Soon enough, your marriage will be behind you and you can begin to build your new life. You don't need arguments bogging you down during this difficult time.
  • Neglecting your finances: Things are changing quickly, so you need to get your finances in order. For example, create a budget that will allow you to maintain your standard of living after your divorce.
  • Neglecting your children: You need to be there for your children, as they'll have just as much trouble with divorce as you (if not more). Ask and answer questions, make yourself available and be sure to carefully monitor their behavior.

Trouble is lurking if your custody plan isn't solid

When you have a child and are setting up a custody plan, it's very important that the plan accounts for where they'll be at all times. Trouble could be lurking for parents who don't have a solid plan, because as kids get older, they could use those gaps in custody arrangements to "disappear" for hours at a time.

Another good reason to have a detailed parenting plan it to help you navigate scheduling difficulties and to make sure that both of you know where your child is or whom your child should be with.

How to drive safely in a Michigan rainstorm

As we move into the spring months, you can expect the weather to change. As a resident of Michigan, you know it won't be long before the rain begins to pour.

Driving safely in a rainstorm is easier said than done, as there are others on the road. So, even if you do your best to avoid an accident, someone else could throw caution to the wind.

What’s the best way to tell your children about divorce?

When it's clear that your marriage is on the rocks, you may turn your attention to the divorce process. It doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to move down this path just yet, but it's on your radar.

If you eventually decide to ask for a divorce, you must consider the impact it'll have on your children. Here's what you should do:

  • Be honest: Explain the basics of divorce, as well as it what it means to their future. Keep their age in mind when doing so, as you don't want to "talk above them" and cause additional confusion.
  • Tell them they'll still get to spend time with both parents: Your children may have concerns about seeing both of you, now that you won't be living in the same home. As long as you know that your ex-spouse will stay involved, you can confidently share this.
  • Be open to answering their questions: Don't make your children feel as if you're rushing through the conversation. Let them know it's okay to experience a variety of emotions. And also make it clear that you're available to answer their questions, no matter what's on their mind.
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