Category Archives: David Lutz

Pros and Cons of Bankruptcy

Advantages of bankruptcy:

  • One of the most important advantages of filing for bankruptcy is that debtors may obtain a fresh financial start.
  • If you are eligible for Chapter 7 you may be forgiven (discharged from) most unsecured debts. A secured debt is one which the creditor is entitled to collect by seizing and selling certain assets of the debtor if payments are missed, such as a home mortgage or car loan.
  • You may be able to keep (that is, exempt) many of your assets, although state laws vary widely in defining which assets you may keep.
  • Collection efforts must stop as soon as you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
  • You cannot be fired from your job solely because you filed for bankruptcy.

Disadvantages of bankruptcy:

  • A bankruptcy can remain on your credit record for 7-10 years and can affect your future finances.
  • A bankruptcy may impede your chances of getting a mortgage or car loan for some time.
  • Not all debt will be discharged. Some debt that cannot be discharged is child support, alimony, some student loans, divorce settlements and some income taxes. You should check with an attorney on the specific categories of debt that will be allowed for discharge.

If you are looking for an attorney to guide you through the bankruptcy process contact David Lutz at 248-624-5500 or visit our website www.ambrosebankruptcy.info

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Friend of The Court Can Help During Your Divorce or Custody Case

The Family Division of the Circuit Court was created by Public Act 388 in 1996.  On January 1, 1998, the Friend of the Court became a unit in the Family Division of the Circuit Court.  The Friend of the Court provides services to parties with minor children involving divorce, family support, interstate and paternity cases.  Friend of the Court is responsible for investigating and making recommendations in regards to child custodysupport and parenting time (when ordered by the judge) in contested cases. Once the Court enters an order pertaining to those issues, the Friend of the Court assists in enforcing the Court’s written orders.

The Friend of the Court:

  • Secures financial information for support recommendations
  • Conducts investigations for custody and parenting time recommendations;
  • Strives to settle disputes without Court intervention
  • Schedules cases for Courts
  • Holds referee hearings and mediation sessions
  • Finds absent parents
  • Arrests and arraigns persons when bench warrants are issued for failure to appear at enforcement hearings

Find out all you need to know on the divorce proces here.

If you questions about your divorce contact David Lutz at 248-624-5500 or visit our website
Samantha@ambroselawgroup.com

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Michiganders Can’t Live On Minimum Wage

For everyone out there who feels like they’re slaving away each day at their job yet still racking up credit card debt, missing monthly payments and always driving with an empty gas tank it’s not your fault.

Working harder and longer may not be enough to support a family in Michigan, particularly for employees in low-paying jobs such as retail sales, clerical work and home health care, according to a new study released today.

The Basic Economic Security Tables for Michigan, a study that analyzes the cost of essential needs for singles and families across Michigan, found the cost of providing basic necessities — such as shelter, food and transportation — far exceeds minimum wage and the paychecks of people working full-time in low-paying job categories.

Read the full article here 

If you are having a hard time paying your debts and considering Bankruptcy call our experienced Bankruptcy attorney David Lutz at (248) 624-5500

And Visit our Bankruptcy website 

 

 

 

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Think Before You Charge: Credit Cards And Non-Dischargeable Debt

Running up your credit cards prior to filing bankruptcy in Michigan ( in anticipation of filing ) may be considered fraud and cause your debt to be non-dischargeable.

Buying luxury items such as a new flat screen, jewelry or even an Ipad can be presumed to be fraudulent and therefore nondischargeable: if: (a) a consumer incurs a debt to any single creditor totaling $500 for luxury goods or services incurred within 90 days before the filing; and, (b) cash advances on credit card obtained within 70 days before the filing are also presumed to be nondischargeable.

Check with your attorney concerning large amounts of credit card debt incurred for “luxury goods” right before your bankruptcy.

The banks themselves may also file for “Adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court” to contest the dischargeability of these debts. Therefore, you may end up being liable on these fraudulent debts despite the bankruptcy filing; and, worse, may also result in having your bankruptcy case dismissed.

The bottom line – as tempting as it may be to max out your credit cards before you file- DON’T

If you have questions concerning bankruptcy contact David Lutz at (248) 624-5500

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Number Of College Students Filing For Bankruptcy Grows

It is sad, but it is not surprising. People in their early twenties, many of them university students, are among the fastest growing group of bankruptcy filers in Michigan and in the United States. Teens are getting credit cards at younger  ages and many don’t know how to handle the responsibility. On top of student loans many college students find themselves relying on credit cards to pay their bills during college. Many don’t work full-time jobs and have little savings when they finish school.  The average college student has about $4000 in credit card debt after graduation.

Remember that credit card debt can make it more difficult to secure Graduate School loans.

