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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, October 19, 2018

What Happens if We Agree on Custody and Parenting Time in a Divorce?


Custody and parenting time are generally guided by what are called the statutory "best interest factors"  There are two types of custody, legal custody - ability to make decisions on behalf of the child such as religion and education, and physical custody which generally refers to with whom the child resides.  Parenting time refers to the schedule of where the child will be on any given day during a week, for instance the parents may agree to a parenting time schedule where the child is with mom on Monday and Tuesday, dad Wednesday and Thursday and the parents alternate weekends with the child.

Custody and parenting time are determined by the court by examining the best interest factors and applying them to the facts of each specific case.  This does not mean that the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding custody and parenting time for their children.  When the parents come to an  agreement regarding custody or parenting time, then, pursuant to statute, the court shall order the parenting time terms unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child.
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Monday, October 15, 2018

Five Child Visitation Myths

Visitation and parenting time are often aggressively litigated and disputed matters in a divorce. In some cases, parents believe certain child visitation myths that create unnecessary disputes between the parties. When that happens, it’s a good idea to talk with an experienced visitation lawyer to uncover the facts. Below are five child visitation myths that can create problems for parents who are going through a divorce.

1.  Michigan still uses visitation orders.

Michigan, like many other states, have adopted the term “parenting time” instead of visitation to define when a parent spends time with a child. It is presumed that it is in the best interests of a child to have a strong relationship with each parent, including spending sufficient time with each parent. Therefore, the courts support an arrangement referred to as “reasonable or liberal parenting time” to ensure both parents have abundant access to the child.


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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Can I Quit My Job To Avoid Paying Spousal Support?

Paying spousal support can be a painful reminder of a failed marriage. Spousal support can also be a financial burden that you would like to end. However, voluntarily quitting your job may not eliminate or reduce your spousal support payments. You could place yourself in a worse financial situation if you attempt to avoid paying spousal support by eliminating or reducing your income. Before taking such drastic steps, you may want to consult a Michigan alimony and spousal support lawyer to discuss legal options for reducing or eliminating spousal support payments.


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Monday, October 8, 2018

Can I Make My Spouse Pay My Attorney Fees In A Divorce?


Can I Make My Spouse Pay My Attorney Fees In A Divorce?

Typically, when parties engage in litigation, each party pays for his, her or its attorney fees regardless of winning or losing.  This is also true realistically regardless of whether the party that starts the litigation had any good grounds or legal reasons for filing the case.  This is known as the "American Rule".

In domestic litigation cases, there are two instances where a party may ask that the other side pay for his or her attorney fees and the court may order the other side to pay.  The courts may order the other spouse to pay where (1) a person is not able to pay for his or her attorney fees and the other person has the ability to pay for them or (2) where a party's misconduct has caused the other party to incur unnecessary or unreasonable legal fees or costs.


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Friday, October 5, 2018

Is an Amicable Divorce Possible?

While bitter celebrity divorces often make the news, untying the knot doesn’t always mean a knock-down drag-out fight for the rich and famous. And it doesn’t have to be that way for people of more modest means either. Getting a divorce can be amicable.

After all, while there may be more marital property to divide for wealthier couples getting divorced, the more important issues of child custody, visitation, and support generally find parents willing to put what’s in the best interest of their children before their issues as a couple. They do this in the spirit of attempting to co-parent successfully if only for the sake of their children.


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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Are Bonuses Included In Income When Calculating Alimony or Child Support?


Are Bonuses Included in Income When Calculating Alimony or Child Support?

In Michigan, child support is calculated by use of a formula that takes into account each parent's income; the number of overnights each child has with each parent, health care premiums paid by a parent for the child, and childcare expenses until August after a child's twelfth (12th) birthday.  Alimony, also known as spousal support, should be determined by considering fourteen (14)  different factors.  The factors are overlapping so that income and ability to earn are referenced or are relevant to several of those factors.  Currently, most divorce lawyers, mediators and even the courts (due to a relatively recent change in the case law) use prognosticator programs to help determine at least a starting point for alimony and income is a primary factor in those formulas.

In any case, either through negotiation, mediation or trial, the determination of what constitutes the proper income for each party is very important and may have a significant effect on the ultimate award of support.


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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Are Business-related Expense Deductions Allowed When Calculating Alimony?

​Are Business-related Expenses Deductible From Income When Calculating Alimony or Child Support?

Child support and alimony 


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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Can I Get Additional Child Support if My Child Attends Private School?


Can I Get Additional Child Support If My Child Attend Private School?

In Michigan, if parents of minor children separate (whether married or not) the court must determine child support based upon the child support formula.  Basically, the formula calculates support based upon each parent's income (as reported by the parent to the Friend of the Court), the number of overnights each parent has with the children, health insurance premiums paid by one parent for the children and work-related verifiable child-care expenses until August after a child's twelfth (12th) birthday.  If a parent is not represented by an attorney, this will be the end of the analysis.

However, an attorney that really knows family law should be able to help a client obtain more child support in certain situations based upon the circumstances of each case.  Divorce law, custody and support are very case specific and the outcome in each case may be determined by even a slight variation in the facts.


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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Can I Get More Child Support If My Child Has Special Needs?


 

In Michigan, child support is strictly determined by a formula by statute.  The statute requires the court to use a formula to calculate child support based upon the income of each parent and the number of overnights the children have with each parent.  The formula also provides an additional sum to the parent that has more overnights to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses and deductibles for the children and a credit to the parent that covers the children's health insurance.  Finally, for children under the age of twelve (12), the formula will reimburse a parent for a portion of his or her verifiable work related child care payments.  This is how basis child support is calculated by the Friend of the Court, without an attorney, these are really the only factors the court will consider in calculating child support.


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Friday, September 14, 2018

If We (the parents) Agree, Will the Court Order No Child Support?


If The Parents Agree, Will the Court Order No Child Support?

In Michigan, child support is determined by a formula.  This formula was created by the State legislature and according to statute, the court is to apply the formula in every case.  However, as always in the law, there are some exceptions.  Most of these exceptions can be easily found in the 2017 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual (If you are reading this after January 1, 2019, there should be an updated version, but most of the exceptions will remain the same).  

One of the exceptions is where the parties agree to deviate from the child support formula.


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