Battle Creek Michigan Law Blog

Are you required by law to take a breath test?

Most in Battle Creek are likely familiar with what a breathalyzer device is and what it used for. You might have even heard that if you are pulled over by law enforcement for suspicion of driving under the influence that you are required to take a breath test. At the same time, you might remember that your constitutional rights protect you from unlawful searches and seizures. So the question is are you really required by law to take a breath test

It depends. According to the Michigan State Department, local drivers are subject to an implied consent law. What this means is that by driving, you consent to chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol content level (this can include chemical testing of your breath, blood or urine). A refusal to take a chemical breath test could result in additional penalties on top of a DUI charge. These include losing your license for one year for your first refusal, and an additional two years for any subsequent refusals within the next seven years. 

How do I best protect myself in our high-asset divorce?

When you have significant assets heading into an unfortunate divorce situation in Michigan, you certainly want to make sure you are taking all the right steps to protect your own interests. There are also things you want to avoid doing that can be just as important as what you act on.

Fidelity advises on several considerations that you will want to review when it comes to what not to do.

Do you need a qualified order to split benefits in your divorce?

Some divorces are simpler than others. For instance, couples who have only been married for a short time and who have few assets and resources may not even need to hire attorneys if both agree to divorce amicably.

But those couples who have a long history together and share valuable assets like interests in pensions or retirement funds discover that ending their marriages is a bit more complicated. In these type of cases, it is quite helpful when both parties retain knowledgeable counsel to represent their best interests.

Will your estate be taxed?

The common belief amongst many in Battle Creek may be that the government will always find a way to take its bite out of your assets and property. That assumption likely extends to your estate; why else would there be an estate tax? Yet rather than questioning why there is an estate tax, a better question may be whether or not your estate will actually owe it. 

The enactment of estate tax thresholds has drastically decreased the number of such returns filed in recent years. The Internal Revenue Service reports that estate tax returns dropped from just over 49,000 in 2006 to 11,917 in 2015. These thresholds exist because of the federal estate and gift tax exemption (Michigan does not have an estate tax). This allows you to exempt up to a certain amount to pass on to your heirs. According to Forbes magazine, the threshold for 2017 is $5.49 million per individual. 

Seasonal affective disorder and the end of marriage

After years of marriage, deciding to call the union off can be overwhelming for anyone, especially for those who have seasonal affective disorder and other hardships to work through. Unfortunately, some people may feel as if they are trapped or unable to take action due to the emotional difficulties they are facing as a result of SAD. If you have SAD and are planning on filing for divorce or believe that this disorder has left you in a more vulnerable position, it is essential to take a thorough look at your options and do what you can to keep the disorder from creating additional challenges in life. Sometimes, ending a marriage is not only necessary, but empowering and helpful for those who need to move forward with their lives.

During the darker months, seasonal affective disorder may cause some people to feel lethargic or sad, which can be a problem when it comes to handling divorce issues. If you have kids, or expect to find yourself in a contentious dispute for some other reason, it is important to do your best to prevent this disorder from causing you additional and unnecessary stress or getting in the way of your case.

What is parental alienation?

If you experience a divorce in Michigan with minor children in the home, you likely have a myriad of logistical and emotional issues to work through with your kids. However, their emotional trauma could become significantly more severe if your former spouse attempts to cut you off from your children. According to Psychology Today, parental alienation is an intentional, and often malicious, attempt of one parent to demonize the other in front of the children in order to undermine their relationship.

Parental alienation could occur if your ex has a difficult time distinguishing your broken spousal relationship from the parent-child relationship. In other words, he or she could assume that since your marriage did not work out, your parental role should not continue either. Therefore, he or she may speak negatively about you to the children, or even attempt to plant seeds of fear or mistrust in your children's minds so that they begin to turn against you. The other parent may also try to minimize the time you spend with the children. In some cases, your kids may feel pressured to choose one parent or the other, and if they constantly hear degrading accusations about you, they may begin to assimilate those opinions into their own thinking.

How should you approach the issue of a prenup?

If you have found that special someone that you are ready to tie the knot with in Battle Creek, then right now your thoughts are probably occupied on all of the joy and happiness you anticipate sharing together. The suggestion of thinking about protecting yourself financially may be the last thing you want to consider. Yet there may be several circumstances that should be prompting you to consider a prenuptial agreement. You may be involved in a business that you do not want your future spouse to become tied to. You may have children from a previous marriage that you wish to retain assets for. Whatever the reason, whenever you bring significant assets into a marriage, signing a prenuptial agreement may always be a good idea. 

You may think that asking your soon-to-be spouse to consider a prenup will call your commitment to him or her into question. Yet consider this: According to CNBC, 62 percent of attorney's surveyed by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers report a significant increase in the number of client prenup request in recent years. Thus, you are hardly the only person to be considering such a move. 

Successful co-parenting through conflict

The high stress and tense emotions of divorce have a lasting impact. The process often brings out negative emotions and complicates and already damaged relationship. Divorce ends a marriage, but when both spouses have children, it doesn’t end the relationship.

Studies show that children do best in life with the presence of both parents. The Michigan family court agrees, and joint custody is the most frequent arrangement for families after divorce. This means that both parents will still interact for the greater good: their children.

Understanding Michigan’s drunk driving laws

Understanding Michigan’s drunk driving laws

Michigan drivers who decide to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking illegal drugs should reconsider their decision. As explains, Michigan is very serious about keeping impaired drivers off the road.

Facts to know about boating under the influence

Michigan boaters don't always remember how important boating sober is for their safety -- and for avoiding arrest. Numerous boating accidents happen every year because a boat captain got too drunk to pilot his or her watercraft. Also, every year many boaters get arrested for serious boating under the influence (BUI) charges.

If you're a boater, and you enjoy taking your friends out for some weekend fun on the water, there are a few things you should know about BUI.

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The Battle Creek Tower
70 Michigan Avenue West
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Battle Creek, MI 49017

Toll Free: 877-753-1211
Phone: 269-841-5934
Fax: 269-965-0646
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Coldwater, MI 49036

Toll Free: 877-753-1211
Phone: 269-841-5934
Fax: 269-965-0646
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