What does your auto insurance policy get you?

Many people buy auto insurance because they have to, not because they want it. However, knowing what you are paying for is important to understanding if what you have actually meets your needs. It is important that you understand that portion of your policy that is no-fault and that portion of your policy that is not.

There are certain benefits you get from your own insurance company, without regard to fault. You are entitled to these benefits even if you only have PLPD or no collision coverage. These benefits are no-fault benefits. If you are injured in the auto accident, you are entitled to have all your medical bills paid. If you are unable to work, you are entitled to have 85% of your wage-loss paid for up to three years.

How to reconcile the valuation of a business, its potential equity distribution, and support obligations.

If you are a business owner, you want to ensure that your spouse is not able to “double dip” in receiving part of the business, and spousal support based upon your income. This would allow your spouse to receive double recovery on one asset.

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The Hawaii Supreme Court is listening to arguments in a significant LGBTQ case, involving legal parenthood. The case involves a lesbian couple, where one of the women sought out a sperm donor and became pregnant while the other woman was deployed in the military. Upon returning from deployment, the non-pregnant spouse filed for divorce. The child was born before the divorce was finalized.

As a general family law principle, when a married woman gives birth to a child, the birth mother and spouse are presumed to be the child’s parents. A presumption that can be rebutted. In this case, the spouse argued that there was no way she could have been the child’s biological parent. The family court denied the spouse the right to sever her parental obligations. The spouse is claiming that the standards of presumed parentage do not apply to same-sex couples; however, to adopt such a view would be at odds with the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which set precedent that states cannot impose different terms and conditions on marriages between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

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The new tax overhaul will remove a 75-year-old tax deduction for alimony payments. The new rule will not affect anyone who divorces prior to 2019; however, it will certainly change divorce negotiations.

What’s changing? Currently, the spouse paying alimony can deduct it from their taxes and the spouse receiving the alimony pays taxes on it. The idea is that the payer is generally in a higher tax bracket. Thus, with the alimony deduction, they are paying less tax. The payee is generally in a lower tax bracket, and pays less tax on the income received. The current setup preserves more money amongst the ex-spouses. The new rules will result in alimony recipients receiving 10-15% less than what they would receive under the current law, and more money to be paid in taxes.

For more information on the consequences of the tax changes, contact SMDA, PC at (586) 264-3756.

While the overall divorce rate is decreasing, the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 has increased from 1 in 10 to 1 in 4.

MarketWatch created a checklist to help mitigate the financial risk associated with divorce over age 50. Below is a list of items to consider, prior to filing for divorce:

1.) The family home. Should either party keep the home, can one person alone take care of the costs and potential repairs?

For 2018, the estate tax exemption has increased to $5.6 million per individual, increased from $5.49 million in 2017. Thus, a married couple will be able to shield $11.2 million from federal estate and gift taxes.

The annual gift tax exclusion has finally increased to $15,000, after remaining at $14,000 since 2013.

For more information about the estate and gift tax limits, contact SMDA, P.C. at (586) 264-3756.

The grounds for annulment in Michigan are as follows:

1.) Prior spouse of a party: a marriage is void if it is performed while one of the parties is currently married to someone else.
2.) Relationships of consanguinity and affinity: marriages between parties related within certain degrees of consanguinity or affinity are prohibited (i.e. mother and son, brother and sister, etc.)
3.) Lack of consent: marriage is a civil contract between and man and a woman only. Like any contract, consent to the contract is essential.
4.) Nonage: A person must be at least 18 years old to be legally capable of entering into a marriage. A 16-year-old can be married with the written consent of his/her parents.
5.) Mental Incompetence: a marriage is void, if a party was not capable of contracting at the time of the solemnization.
6.) Fraud and Duress: a party must consent freely. If the party was threatened, or forced to enter into a marriage, the marriage is void.
7.) Sterility or Impotency: a marriage in which one of the parties has a physical incapacity to have children is valid until the wronged party seeks a judicial decree to annul it (not to exceed two years from the date of the marriage).
8.) Other grounds in which the court deems just.

If you are considering an annulment, contact the family law attorneys at Serafini, Michalowski, Derkacz & Associates, to discuss whether or not you should seek an annulment or divorce.

In Rolley v. Rolley, an Indiana Court was faced with the issue of child support modification, when the parties had deviated from the child support guidelines. When Father and Mother divorced, they reached an agreement regarding child support that substantially deviated from what would be ordered by applying the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. Later, Mother petitioned to modify Father’s child support obligation. The trial court granted the motion and modified Father’s support requirements. Father appealed, arguing that agreed child support terms cannot be modified absent a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that renders those terms unreasonable. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted transfer, adopted the portion of the Court of Appeals’ opinion that addresses the available grounds for modification, and summarily affirmed the portion of the Court of Appeals’ opinion addressing the trial court’s calculation of Father’s support obligation. Thus, the Court determined that the standard for modification was not only a substantial and continuing change, but also the timing and amount of the deviation.

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