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Michigan Family Law Blog

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Should I Have Repairs Done On The Home Before Filing For Divorce?

Should I Have Repairs Done On The Home Before Filing For Divorce?

In Michigan divorce cases division of debt is generally a two-step process.  The first step is to determine whether the property in question is martial or separate property.


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Thursday, November 29, 2018

What Is Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) In A Divorce or Custody Case?


What Is Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in A Divorce or Custody Case?

In Michigan, the entry of a judgment of divorce is final with regards to property division, division of debt and in some instances alimony.  Custody, parenting time or visitation and child support are always modifiable as well as alimony in many cases.  Unfortunately there are cases where after the entry of the divorce judgment, the parents continue to have conflict and acrimony to the extent that they often return to court to argue about these issues for years.

In such high conflict cases, the court may appoint a lawyer as the guardian ad litem or GAL in cases where the child's interests may be inadequately represented.  The GAL meets with the child and acts as the child's attorney.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Will the Court Consider Non-overnight Parenting Time When Calculating Child Support?


Will the Court Consider Non-overnight Parenting Time When Calculating Child Support?

Typically in Michigan the court will only consider overnight parenting time when calculating child support.  This is because the Michigan Child Support Formula considers only the following specific factors: the income of the parties, health insurance provided by either parent for the children, child care or daycare expenses until August after a child's twelve birthday and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent.

However, in most cases it is worthwhile to check the guidelines manual (which is available online, just google it).  The manual provides a variety of reasons why a parent may ask the court to "deviate" from the guidelines.  The manual states that in cases where a lawyer can convince the court that the application of the formula to a particular case would lead to an unjust or inappropriate amount, the court may consider a list of other factors which would allow the court to order more or less child support than the formula mandates.


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

What Should I Do If My Spouse Claims They Don't Really Own Something?


What Should I Do If My Spouse Claims They Don't Really Own Something?

In Michigan, when a divorce court divides property, it first must determine whether the property is marital property, which should be divided equally between the spouses (hereinafter referred to as "the parties" or "a party") or separate. which should remain the property of only the owner party.  The legal definition of marital property is very broad and it encompasses generally anything that is earned or otherwise comes into the hands of either party during the marriage.   Separate property is limited by statute to property inherited by one party and kept separate, gifts to one party kept separate and property owned by one party before the marriage (premarital property) that has been kept separate,   

However, occasionally, one party attempts to claim that he or she does not even own the property but rather the party has conveyed the interest in the property (given away, sold, traded, or transferred by land contract for example) to someone else (often a friend or relative) or that the person never owned the property in the first place.  The type of person who does this appears to believe that he or she is more clever than anyone who has ever been divorced since people first started marrying and divorcing.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Is There a Statute of Limitations to Collect Alimony or Child Support?


Is There a Statute of Limitations to Collect Alimony or Child Support?

An action to enforce or collect child support or alimony is considered a civil action to enforce a court order.  There is a ten-year statutory period of limitations.  The ten-year period starts form the date that the last support payment is due under the support order regardless of whether or not the last payment is made.  For child support, generally, the date that the last payment is due is the child's 18th birthday.  For alimony, the final payment date would be the last date for which the court has ordered spousal support, unless it is extended, then the last date would be the final date of the extension.


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Friday, November 9, 2018

Should I File for Bankruptcy Before I File for Divorce?


Individuals file bankruptcy for a variety of reasons, such as medical debts, business failure, loss of a spouse, and divorce. Divorce is one of the reasons that many people need to seek the assistance of the bankruptcy court for debt relief.  However, if you anticipate that you may need to file bankruptcy because of your divorce, should you file the bankruptcy case before or after your divorce is final? In either case, working with a
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Can I Get Spousal Support During a Separation in Michigan?

Divorce laws in some states recognize what is referred to as a legal separation.  A legal separation in those states defines a situation in which the parties are living separate and apart. A court order dictates the duties and rights of the couple while they are living apart. In states in which a minimum amount of time living apart is required to obtain a no-fault divorce, legal separations are used to settle various matters while the parties are waiting until they may petition the court for a divorce. If you contact a Michigan legal separation lawyer regarding legal separation, he will inform you that our state does not recognize legal separations.

However, Michigan does have something remarkably similar to a legal separation called separate maintenance. A Michigan divorce attorney can help you seek separate maintenance, provided you meet the requirements under Michigan Compiled Laws Code §552. 7.


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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Desperate Measures to Get Full Child Custody

Q: Would having someone kill my ex-spouse get me full custody of the kids?

It’s a loaded question, but apparently one that needs to be answered for some people. Getting a divorce can be highly confrontational and emotional for some people and result in them exercising poor judgment that may land them—and others who assist them-- in legal hot water.

Some parents will do anything to get child custody. Other parents will do anything for their children--even kill. At least that’s what authorities say was the case for one Missouri woman and her father.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Can the Court Suspend Parenting Time Without Ordering Future Review Hearings?


Can the Court Suspend Parenting Time or Visitation Without Ordering Future Review Hearings?

In Michigan, when parents divorce or separate, the court must determine custody and parenting time (parenting time is the legal term for child visitation).  The parties may agree upon custody or parenting time or if they are not able to reach agreement through mediation, then the court must make the determination based upon the statutory best interest factors.  Once the parties reach an agreement or the court makes it's decision, then the court will sign a judgment of divorce or final custody, parenting time and support order that dictates how these issues will be handled.

However, custody, parenting time and support are always modifiable, so that if there is a change of circumstances or good cause to revisit these issues, then the court may modify the previous orders.  The Michigan Court of Appeals, recently decided a case where the lower court dramatically modified its previous orders over a short time.


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Friday, October 26, 2018

Is It OK For a Parent to Schedule Counseling For A Child Without The Other Parent?


Is It OK For a Parent to Schedule Counseling For A Child Without The Other Parent?

Counseling for children whose parents are divorcing or have recently divorced can be a very good idea.  However, the choice of the counselor and scheduling of the counseling must be planned out and agreed upon by both parents.  There are several reasons that this is true, primarily seeking the best results from therapy for the child.  However, there are several legal reasons why this is true as well.

First, if the parents are not yet divorced, it is assumed by the court that both parents should have an equal say in important decisions regarding a child's health and welfare.
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