During a divorce, dividing assets and debts can be a hotly contested challenge. Coming to a positive resolution requires an attorney with an understanding yet no-nonsense perspective.
At Lana Panagoulia Law, PLLC, our lawyer has this perspective. Her approach to the practice of domestic relations law reflects her experience gained working in the court system, which highly values the clear presentation of facts and law in a manner that helps the court expeditiously and fairly decide the issues presented.
With a respected reputation in the legal community, attorney Lana Panagoulia often receives referrals from fellow lawyers in divorce cases, including those involving property division disputes.
"Lana Panagoulia exemplifies all of the essential qualities of an excellent divorce attorney. All too often, fathers are never treated favorably in divorce; however, when my case became extremely stressful, I was confident that my attorney would address every disputed issue in a professional manner. She was committed to my case, and her leadership in court was very well respected by others in the legal profession."
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Equitable Distribution and Retirement Plans
Michigan law follows the rule of equitable distribution, and while there is no requirement that property division in a divorce matter will be exactly equal, there is a presumption that the division will be roughly equal. Faced with the task of dividing property, courts identify what is separate property (property acquired before the marriage, by gift or inheritance and kept separate) versus what is marital property (property acquired during the course of the marriage or purchased after separation but traceable to marital property). When departing from the 50-50 division of property, it is usually done in the context of short term marriages. Courts would be attempting to restore parties to their pre-marital status. For example, this may occur when one party came to the marriage with many more assets than the other party. In longer-term marriages, contribution to the marriage as a whole, and not necessarily a party's contributions to a particular asset, may justify invading a separate asset and dividing it as marital property. However, the division should be fair. One of the challenges in a divorce is determining what is joint marital property and what is not. Our law firm can explain how the courts view the difference.
In addition to houses, cars, businesses, credit card bills and other assets and debts, divorcing parties often need to divide defined contribution plans or defined distribution plans, such as 401(k)s. At Lana Panagoulia Law, PLLC, we work with experts to help prepare qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs), domestic relations orders (DROs) or eligible domestic relations orders (EDROs). The kind of retirement plan you have determines the one you need.
Prenuptial Agreements: A Proactive Approach to Property Disputes
Antenuptial or prenuptial agreements help define each spouse's rights, protect children's inheritance rights and prevent one spouse from claiming property the other spouse brought to the marriage. A valid prenuptial agreement makes property division much easier and less contentious in the event of a divorce.
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with our Michigan property and debt division lawyer. You can reach our office at 734.769.LANA (5262) or via e-mail.
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