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Michigan Family Law Blog

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Errors Happen When You Don't Use a Lawyer in Your Divorce

Getting a divorce is difficult in many ways from the emotions to the financial strains.  One sure way to make matters worse is to attempt to navigate divorce laws and the legal process without a skilled family law attorney.  There are many technical issues, timelines and rules that must be followed in addition to the necessary overall knowledge of the divorce laws.  Sometimes, the court or the friend of the court makes an error and if you don't have an attorney that really knows what their doing, that error may go unnoticed and cause you serious damage and unexpected consequences. A Michigan divorce lawyer can help you take steps to protect yourself from errors that can occur in the process.

Two Examples of Errors I Recently Encountered

I recently met with two women (on separate ocassions) both of whom had cases where either the court, the friend of the court (FOC) or the prosecutor's office made an error.  Neither were represented by an attorney in the original case or court appearance where the error occurred.  These errors should have been caught, but they were not and this came back to haunt each one of them.

The first case, I was able to help correct the error and right the wrong that occurred.  In that case, the FOC records showed that her ex-husband owed her over $14,000 in child support.  During a court appearance that the FOC scheduled for the husband to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for failing to make payments toward the large outstanding balance, the FOC made a serious mistake which resulted in the case being closed and the arrears eliminated.  Fortunately, the woman discovered what occurred within a couple of months and contacted me.  I was able to file a motion that explained the error and appeared in court on her behalf.  The court understood the error, summarily reinstated the arrears and reopened the case much to the chagrin of her ex.

The second case I had to advise the woman that there was nothing that could be done.  In that case, the parties were not married but the prosecuting attorney's office filed a case on her behalf against the father to establish paternity.  As part of the order that established paternity, the court ordered child support, but stated that the support would only start once the mother provided notice to the FOC that the parties were no longer residing together.  The parties were not actually residing together at the time the order was entered and the mother never provided the required notice to the FOC to initiate or start the child support payments.  Several years later she discovered that child support was never actually ordered or initiated due to this and the father did not have any arrears.  After analyzing the facts and the law, I had to unfortunately advise her that to hire an attorney to pursue the matter would be simply throwing her money away and the father got away with not having paid any child support for several years.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney to Discuss Your Options

In both of the above cases, a skilled family law attorney would have caught the errors immediately and avoided the problems.  It is very important to have your attorney involved at every stage of the divorce process.  Contact Michigan divorce attorney Cameron C. Goulding to discuss your options. 


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