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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, March 24, 2017

Child Custody Basics for Never-Married Co-Parents


According to data collected by the Pew Research Center, over 46 percent of children nationwide were living in an arrangement other than the “traditional” family structure – defined as two parents, both of whom were in their first marriage. Consequently, approximately 34 percent of children are living in homes with a single parent, while 4 percent of children live in homes with both parents who are unmarried but cohabitating.

What does this mean from a


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Thursday, March 16, 2017

FAQ About Gaining Visitation Rights as a Grandparent


According to a 2012 study published by the Journal of Family Issues, grandparents play an ever-increasing role in the lives of young grandchildren in the United States. The study pointed to factors like increasing lifespans, changing family dynamics and increased financial security among older Americans as underlying reasons for the growth in intergenerational bonds – along with geographic proximity and frequent interaction.

When it comes to interaction with grandchildren, some families have experienced great strains –

particularly if parents are reluctant to allow frequent contact due to extensive interpersonal issues between the parents and in-laws/grandparents. The following answers a few general questions about grandparent visitation in Michigan, and please be sure to follow up with an experienced Michigan family law attorney today!

FAQ #1: Can any grandparent petition for visitation at any time?

Not necessarily. Under Section 722.


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Friday, March 3, 2017

Parties Cannot Waive Statute in Prenuptial Agreement in Michigan


Prenuptial agreements or "prenups", are very useful for financial planning when parties are entering into a marriage.  This is particularly true when it is a second marriage, either party has children from a previous marriage, either party (or his/her family) has significant assets, either party has significant debts or either party is a business owner (or involved in a family business).  Case law has established that prenuptial agreements are binding and enforceable in Michigan.

To understand the issue I am about to discuss, it is necessary to give a brief background on divorce and property law.  Very simply speaking, the court will equally divide marital property but each party is typically awarded his or her own separate property.
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Post-Majority Child Support in Michigan


In Michigan, typically child support ends when the child reaches the age of 18 and the child is no longer a minor. However, an exception to this rule exists where the child is still attending high school and is residing on a full-time basis with the child support recipient.  In the matter of Weaver-Giffels v Giffels, COA 327844 (For Publication) November 10, 2016, the father challenged whether the daughter was actually residing with the mother on a full-time basis.

In that case, the daughter stayed with the father three nights per week and the mother four nights per week.  The father argued that support should not continue because the parties shared physical custody and the daughter did not live with the mother on a full-time basis.


Read more . . .


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Child Custody Considerations


What factors does the court consider when making child custody determinations?

In making determinations about child custody, or parenting time, the courts ultimately consider what is in the best interests of the child. While the assumption is that maintaining a close relationship with each parent is in the child's best interests, there are 12 factors that guide these decisions. Rather than breaking down each factor, let's take a look at some of the basic considerations.

What is the primary concern in determining parenting time?

The overarching concern is the physical health and safety of the child. In short, each parent must have the ability and willingness to provide for basic necessities: food, clothing and medical care.


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Perils of Social Media Networking in a Divorce Case


How can social media activity impact a divorce?

Many people pride themselves on the number of Facebook friends they have, and also spend a great deal of time on other social media sites like Instagram, tumblr, Twitter and others too numerous to mention. The purpose of this post is not to weigh in on the pros and cons of social media, but rather to advise people that anything they post on one of these sites can be used against them in a divorce case.

While it has become quite common for adults in Michigan to network on social media, whether as a means to communicate with friends, participate in online discussions, or post comments and pictures, they often fail realize that nothing posted online is really completely private.

In fact, even when privacy settings are set up, a savvy divorce attorney can easily subpoena this information. And posts and comments can become critical evidence in a divorce proceeding that can lead to unfavorable rulings on a wide range of matters, especially questions of child custody and support.


Read more . . .


Friday, January 27, 2017

Failure to Report Income Fails in Michigan Child Support Case


In some divorce and post-divorce cases, one spouse or the other will underreport his or her income to the Friend of the Court (FOC)  in an attempt to avoid child support.  If an objection is not filed by one party, this may go unnoticed as the FOC is not really designed to investigate whether or not the documentation provided is full and accurate.  If one party objects then the FOC or the family law court will schedule a hearing and each side will present evidence.

This appears to be the situation in the matter of Thaxton v Thaxton, COA 327545, December 6, 2016 (unpublished), where the FOC recommended originally that the father pay the mother seventy-three ($73) dollars per month based upon tax returns provided by both parties.  The father hired an attorney and filed an objection.


Read more . . .


Friday, January 20, 2017

Grandparent Visitation in Michigan – Part II


In our last post, we began the discussion surrounding grandparent visitation under Michigan law. We discussed the various ways in which a grandparent may be able to have “standing” to petition the court for the right to “grandparent” time with their grandchild, including those grandparents whose child was never married to the grandchild’s co-parent.


Read more . . .


Friday, January 13, 2017

Securing Grandparent Visitation in Michigan – Part 1


Are you a grandparent with a beloved grandchild?

Are you also experiencing a bit of tension within the family, making it difficult for you to gain access to your grandchild(ren) on a regular basis? If so, the following may provide a bit of guidance if you are interested in pursuing legal visitation rights to that grandchild – and we are here to help!

Under Section 722.27(b) of the Michigan Compiled Laws, a child’s grandparent may have access to what is known as “grandparent time,” which is essentially the right to visitation with the grandchild provided certain conditions exist.


Read more . . .


Friday, January 6, 2017

Divorce in Michigan and Escrow of Funds


I am a divorce lawyer in Oakland County, Michigan.  I read every family law case decided by the State Court of Appeals and Supreme Court in order to keep on top of new decisions and developments.  The matter of Bergh v Bergh, COA 329152, October 13, 2016, was an interesting case with a reminder that if you cannot agree regarding a sum of money or the proceeds from the sale of a home, then it is always wise to make sure there is an order in place to escrow the funds until a final decision is made on how those funds should be disbursed.

 


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Friday, December 30, 2016

Child Support Enforcement in Michigan


Q: What Happens if I Don’t Pay Child Support?

A couple who creates a child together, through marriage or not, will often be bound for life through their mutual children’s lifetimes. Unlike a couple who splits without having children, they don’t make a clean break. If they have minor children, there will be custody issues and on-going decisions about their children's welfare, and the financial obligation of


Read more . . .


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