Also remember that if you choose to file bankruptcy most student loans cannot be discharged.

If  you have questions about filing for bankruptcy contact David Lutz at (248) 624-5500 or visit our website

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Mortgage Mess: Who Really Owns Your Mortgage

Do you know who really owns your mortgage? As Scott Pelley reports on “60 Minutes” this week, that question has become a nightmare for many homeowners since the invention of mortgage-backed securities. Yes, those were the exotic investments that sparked the financial collapse in this country. And the’re still causing problems.

As it turns out, Wall Street cut corners when it bundled homeowners’ mortgages into securities that were traded from investor to investor. Now that banks are foreclosing on people, they’re finding that the legal documents behind many mortgages are missing. So, what do the banks do? As Pelley explains in this video, some companies appear to be resorting to forgery and phony paperwork in what looks like a nationwide epidemic.

Even if you’re not at risk of foreclosure, there could be legal ramifications for a homeowner if the chain of title has been lost. Watch the “60 Minutes” report and listen to Pelley’s discussion with “60 Minutes Overtime” editor Ann Silvio about the findings of his reporting team.

Read the full story on CBSnews.com here

If you have questions about bankruptcy or foreclosure visit our website or call David at (248) 624-5500

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All You Need To Know About Credit Counseling Before Filing Your Michigan Bankruptcy

Before filing bankruptcy in Michigan, you must undergo credit counseling. You must also take credit counseling after you file. These classes are mandatory and there are no exceptions. You must also pass a means test and there are two major kinds of bankruptcy to consider.

Pre Bankruptcy Counseling

You must take a credit counseling course within six months of filing. This course must be one that is approved by the state. It is best to have your credit report with you when you take the training. If not, you will need a list of all of your debts. ou must file a certificate of credit counseling completion when you file for bankruptcy, and evidence of completion of debtor education after you file for bankruptcy – but before your debts are discharged. Only credit counseling organizations and debtor education course providers that have been approved by the U.S. Trustee Program may issue these certificates. To protect against fraud, the certificates are produced through a central automated system and are numbered.

Post Bankruptcy Counseling

This training must be taken before your case can be discharged. It may be best to take the training as soon as possible, after filing for bankruptcy. If you do, it may make things a little easier for your trustee at the hearing.

Means Test in Michigan

Due to 2005 regulations, a means test must be passed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your income must be below the median income in the state (for six months prior to your filing). However, in some cases, people may be able to file if they meet other qualifications.

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, you may be able to file a Chapter 13. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are not as restrictive as Chapter 7 bankruptcies. This is due to the fact that you are repaying many debts in a chapter 13 and in Chapter 7, most debts are being discharged or cleared.

Summary

Before filing for bankruptcy in Michigan, credit counseling classes must be taken. You must also take classes after you file. You will have to pass a means test to see if your income qualifies for Chapter 7. If not, you may be able to file for Chapter 13. In Chapter 7, debts are erased and it is harder to qualify for. Chapter 13 allows for debt repayments and is easier to qualify for. There is a lot to consider and some laws are difficult to understand. Hiring a bankruptcy attorney will make things much easier for you.

It is important to know the steps you must take before filing for bankruptcy.  If you have any questions on the process please contact David Lutz at (248) 624-5500

www.ambrosebankruptcylaw.com

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Who’s King? Cash or Credit?

From detnews.com

 

It’s now common for shoppers to slap down their credit or debit card for something as small as a cup of coffee or a pack of gum. But some are returning to the old way: They’re paying cash.

Turning away from the age of plastic, these shoppers say that the act of handing over that cold, hard cash makes them think twice about spending — in a way that using a card does not.

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“When the money’s gone, it’s gone,” said Kristi West, a Raleigh, N.C., mother of two who is moving her family to a cash-only system for most purchases this year. “You can feel that money, and you can look at that money, and you can count it. When you slide that debit card, you just slide that card. ” There are lots of reasons people might consider for switching back to cash.

Some, mired in debt and cut off from credit lines, may have no choice. Others may simply be feeling the pinch of the tight economy and mounting household debt.

That’s not to say credit isn’t king. It’s generally safer than carrying lots of cash, most cards come with some kind of reward, and there’s the ease of use, especially as more of us make purchases online. In the United States, the average household has at least one credit card and carries nearly $10,700 in credit card debt, according to CardWeb.com.

Debit and credit card transactions continue to increase in popularity — up from a combined 38 percent of all transactions by sales volume in 2005 to 45 percent in 2010, according to The Nilson Report.

But there’s no question: Cash is holding its own as part of a broader trend by some shoppers of getting back to basics after the recession.

Despite the increase in credit and debit transactions, cash payments have remained fairly stable. Nilson reports that cash transactions went from 21 percent of transactions by volume in 2005 to 19 percent in 2010.

