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Margaret J. Nichols

Margaret Nichols’s Answers

23 total

  • I want to pay off past due support in Michigan, Can I pay it directly or must I hire a lawyer to close the case?

    Children are all over 21 or deceased. It is all arrears. I got the balance from the FOC, and can make a lump payment.

    Margaret’s Answer

    using the case number, which should be on the statement from the FOC, send the check to
    www.misdu.com/secure/MakeanIndividualPayment.aspx
    No attorney necessary.

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  • What are chances husband can recoup property with a motion after the divorce decree has been signed?

    Divorce decree clearly states that all property and finances have been separated and that each owns everything in his/her possession and that all debts between them resolved and each assumes debt in their name. Can husband now claim he has posses...

    Margaret’s Answer

    The other two attorneys who have already responded are correct that without knowing the specifics of what your former husband seeks, and how much time has passed since the divorce, any answer has to be couched cautiously. Normally, a property settlement is not going to be re-opened by a court unless, within appropriate time frames, there is a motion saying that there was mutual mistake about some property being omitted or there was some form of fraud or duress in the judgment process such that he was unable to properly participate. For the moment, let's assume he just forgot something of his at the former residence (title to the house doesn't matter). If it is clearly his (e.g., his bowling ball, his fishing gear, his favorite chair), consider just making arrangements for him to get the item. If, however, he seeks a long list of stuff that he should have thought of before the Judgment was entered, you likely are within your rights to tell him no.

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  • Contact clause in custody arrangement

    My divorce was final on march 19 2014. My ex husband is already taking the children out for dinner with girls he is dating. I tried to speak with him about how this unacceptable at this time. He became belligerent and even threatened to kill me i...

    Margaret’s Answer

    The threat from your former spouse is concerning, especially in the context of what is supposed to be joint decision making about the important issues affecting your children. If you want to try to address this issue without ramping up the stress, try sending a message that includes a request that your ex consider a mutual agreement along the lines of the following:
    We agree:
    1. We will not have significant others spend the night when the child(ren) are home unless we are in a committed relationship with that person.
    2. We will not expose the child(ren) to casual dating.
    3. When either of us is moving to a serious relationship with another person and plans to introduce that person to the child, we will let the other parent know ahead of time.

    If this does not work, it is likely you will not have success in court so long as the exposure is not inappropriate. Dining out is not going to be sufficient.

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  • Received notice of being sued, verified complaint for divorce. Do I need a lawyer? No children, Michigan.

    I am trying to determine if I could represent myself or if I should represent myself. Initially my (ex)wife said we would do it cheaply but has retained a lawyer who said marriage dissolved divorce granted, fair and equitable division of prop/debt...

    Margaret’s Answer

    It cannot hurt to at least sit down with counsel, go over what the outcomes could be, and then decide if you can represent yourself. If you know what is reasonable to expect, you can communicate this to your spouse and ask to see a proposed Judgment that contains such terms. If you both sign it and ask that it become the Judgment of Divorce, then you are done pretty cheaply. Alternatively, some lawyers offer an "unbundled" service that allows you to sign up for only what you want, such as review of the final papers after you have negotiated the settlement yourself. If you decide to go it on your own, just be aware that the consequences likely will be un-fixable later.

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  • My ex was ordered in divorce to take my name off mortgage he never did and loan now in foreclosure. What action can I take?

    Our divorce was final May 2011 and this has been on ongoing issue since before the divorce was final. It is and has been reflecting bad on my credit report, how do I get it removed. And if suing him for contempt of court can he be made to pay my ...

    Margaret’s Answer

    While I agree with the other answers that enforcement of the requirement to take your name off the mortgage depends on the language in the Judgment, it also depends on whether ANY lender would have allowed the house to be refinanced and whether you knew that at the time of the entry of the Judgment. Was the loan balance greater than the value? Was your former spouse unemployed or underemployed such that paying the mortgage would have been out of reach? If so, the requirement to remove your name was an impossibility to begin with and your attempt to use the Judgment language as a shield against deficiency collection may be less than fully effective. If your former husband had the means to pay and did not, that is where court contempt proceedings, with the help of a good lawyer, could be effective. Also, if the house has equity to cover the loan, at least no lender is going to be pursuing you for a deficiency. One partial remedy you can do at no expense to you and regardless of whether you decide to take your ex to court is to send the credit bureau a one page letter including the language from the Judgment that saves you from liability on the mortgage, assigning that liability to your former spouse. The prior judgment does not affect the lender's right to pursue you but may be a defense to their attempts to take a judgment and collect from you and should be noted in your credit history so that future creditors know that this "black mark" was not your fault. The credit bureau must forward your explanation along with any other information upon request of a creditor or creditor to be.

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  • Ex wife never went through the Friend of the Court and assigned her support rights to a private agency.. is it discharged.

    The son in question is now 36 years old. Does assigning her rights to a private child support enforcement agency make this a private debt, therefore reducing it to a civil judgment which would be discharged in a chapter 7 Bankruptcy...

