Areas of Practice
Divorce (or dissolution of marriage) is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling and/or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage. The divorce is a legal process to terminate the marriage contract. In Michigan, the filing of a lawsuit with a “Complaint for Divorce” is necessary to dissolve the marriage and set aside the marriage contract. The divorce will encompass all issues relative to that marriage including, but not limited to, alimony (spousal support), child custody, parenting time (visitation), child support, distribution of property, and division of debt.
Child custody and legal guardianship are legal terms which are used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions that relate to the child’s education, health, religion, and welfare, as well as the parent’s duty to care for the child.
In family law, child support (or child maintenance) is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child when the parents of the child are separated. This support is to provide the other parent (or a third party guardian) with the ability to care and support the child. Child Support is a based on numerous factors (parenting time schedule, income, number of children being supported) and in Michigan is determined through the mandated Child Support Guidelines.
Spousal Support (Alimony)
Alimony is a legal obligation of one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse during and/or after the divorce process. The obligation arises when one party is in need of support and the other party has the ability to pay the support. Many factors will be considered when the Court will determine the amount and duration of the support.
Change of Domicile
Domicile relates to a parent requesting to move the minor child to a new location that will change his/her domicile. Domicile is the status or attribution of being a permanent in a particular jurisdiction. In Michigan is a custodial parent wishes to move a minor child over a 100 miles or out of the State of Michigan, and there is a Custody Order in place, they must get approval from the Court. The Change of Domicile can be agreed to by the parents or can be petitioned and determined by the Court. Most Change of Domicile requests will also involve a change to the existing parenting time schedule for the minor children because there will be a change in the distance between the parents.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) which is a process that is attempted to resolve the parties issues without having to in front of a Judge for a hearing or Trial. This process is very successful in family law to help parents/parties resolve their issues and finalize their matter, whether it is relating to property, custody, parenting time, or support. Mediation can be much more financial advantageous to having a Trial as well. The Mediator that conducts the mediation is a neutral Attorney that has extensive experience in family law issues, and can help guide and suggest settlements that will help the parties reach a resolution without the need to go to a Trial for a determination by the Judge. This process requires the parties reach a settlement voluntarily.
Arbitration is also a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). However, this technique gives the Arbitrator the power to make a decision on the resolution of the parties disputes. The parties to a dispute refer it to arbitration and agree to be bound by the arbitration decision (the “award”). A third party (neutral Attorney) reviews the evidence in the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding on both sides and enforceable in the courts.
Post Judgment Hearings
Any issue between the parents after they have entered a Judgment (Divorce, Custody, Support) that may arise that needs a determination by the Court to help resolve. For example, parenting time (visitation) modifications, support modifications, enforcement of previous Orders or Judgments, changes in custody, etc.
Friend of the Court Hearings
Any Friend of the Court hearings or investigations that require assistance by attending with the client, on behalf of the client, or helping the client understand Friend of the Court’s role and procedures.
Other family law related issues