“Consumers that carry a balance even occasionally or have had trouble making their payments in the past are increasingly gravitating toward other methods of payment either by choice or by force,” said Greg McBride, analyst for financial website bankrate.com.

“For some consumers, it’s a fundamental shift.”

Samantha Comfort of Garner, N.C., is switching to cash to try to better control her spending. She wants to achieve several financial goals this year, including paying off her car and an emergency $3,000 car repair from last year that the family had to put on credit.

Most people who convert to the cash system still keep a card for emergencies and for certain things, including online purchases.

“I would go cash with everything, but some things you really can’t,” Comfort said.

“We’re Netflix people, and I can’t pay for Netflix with cash. Or, booking a hotel is pretty tough to do with cash. I’m going to have to keep a card, maybe even two.”

Still, proponents of the cash system say the hassle of relearning how to spend in cash is worth it, especially when it comes to teaching their kids about money.

Bankrate.com analyst McBride warned, though, that this system is not for everyone. For the 40 percent of credit card holders who pay off their balances every month, it may make more sense to take part in a reward program that gives airline miles, cash back or something else in return for items charged.

“You’ve got to know what’s a fit for your personality,” he said. “But regardless of what you choose, the theme of better governing of our own finances and getting a handle on our spending is a positive development.”

Do you think paying in cash would help you better keep track of finances? Will people ever stop using their debit cards?
If you have a question about bankruptcy or financial planning contact David from Ambrose Law Group at 248-624-5500

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Basic Info On Child Custody

 

There are two types of jurisdictions:

1. Personal and

2. Subject matter.

Personal is over the parties. Long arm statue.

Subject matter: one party needs to be a resident for 180 in the state and 10 days in the county where they are filing.

Someone cannot be a resident if they are here because they have a F1 visa.

Custody Case

Any time parties want a divorce with children. What will happen to the children. Remember that the worst custody arrangement is better than a custody battle. Think o f the outcome, financially. Make sure you consider what’s good for the kids.

3 types of custody: legal, physical and parenting time.

Legal is joint 99% of the time. Jail/physical abuse is the exception to having a parent having legal custody.

Physical- there is no significance.

MOST IMPORTANT IS PARENTING TIME

3 types of Parenting Time

1. School, start with this first in your case

2. Vacation/holidays during the school year

3. Summer vacation- you can try different times during this period:

Reverse times, extended vacations, non consecutive.

Vacation/holiday time use alternating holidays/vacation. This year dad has Thanksgiving, next year mom has Thanksgiving. Be specific in the divorce documents and schedule places and times for exchanges. Usually the best parenting schedule is the lease said.

If parties cannot decide on custody?

Joint legal custody unless legal is not appropriate.

Award physical to one party

Let Judge decide.

There are 12 factors to determine BEST INTEREST OF CHILD  MCLA 722.23

A. love and affection- bond between child and adult.

B. Capacity- to give child guidance and parent’s disposition.

C. Provide food and Clothing- how does parent interact with child.

D. Length of time child is stable

E Permanence of existing home

f. Moral fitness of each parent

Depends on situation and does it affect the children

g. Mental and physical health of parents—very important

either parent can assert privilege but court looks against that

K home school community

i. reasonable preference of the child. Court can do this.

j. Willingness to have child and parents get a long.

Is one parent talking badly about the other parent in front of the children.

L Domestic Violence – either directed at or witnessed by the child.

ESTABLISHING CUSTODIAL ENVIRONMENT

If one parent moves out it becomes defacto that the one that stays becomes the custodial parent.

If you have questions about child custody contact David Lutz at 248-624-5500

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The 411 On Divorce Basics

There are 5 issues in a divorce case, they are:

 

1. The divorce itself

2. Minor Children, if any

3. Property Division

4. Support: Child and Spousal

5. Attorney fees and others

 

When you being your divorce and meet with your attorney you first have to realistic expectations. Ask your attorney what is realistic and what is not. A good attorney should not tell you that you will receive everything you want.

 

Commence a Case – starting

You will be in the family division of the circuit court in the county where you live if you file first.

 

You will file a Complaint for Divorce which includes all of the above numbers.

If you wish to file for a separation you will have all the issues above except for #1.

 

In your complaint for divorce you can petition the court for ex-parte relief for such items as temporary restraining with out notice to the other side.

 

3 phases of the divorce:

1. Exparte –Wild phase: This is the time when the first party files until the second party hires an attorney.

2. Temporary Phase- Other side retains an attorney or the parties go in front of a judge.

3. Permanent Phase- the rest of your client’s life.

 

Your attorney will review with you several important items:

Does the client need to do anything right away. Is there a danger that the client needs to file or be retained?

