Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce, Bankruptcy & Criminal Defense Matters in Michigan

Criminal Law

We assist clients in resolving a wide variety of criminal charges, including serious felonies.

I’m being investigated/arrested/the police are at my house, what should I do?

Immediately contact the experienced defense attorneys Lucido & Manzella, P.C. DO NOT talk with the police, and do not allow them to search your house/vehicle/person without a warrant.

But I’m innocent! Surely once they hear my story everything will work out?

If the police wish to speak with you, it typically means they are investigating a crime. Do not talk to the police without speaking to us first. Remember, everything you say can and will be used against you.

My significant other/loved one/friend has been arrested, what should I do?

If someone you know has been arrested, the only way to help them is through an experienced criminal defense attorney at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. The police are not there to help the people they arrest. Immediately contact our office where an attorney is available to speak to you 24/7/365.

But this is only for an insignificant offense?

Even the most minuscule and petty crimes can have long lasting effects on your public record. They can affect your job, driver’s license, and immigration status among other things. Do not proceed without first speaking to an attorney from Lucido & Manzella, P.C. who can explain all the potential consequences to you or your loved one first.

What if everyone thinks I’m guilty?

It is the police and the government’s job to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. One of our experienced defense attorneys will stand up for you no matter the odds and make sure the government stays honest.

Personal Injury

Our attorneys are highly experienced in obtaining compensation for injured people and their families.

I know Michigan is a "no fault state," but I am in a lot of pain, I can’t sleep and the accident has affected my marriage. Can I collect damages for my pain and suffering?

In some cases, yes. However, you must be able to prove all of the following: The accident was caused at least 51% by the other driver’s carelessness You didn’t intentionally hit the other driver’s vehicle At the time of the accident, you had at least the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by Michigan law You must also show that injuries from the accident have caused “serious impairment of a body function, or a “serious and permanent disfigurement.”

What kind of injuries qualify as "serious impairments of a body function" and "serious and permanent disfigurements"?

There’s no list of injuries that automatically qualify as “impairments” or “disfigurements”, and qualified medical testimony will always be required. However, in every case the injuries you’ve suffered must significantly affect your ability to live your life as you did before the accident. Have you been able to return to work? If so, it’ll be harder to prove that you have a qualified “impairment”. But, your inability to perform some work-related or other physical tasks can also be a factor.

How long do I have to file a claim for pain and suffering?

In most cases, a claim must be filed before the third anniversary of the accident. If the victim was a minor, the claim must be filed before he or she turns nineteen. Remember that these are only general answers and are not intended as legal advice. The circumstances of your accident, the nature and severity of your injuries and your personal situation are each unique. The attorneys at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. have many years of experience in evaluating automobile personal injury claims. Let us review your case today – we’ll give you clear and honest answers to your questions and help you understand your rights and options.

Estate Planning

A well crafted estate plan can save your loved ones from stress and disagreement, and ensure your wishes are followed.

Does having a will avoid probate?

No. If you die and are the sole owner of property, probating a decedent’s estate will be necessary to distribute your property according to your will (if you have one), or to your heirs of law (if you do not have a will).

Does having a trust avoid probate?

Yes. Trust administration is usually accomplished without involving a court, as long as all your property is owned by (or titled to) your trust at the time of your death.

Will a quit claim deed avoid probate?

A quit claim deed only applies to real estate in which you name someone as a co-owner. Thus, if your only probate asset is real estate, and you have executed a quit claim deed naming an additional owner, no probate will be necessary.
However, a quit claim deed, or any other form of joint ownership, has problems you should be aware of. For example, the co-owner you name could have creditors, in which one or more creditors could have this property seized to satisfy the debt owed to them.

How do I get started with estate planning documents?

An important first step is to name responsible people, whom you trust, to handle your property and affairs. You must be mentally competent at the time you sign your estate planning documents. There are many versions of forms available, especially on the internet, which could allow you to draft your own estate planning documents. But due to their complexity and differing laws among the states, it is recommended to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to make sure the documents are drafted specifically to your circumstances. Contact the professional attorneys at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. to make an appointment in order to discuss your estate planning needs.

