Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Michigan Auto Accident Blog

Potential problems with retirement accounts in DIY divorce

In Michigan and around the country, some couples who have made the decision to divorce forego legal counsel and try to handle much of the settlement of financial assets on their own, including the daunting task of dividing property and accounts. Retirement accounts and pension plans can be difficult to allocate without a properly executed legal agreement and can result in one or both parties owing significantly more in taxes than they should.

The early withdrawal tax penalty for an improperly executed do-it-yourself divorce could be as high as 10 percent of what is withdrawn from a retirement account, not to mention the tax rate of up to 39.6 percent. An adviser who is more versed in tax law could recommend a simple transfer into a new retirement account, avoiding any early withdrawal penalties or unnecessary income tax bills. Or, another simple solution would be for the lesser-earning spouse to cash out their retirement account, avoiding hefty tax fees.

Shorter days may mean more wildlife-related accidents

Michigan motorists should know that they are at a higher risk for wildlife-related accidents in the autumn. Autumn happens to be, among other things, the peak mating season for deer, and bears are also lurking around for the calories they need before hibernation. From dusk to dawn, wildlife is increasingly on the move.

With the end of daylight savings time, wildlife will be harder for drivers to see. In Colorado alone, an average of 3,300 wildlife-related accidents are reported every year to the Department of Transportation, with more reports in November than in any other month. Such accidents cost drivers an average of $3,400 in vehicle damage.

Safety guidelines for driverless cars on hold

A bill approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in early October has given the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a decade in which to write permanent safety regulations for self-driving cars. Michigan motorists should know that it could be years before they see such vehicles on the roads. The NHTSA has stated in a report, which it will make public by the end of November, that it requires more input from organizations regarding the type of research it should conduct.

As there are currently close to 75 auto safety regulations, many of which will be incompatible with self-driving cars, the NHTSA has the choice between revising some guidelines and throwing out others. This has led to hurdles in the development of new regulations. Moreover, the research may take several years to complete.

Getting a divorce? Here are 3 ways to protect your business

Running a business is difficult and so is getting a divorce. When you put the two things together, it can feel like a nightmare. You may be wondering how your company is going to survive this storm. It can be difficult to manage your business during a divorce, but it is possible to get through it and continue thriving. 

You will need to do some planning to protect your business from collapsing from your imminent divorce. Along with determining the value of your business, here are the most important steps you can take to keep your business alive even though your marriage is ending. 

How working at night may make driving more dangerous

Those who work night shifts in Michigan may be at a higher risk of getting into an accident even if they drive home during the day. According to a study done by Brigham and Women's Hospital, this may be because their work patterns interrupt their wake-sleep cycle. It may also cause them to sleep less at night, which may result in drowsiness.

Individuals who work at night are advised to find alternate transportation home in the morning as even a short commute home could be dangerous for them and others on the road. Doing so may guard against the many side effects of drowsy driving. The study itself featured 16 people who worked night shifts on a closed track. On the first night, the workers drove after getting roughly 7.6 hours of sleep the night before. The next night, they were tested immediately after getting out of work.

Dealing with a difficult spouse in a divorce

Individuals in Michigan who are going through a divorce might wonder what property their spouse may be able to claim. For example, one 61-year-old woman in California was the main breadwinner in her relationship for about 10 years before seeking a divorce. Her husband would not share financial information with her attorney even though she turned over financial records to his attorney. He told his wife he wanted the entire home and half of her 401(k). His wife also believed he was hiding assets.

While this happened in a community property state, where joint marital assets are generally considered to belong to both people, it is unlikely that a judge would simply give the husband the home in any state unless it belonged to him prior to the marriage. The husband may have a claim on a portion of the retirement account. Divorces among older couples have nearly doubled since the 1990s, and it is more likely that couples in this age range will have more substantial assets than younger couples.

Analysis of fatal accidents reveals risks of older vehicles

A research paper from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified vehicle age as a contributing factor in death rates from car accidents in Michigan and throughout the U.S. According to the study, a driver in a car that is at least 18 years old has a 71 percent higher chance of dying in a wreck than someone driving a vehicle that is new or under three years of age.

The study only looked at fatal crashes, and researchers adjusted figures to remove the influence of factors like blood alcohol level, driver age and type of road. The risk of death declined as a vehicle's age dropped. Researchers defined newer vehicles as three years old or less. Fatality statistics for drivers in vehicles between 8 and 11 years old showed that they died at a 19 percent higher rate than drivers in new cars. For vehicles between 4 and 7 years old, the fatality rate for drivers was only 10 percent higher than newer vehicles.

Divorce and taxes

Michigan couples who get a divorce will also see changes in their taxes. It is important that individuals are aware of this so that there will not be any unpleasant surprises at tax time.

Because the IRS will classify individuals whose divorce was completed by the end of the year as unmarried, those individuals will no longer have the option of using the 'married filing separately" or 'married filing jointly" statuses. They may use the 'head of household" status if they have qualifying dependents residing with them. If not, they will be required to submit a return using the 'single" filing status.

What to do if you earn more than your husband and want to divorce

Unfortunately, most women who go through a divorce end up financially worse. Even with property division, spousal support and child support, it may take a long time before these ex-wives get back on their feet financially. However, this scenario is not the only one pertaining to women.

Many women who work earn more than their husbands or are even the only breadwinner in the family. If this applies to you, then you need to know the right approach for this situation to protect your assets in the event of a divorce.

Pedestrian death rate on the rise

Michigan residents might be shocked at the rising number of pedestrian deaths resulting from car accidents. Experts believe that there are many factors that have resulted in a steep rise in pedestrian deaths. However, there are also some things both drivers and pedestrians can do to counter this.

According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, about 6,000 pedestrians were killed in auto-pedestrian accidents in 2016. This was an increase of 22 percent over two years. There are many factors that have resulted in this increase, including distracted driving from talking on cellphones, texting and more. Road design and speed limit, poor visibility due to parked cars obstructing the driver's view and traffic congestion are all also contributing factors.

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Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone: 734-249-6100
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