This is a bit embarrassing, but I need some information. I am in college and my wife and I earn a living selling merchandise online. We started this venture together to support our family, as we became pregnant straight out of high school. The issue is, we’re under a lot of strain, and now my wife is asking for a divorce. Although what I did is wrong, the relationship has been strained for a long time and eventually would have come to an end. I am in no way trying to justify my behavior; however, I am worried about losing custody of our child and the financial impact that this will have on my life. We own a home, some stocks, and share all bank and credit card accounts. Will I lose my business? What do I need to understand about the process? It’s a lot, trying to handle a business, a family, and do college at the same time.

We’d like to start off by saying that there is no need to be embarrassed. Millions of Americans are going through what you are experiencing, each with their own set of circumstances. As complicated and stressful as your case may feel, there are others than can relate.According to the American Psychological Association, more than 90% of Americans marry, but almost half of those marriages end in divorce. Therefore, you are not alone. Understanding the process is important so that you know what to expect.

Divorce can be a tedious, stressful, and complex process. It is important to keep calm and document as much as possible. During mediation or trial, being detailed and organized can really illustrate a positive and responsible characterization that will be taken into consideration by the judge. Before heading to trial, mediation will most likely be the suggested course of action. Trails are expensive; therefore, the judge will pressure both parties to reach a settlement. The parties involved will select an independent and unbiased mediator who will strive to reach an agreement. Expect negotiations to be a give and take, where you will give in to something to receive in other aspects.

The most important issue to resolve is that of children under the age of 18 and respective custody of said children. Either parent can file for custody, and there are several types of custody arrangements that the court will decide upon. As previously mentioned, the court prefers for parents to agree on custody. Otherwise, custody would be determined by what is in the best interest of the child and this generally includes the wishes of both parents, the wishes of the child, schooling arrangements, and the physical and mental states of both parents, among other factors. Evidence of domestic violence or criminal history of the parents would also play a part and would work against the offending party.

Property distribution would be another major aspect of divorce. In Michigan, the court will look for equitable distribution of assets, including property owned by either or both parties. The court will take into consideration the contribution that each spouse made toward the assets of the marriage. However, there are other aspects that the court considers, including the duration of the marriage, the income of both parties, the standard of living, income requirements, and how each spouse currently earns a living or can earn a living.Child support will come into play, and it is imperative that the parties involved understand that the court awards child support based on the welfare of the children. Meaning, what is best for your child is what is important to the court.

In terms of your business, this may or may not be complicated depending on a few factors. If it is a business that is incorporated and structured, such as an S Corporation or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), then such a business may be treated as an asset. The company would then be treated in the same manner as the property distribution mentioned above. If it is an informal business where you are just selling items onAmazon oreBay without the formality of a legal corporate entity, then there may not be much of an asset to distribute equally. The next factor that should be considered is the role that each of the parties play in the business and how critical each party is toward the continued success of said business. For example, would the business operate effectively without either of you?

The simplest solution to the business question is to mediate and negotiate with the parties involved, advises one top Ann Arbor Lawyer. It is better and easier to do this directly with the mediator instead of seeking resolution from the court as you know and understand your business better than anyone else. A judge may interpret complex aspects of a business as something simple, and this may be harmful to all parties involved. Regardless of how stressful it may be to sit down and decide what to do with the business, you will save a lot of time, hassle, and money by presenting the court with an agreement that is reached and agreed upon by both parties in a responsible and amicable manner. This not only shows good faith, it is also the best way to ensure that the business is not hurt by the impending divorce.

Luckily, the entry barriers for e-commerce businesses and businesses in general that revolve around online marketplaces are relatively low. Instead of dividing the business, consider creating another business where each party keeps one. You can easily open another eBay and Amazon account, look for product, and create a new business so that neither party gives up a revenue stream. For example, an activity such as buying wholesale electronics and posting such product on online marketplaces is something that can be done quickly and efficiently. Either individual can branch out and offer items in Amazon, eBay, Bonanza, Etsy, and other proprietary websites.

Although hiring a divorce lawyer is not required by law in all states, it is recommended. In your specific case, since you have property and children, a lawyer may be able to provide key insight that may prove indispensable during trial or mediation, suggest this real estate agency in Ann Arbor, MI, that has seen cases like yours. Allow the lawyer to review the specifics of your case and be honest and open so that the lawyer can negotiate on your behalf for your best interest and the best interest of your child. As you move through the process, understand that you are not alone, and remember to always keep calm. The best outcome can be reached when both parties end the marriage in the most amicable way possible and when both parties feel that a fair arrangement was reached. Although this is not always possible, the court and mediator will see when parties work toward negotiating in good faith.

Kudos to you for trying to balance your challenges while still pursuing an education. It will help you out in the long run.

“Never mistake a single mistake with a final mistake.” -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

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