Family Law

At Lucido & Manzella, P.C. we have many years of experience advising individuals who wish to legally end their marriages.

I understand Michigan is a "no fault" divorce state, but do I still need to sue my husband/wife?

Yes, even in a “no fault” case, one spouse must still be named as the “plaintiff” who is requesting the divorce.

Do my spouse and I need to be separated before I file?

No. There is no required separation period before filing for  divorce in Michigan.

What are the residency requirements?

The plaintiff (or, in some cases, the defendant) must have been a resident of Michigan for at least 180 days. That spouse must (with a few limited exceptions) also have resided in the county where the divorce complaint is filed for at least ten days prior to filing. Once the residency requirement has been met, you may file a complaint for divorce.

My spouse has moved to another state. Can I still file for divorce in Michigan?

The Michigan court will be able to grant a valid divorce, but it may not have full authority to divide your marital assets or to rule on custody or child support issues. However, if your spouse is willing to do so, he or she can consent to allowing the court in Michigan to decide all divorce-related issues.

How quickly will my divorce be granted?

With rare exceptions, there will be a “cooling off” period of either sixty days (if there are no minor children and no children are expected to be born) or six months if there are minor children.


If your debts are becoming unmanageable, our bankruptcy attorneys may be able to help you find relief.

How do I know if it’s time to file for bankruptcy?

When you are unable to keep up with bills, such as following an illness or unemployment, we recommend exploring bankruptcy as a solution. Additionally, if a creditor obtains a judgement against you, filing for bankruptcy can prevent the creditor from seizing assets or garnishing wages.

Can a wage garnishment be stopped by filing a bankruptcy?

Yes. Once your case is filed, the court issues an automatic stay which prevents creditors from trying to collect from you; including garnishing your wages for debts that existed at the beginning of the case.

Does Bankruptcy wipe out all of my debts?

Bankruptcy does not discharge all debts. In general, certain debts won’t be discharged, such as:

  • Taxes
  • Child and spousal support
  • Responsibility for injuries or death caused by drunk driving
  • Debts originating from the debtor’s own intentional or malicious misconduct
  • Debts from a previous bankruptcy that cannot be discharged
  • Criminal penalties
  • Student loans; and forfeitures.

Secured debts may still be discharged, but expect the creditor to retake the property using the necessary legal processes. Typically, the debtor is able to reclaim the property by reaffirmation and redemption if their equity interest is exempt.

What is the difference between secured and unsecured debt?

Secured debt is a debt claim that is secured by a lien of some type in your property, either by your agreement or involuntarily, such as with a court judgment or taxes. Unsecured debt is not tied to any type of property. Most credit card debts are unsecured. If you wish to keep property which secures a debt you must enter into a reaffirmation agreement with the creditor.

Must I list all of my assets on my petition?

Yes. It is very important that all assets are listed. Knowingly and fraudulently concealing your assets from the bankruptcy court is a felony and the court has the power to fine you and deny you a discharge. Remember that most bankruptcy cases are considered “no asset” cases since state or federal exemptions can protect all of your property.

Which type of bankruptcy should I file?

Individuals who fulfill qualifying requirements typically select Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is a common choice because Chapter 13 requires the individual to repay any amount of their debt. On the other hand, Chapter 13 may be a better solution if you wish to keep your house. Missed mortgage payments can be gradually repaid via your Chapter 13 plan. If you choose Chapter 7, you will need to pay the full amount immediately, meaning you will risk losing your home if the equity is greater than the exemption amount provided.

Success Stories
in the News

2 Codefendants Sentenced in Embezzlement Probe of Ex-Macomb Prosecutor Eric Smith

Mr. Manzella represents businessman William Weber, who admitted to falsifying an invoice at ex-Macomb prosecutor Eric Smith’s request. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, with felony offenses dismissed during the sentencing.

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