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Michigan Family Law Blog

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.


Read more . . .


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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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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