    Margaret’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You will need good records and a lawyer to figure this one out as much depends on when you last made a payment and which Statute of Limitations applies. If your son is 36, support was due under a pre-1997 order and the SOL is 10 years from when each payment was due. Any payments made toward the support obligation operate to extend the statute of limitations. See, Yates v Yates, 261 Mich App 152; 681 NW2d 5 (2004). The courts have found the payments to be voluntary, even if the money was taken by administrative or judicial process such as an Order of Income Withholding or tax intercept. So, if there have been tax intercepts in recent years, the SOL has been extended to collect amounts that have not expired. A good bankruptcy attorney with some family law experience should be able to tell you what you face.

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  • Is there anyway to have my father's rights terminated but my not my mothers?

    I am 16 years old. My parents are divorced. I feel unwelcomed in my dads home and when I am there I feel alone. Whenever I am there we hardly do anything and if we do it is because my father wouldn't be able to if I don't go with him. I have testi...

    Margaret’s Answer

    First, let me say that I am sorry for your situation. Try to bring along books, games, whatever so that you can keep yourself occupied while you are with your dad. Second, I don't think we are talking about terminating your father's parental rights at all, for the reasons that other writers have already stated. Rather, I think you are seeking to adjust his parenting time to something that is more in line with your wishes. It sounds as if your mother has already asked the divorce judge at least once to reduce parenting time and that was not successful. Did she ask that there be NO parenting time? That would not be possible to get the court to order unless your dad were really a neglectful or bad person, even if not bad enough to have all rights terminated. If, on the other hand, your mother were to seek to reduce parenting time to every other weekend, do you think you could handle that? Another approach is for you to offer to sit down with your father and discuss this. Tell him directly that you love him but that as you are growing up, you would like to be able to enjoy friends and activities appropriate to your age and that being at his house makes that impossible. See if you can offer to include him in school activities such as field hockey or band or whatever so that you can see him in a more natural way. Or, ask to plan regular but occasional activities like weekend camping or skiing or a weekly outing for dinner so that you can stay in close touch. Obviously, if you do not engage in any such activities that he can come watch or coach or do together, but really just want to hang out with your friends, this offer won't work. You need to think about what you can offer him in return for giving up his set amount of time. Be mature about this. Don't whine or accuse and if dad gets upset when you bring it up, tell him your intent was not to upset him but to make your time with him more meaningful and better. Then let it go and maybe work with a school counselor about your feelings while with dad. I hope this helps.

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  • Joint Legal Custody and Release of Medical Records

    My friend lives in Michigan, her ex-husband lives in Oregon and they share joint legal custody of their 10 year old son, who lives in Michigan with his mother, my friend. The father managed to obtain and sign a consent for release of confidential ...

    Margaret’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If father filled out a permission to release records to third party, grandmother, and the records were sent to grandmother on that basis, the psychologist may be okay, but the better practice would have been to contact the other joint legal custodian BEFORE the release. Father had the right to see the records but they should only be disclosed under a prohibition of release to any other entity absent further release by the custodians. Grandmother cannot boot strap her way into a parental access role through father's release. I would speak to the psychologist and suggest that s/he contact the APA for counsel about what happened and what to do. Depending on where the therapy is taking place, it may or may not be a violation of Michigan law to re-disclose confidential mental health records. HIPAA does not address re-disclosure. See the link below.
    http://www.apa.org/ethics/index.aspx

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  • Does a dad file for a custody order through the state that he and the child live in, or where child support was ordered from?

    Father and Mother of child lived in WI when child support was ordered. Mother has had custody of child. No schedule of custody/visitation was ever established. Mother moved back to MI. Father then moved back to MI. Mother is now married and w...

    Margaret’s Answer

    Your question does not say, but I surmise that you were never married to mother. Read your Wisconsin child support order carefully. It may well say that the child cannot be moved out of state without the court's permission. If Michigan is now the "home state" (see answers above), the Michigan family court where you live will decide whether mother can move the child from Michigan and, if yes, what arrangements must be made for you to have parenting time with the child. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call the local legal aid office or the local bar association lawyer referral service. You can also ask the Friend of the Court office to assist you with a petition for parenting time.

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  • Can I move in with another woman if I have a child with another.

    I have joint custody of my son AAA (mother is BBB). I have joint custody of my other son YYY (mother is ZZZ). I originally lived with ZZZ, but moved out a year ago due to relationship problems, nothing spectacular. I have decided to move back in w...

    Margaret’s Answer

    Maybe it would help to acknowledge that you certainly have complicated your family life with two small children in the balance. The mothers are competitors, obviously, and afraid that their child will not fare well in the care of the other mother. Try letting each mother know that you realize this is a strain for all but that YYY will have a better shot at being a well rounded human being if he knows and experiences the love of both his parents. See if the court has a mediation service available and ask the court to ORDER both of you to go for, say, three visits to see what you can accomplish. Even if ZZZ is bitterly angry, she may be able to see that complying is preferable to acting out and getting into a contempt of court situation. Then, if there is still this animosity getting in the way, you will have established some credibility with the judge. If you start with legal action, you will have lost a valuable opportunity to find a peaceful way out of this which could make the next 16 years a lot easier.

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