 

Temporary arraignments and parties are being supported and bills are being paid. Your attorney will be gathering information for your case. Look at inerium support and custody. Look into settlement information.

 

COMPLAINT

There are 5 issues in the complaint.

First is the divorce itself. There are 3 parts to the divorce: the law; proof at trial and relief requested.

First part:

Does the court have subject matter jurisdiction? One of the parties must be a “resident” of the state of Michigan for the statutory period of 6 months/180 days. This varies between states. Here you look at the intent of the party. Michigan law 552.91(1)a: states that residence and domicile are the same.

 

Second part:

To file first you must be a resident for 10 days in the county where you are going to file. Michigan requires only one of the parties meet the 180 day requirement.

 

Third part:

Allege the lawful marriage and wife’s latest last name.

 

Fourth part:

MCL 552.6 There must be the allegation in the complaint that there is a breakdown in the relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.

 

Michigan is a no fault state where other states can be a fault based state which means one party committed adultery, or cruelty or desertion or abandonment. Fault in Michigan is for custody, property settlement, support and attorney fees.

 

Fifth part:

Name of children and ages if any.

 

Seventh part

State whether or not the wife is pregnant.

 

Eighth part

State if the courts have jurisdiction over the children

 

Tenth part

States if there are assets to divide.

 

Eleventh part

Support for client and children

 

Twelfth part

Who can pay for the attorney fees.

 

Ex parte relief

This part tells the court the facts.

 

Status Quo Order

Who has been paying for what

 

 

End of the Complaint

Tell the court what you want, plead only basics on the 5 issues:

The divorce

Property

Minor children

Alimony and child support

Attorney fees and who pays

 

Next file the Summons and Complaint form

After you have it time stamped at the court, take the ex-parte orders to the judge’s clerk to have them signed.

To service the spouse: Client can give it to spouse or use a process server. It just depends on how you feel the spouse will handle the divorce and what you want to accomplish.

 

DEFENANDT/ATTORNEY

The defendant and his or her attorney must file an answer. Either admit or deny each paragraph by number in the complaint. Tell the court what defendant wants or/and counter claim for divorce. This stops the Plaintiff from stopping the proceedings. Also file any objections to ex parte orders.

 

MOTION PRACTICE

Going to court to get something from the judge. You must tell in the motion and precipee in Oakland county what you want and why. There is at least one week’s notice minimum up to 13 days, depending on what day of the week is motion day and when you file.

 

The caption will be “Motion for ____________”

Attach a short brief is ok, even one sentence. Attach a proposed order for the judge to sign immediately.

 

HOW TO ARGUE A MOTION

If you file a motion, you can lose and have a judge hate you.

1. The attorney should be there first, check in and sit the client.

2. When your case is called the attorney will go to the podium and state “Good morning your honor, may it please the court, my name is ____________ on behalf of ___________” if have retained an attorney.

3. keep eye contact with the judge. Identify the motion: “Judge Im here today ……..” Tell the judge what you want. State the least amount of law and facts, mostly speak to the judge and TELL THE TRUTH.

 

The other side will then argue their side.

 

You then decide if you want to rebut.

 

Tell the judge thank you.

 

If you think the judge got the issue or relief is not what you want or just got it wrong, tell the judge you want clarification.

 

It is good to have the client there but it also depends on the type of motion and cost to client.

 

 

DISCOVERY

This is what we are trying to find out about the other party. There are several tools available:

Interrogatories

Produce documents

Subpoena

Request to admit

 

1. Statement of net worth for each party on a certain date both assets and liabilities.

2. Parties Income and cash flow

How much money they need to support themselves.

3. Expense analysis – life style analysis

Money to get by to pay mortgage, car, food, kids activities etc

4. Marital history: what went on.

 

 

How to gather all this info:

Use interrogatories to the other side.

Find out what info you need to develop the questions. Have a long and short list of questions.

 

Get general information first then go to specific if needed:

Assets and value of each

Produce documents

Liabilities

 

 

Depositions

This is an effective way to gather information. Decide first what you want to accomplish. Best used on a hostile witness. Judge does not see transcript. Make outline and listen to the answer and ask why.

 

Tell your client to tell the truth and to think before they answer and know what you’re going to end up with. You should not guess at a question. It is ok to say “I don’t know at this time”.

 

A deposition is like being a goalie, keep the puck out of the net. You can’t score points at your deposition.

 

You can do threats of who you are going to depose like girlfriend.

 

Use a subpoena to depose 3rd parties.

 

Request to admit

These are 1 sentence statements to admit/deny/ or take the 5th.

The court can draw inferences on taking the 5th.

 

If you have questions about filing for divorce contact David Lutz at (248) 624-5500

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