FAQ | Attorney Services | Owosso, MI

Voted Best of the Best Attorney in Shiawassee County 




1. How much is it to file for divorce?

Usually, I require a $1,500 retainer if there are no children and $2,000 retainer if there are children. We bill against the retainer at $200/hour attorney time and $100/hour for the legal assistant's time. In some cases, I will do a flat rate if the parties already have an agreement regarding all issues. If the case appears more complicated than normal, a larger retainer may be required.


2. Can I get child support from the other party?

Yes, once we file your divorce, we will set up a conciliation hearing to determine child support and a parenting time schedule. It depends on the schedule and the incomes of the parties as to who pays and how much is paid.


3. How is support determined?

Child support is a formula based on your income, your spouse's income and how much time you have the children.


4. If I have been served with divorce documents how long do I have to decide if I should retain an attorney?

If you were served by mail, you have 28 days to file an Answer with the court. If you were served in person, you have 21 days to respond.


5. How do I get started?

I offer a half hour free consultation. I will meet with you and answer any questions that you may have. I will give you a fee aggreement and a questionnaire. Once you are ready to get started, bring in the signed fee agreement, the completed questionnaire and the retainer and we will get started on your documents.


6. My spouse is threatening me. Is there anything I can do?

Yes, if you feel threatened, you should go to the court and file for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) immediately. Go to the Circuit Court and they can help you.


7. Are you aggressive when necessary?

An amicable resolution to family matters is always in the best interest of all of the parties; however, if necessary I can and will aggressively protect my clients and their rights.

What questions can I answer for you?

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Filing Bankruptcy


1. How much equity can I have in my house and still file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

You can have $23,675 per person or $47,350 per married couple equity in your residence as of 10/2016.


2. How can I determine the equity in my house?

Figure out the value (what could your house be sold for today) of your house, subtract the amount of mortgage(s) and the sum is your equity.


3. Can I protect real estate that I do not reside in, but have equity is?

It is difficult to protect any real estate other than your residence, unless the equity in the other real estate is less than $12,725 per person and you have no other property to protect.


4. Can I protect my vehicle(s) and still file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Yes, you protect the equity in your vehicle up to $ 3,775 (value - loan= your equity), other vehicles can be protected under the general category.


5. I have an IRA/401(k)/Pension Plan that I cannot withdraw or take a loan against prior to retirement or termination, will it be seized by the Bankruptcy Court?

Not usually.


6. My paycheck is being garnished; will filing Bankruptcy stop that? How soon?

Yes, immediately upon filing, we can notify your employer to stop the garishment.


7. I have judgments against me. What methods can my creditors use to collect the debts?

Garnishments against wages, tax refunds, and bank accounts, seizure of vehicles, furniture, firearms, or anything else you own, liens against real estate.


8. Which looks worse on my credit report; Bakruptcy or bad debts?

Bad debts always looks bad. Bankruptcy is a black mark, definitely, but it will "clean up" your credit and zero out your unsecured debts. Your debt to income ratio will look better immediately.


9. What kind of debts can be discharged (wiped out) by Bankruptcy

Unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills, music clubs, magazines, personal loans may be discharged in a "normal" case. Any debt secured by property such as real estate, furniture, vehicles etc. may be discharged if the property is returned.


10. I rolled one vehicle loan into my current vehicle loan, now I owe about twice what my vehicle is worth, what can I do?

It would probably be best to surrender the vehicle and buy one that you can afford.


11. Should I close my bank accounts prior to filing?

Only if you owe the bank or credit union money for a loan you not be paying after the filing of the bankruptcy.


12. Should I take my name off of any property prior to filing?

No, it has to be disclosed and it would be fraudulent not to disclose it.


13. What debts cannot be discharged in Bankruptcy?

You cannot discharge unsecured priority claims, including, but not limited to, certain taxes, student loans, spousal support, child support, criminal restitution, and debts for death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. Creditors can also object to a Chapter 7 discharge based on the fraudulent acts of the debtor. A discharge in a Chapter 7 case is a liquidation, or termination of the obligation on the debt, of the debtor's unsecured, non-priority debt, in addition to secured debt that is surrendered. Unsecured, non-priority debt, are debts such as medical bills, credit cards, and personal loans. Secured debt is debt that has a lien, or security interest, in real or personal property, such as a car loan or a mortgage on real property. The obligation on a secured debt can be discharged as long as the property securing the loan is returned, or surrendered, to the creditor.


14. Do I have to stop using my credit cards? 

Yes. Stop immediately once you decide to file for Bankruptcy protection.


15. Once I've made the decision to file Bankruptcy, what bills should I continue to pay?

Continue to pay mortgage(s), car payment(s) (if you plan to keep them), rent, utilities, and telephone.


16. What does your office charge for Bankruptcy?

The filing fee to the court is $335 and the legal fee is $1,000 for most counties surrounding Shiawassee County. It is more expensive, in my office, if the hearing is in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids or Traverse City.

I'm here to answer your legal questions. Call us today: