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Recent Blog Posts

Divorce Filing Rates Are Highest as a New Year Dawns

 Posted on January 09, 2023 in Divorce

Novi divorce lawyerMore couples begin seeking legal assistance with initiating the divorce process in January than they do during any other month. Because it takes time to process initial divorce-related paperwork, the number of divorce cases filed with courts in Michigan and throughout the country ultimately hit their peak for the year in March.

There are a variety of reasons why January has widely come to be known as “divorce month.” Parents of minors generally avoid filing for divorce during mid-to-late summer because they do not want to disrupt the start of the school year. Then, they hold off during the start of the year and into the holidays for the sake of their kids. Couples without kids often avoid filing for divorce during the fall months and into the holiday season to spare their loved ones excessive stress as well.

If you are thinking about filing for divorce now that the New Year has dawned, you will want to carefully consider how you will approach this process. Your approach will inform everything from how you will go about dividing your marital assets to how much you are likely to incur in legal fees.

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Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in a Divorce?

 Posted on December 28, 2022 in Divorce

Oakland County child custody lawyerCustody disputes between divorced or separated parents can be heated, and not only for the parents. Sometimes children have strong preferences about their living arrangements and may express those preferences, much to the disappointment or surprise of either parent. If you are engaged in a custody dispute in Michigan and are wondering whether your child has the authority to choose whether they live with one parent or the other, read this brief overview of the topic and then contact a Michigan child custody attorney who can help. 

How Old Does a Child Need to Be Before They Can Choose Which Parent They Live With? 

Ultimately, a child needs to be 18 before they can make any final decisions about where to live. However, Michigan law does allow the preferences of a child to be considered as one factor in custody decisions. However, it is only one factor out of many.

Other factors include: 

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Do I Have to Dissolve My Professional Practice If I Get Divorced?

 Posted on December 23, 2022 in Divorce

Novi divorce attorneysDivorce is full of challenges and frustrations, and for most couples, asset division is one of these. For spouses who own or manage a professional practice, the idea of dividing something so intimately connected with one’s own labor, ability, and identity may feel insulting. Nevertheless, Michigan law requires all marital assets to be divided, and professional practices are rarely excluded from these. If you are a dentist, psychologist, physician, attorney, consultant, or any other professional who has their own company, read on and then contact a Michigan divorce attorney for assistance with your case. 

Is My Professional Practice Marital Property? 

Professional practices are built carefully with years of effort. Often, even if only one spouse is involved in working with a professional practice, both spouses have contributed to the worth and development of the practice over the years. This is especially true if one spouse worked while the professional spouse pursued an education and got their business off the ground. Practices begun after a couple is already married are considered marital property in Michigan. 

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What Happens to Real Estate in a Michigan Divorce?

 Posted on December 16, 2022 in Divorce

Novi divorce lawyerDividing virtually any type of assets and debts is a difficult part of any divorce, and real estate ownership is no exception. Both spouses generally make strong claims to ownership of marital property and real estate can be unique among other assets because a family has often lived and created memories within a home, making it more valuable than just its market value. When both partners want to keep a home, or any other category of real estate, what happens? Read this blog to learn more about how real estate is handled in Michigan divorces and then contact an experienced divorce attorney who can help you manage your asset division case. 

How Are Marital Assets Divided in Michigan? 

Before real estate or any other asset owned by either spouse can be divided, it has to be part of the marital estate. If one spouse owned a home or any other real estate before getting married, that property may not be considered marital property, depending on how it was managed during the marriage. Spouses may also have prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that dictate how assets are handled in the event of a divorce. Categorizing marital vs. personal property can be a complex area of negotiation all by itself. 

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Who Are Potential Child Experts in the Divorce Process?

 Posted on December 08, 2022 in Divorce

Novi divorce attorneyA huge number and variety of studies exist that illustrate the negative impact a divorce can have on children. Children who are subject to parental conflict, domestic abuse, or neglect during divorce often suffer from negative lifelong consequences, including higher rates of criminal behavior, teen pregnancy, and high school dropout rates. However, with the proper attention and care, parents can prevent their children from being exposed to the most negative aspects of divorce. While you can never control or predict your child’s reaction entirely, there are steps you can take to minimize their difficulties. Here are three experts who can help you manage child-related issues during a divorce. 

Guardian ad Litem

Some very high-conflict divorces require children to have legal representatives of their own. If a guardian ad litem is assigned to your case, or if you hire a guardian ad litem on your own, it is important to understand their role. A guardian ad litem will interview you, your child, your child’s other parent, plus any other adult who can provide helpful information. Furthermore, they will investigate any accusations of child abuse or neglect. They may create a report for a judge or testify in court as to what they think is in the best interests of the child and will advocate on behalf of the child for their needs to be met.

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Planning for Divorce Mediation in Michigan

 Posted on November 28, 2022 in Divorce

Oakland County divorce mediation attorneysMediation is a commonly used term in many Michigan divorces because courts all over the state often compel people to take part in mediation to try and resolve certain disputes. Mediation is quite simply a settlement process that allows both parties to have input on possible solutions to issues and it will typically require both parties to come to an agreement for mediation to work.

Mediation does not solve all problems, and there can certainly be couples for whom mediation ends up being more of a waste of time than anything. For many other people, however, mediation provides an opportunity to try and address a wide range of issues and contemplate possible solutions that can prevent a court from having to render its own decision.

How Mediation Works

Mediation may be either voluntary or court-ordered in Michigan, but both parties will be working with a neutral third party known as a mediator. A mediator does not render any judgments or try to impose any requirements on either party. Instead, the mediator is simply there to try and help negotiate an agreement between the parties.

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What You Should Know About Spousal Support

 Posted on November 18, 2022 in Divorce

Novi alimony enforcement lawyerSpousal support awards, also known as alimony, are not terribly common in most divorces in Michigan, but they can occur, and people should be prepared to deal with them. While spousal support is never mandatory while spouses are separating and figuring out their new lives, it becomes mandatory as soon as there is a final court order, and a paying spouse will have to pay as ordered, regardless of their personal feelings.

Whether you are seeking spousal support payments or are being asked to pay spousal support, you will want to be sure that you hire an experienced attorney who will know how to negotiate the outcome that is most favorable to you. Michigan Compiled Law § 750.165 establishes that repeated failure to pay spousal support is a felony offense punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Obtaining Spousal Support from Non-Paying Spouses

It is not uncommon for one spouse to refuse to pay spousal support because they may already be paying a significant amount of child support. Whatever the reason for their issue might be, the law clearly stipulates that people who are ordered to pay spousal support must pay it on time without exception.

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How Child Custody Works in Michigan

 Posted on November 11, 2022 in Family Law

Novi child custody lawyerChild custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of each parent and child indicating the time a child will spend with a parent and each parent’s ability to render decisions on behalf of a child. Judges can structure child custody agreements to satisfy the unique schedules of both parents, as they typically seek to promote a strong bond between parents and children unless one parent endangers a child.

Custody agreements can be reached between spouses through various negotiations, including mediation, and judges will usually order those agreements. Cases in which parties cannot agree can still result in joint custody determinations, although how judges award parenting time in joint custody cases can vary widely.

Types of Child Custody

When it comes to descriptions of custody arrangements, there are typically the following kinds of agreements:

  • Sole Custody — While it does not have a legal definition in Michigan, sole custody happens when a single parent gets both primary physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody involves a parent providing a majority of the daily care for a child, while legal custody involves a parent making major decisions about a child’s upbringing. When a judge believes parents will not be able to work together to benefit a child, sole custody can be awarded to one parent with the other parent possibly receiving parenting time.

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Can I Use Texts to Prove Spousal Abuse in Our Michigan Divorce?

 Posted on November 03, 2022 in Divorce

Novi divorce lawyerWhen a relationship has gone on for months or years, an abusive partner rarely thinks carefully about whether other people will be able to see evidence of their abuse and often leaves a trail of proof in written communication and even in voicemails.

However, whether such evidence can be brought to court in a divorce case is another question entirely. Criminal and civil cases sometimes handle evidence differently, and divorces are civil procedures. Even Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) are civil procedures, although the behavior they guard against may potentially be criminal in nature (such as physical abuse). If you want to divorce an abusive spouse - especially if you are hoping to keep your spouse away from your children - you will need to show evidence of the abuse. Read on to learn about how this can be done, and then contact a Michigan divorce attorney for a confidential consultation. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Adoptions in Michigan

 Posted on October 28, 2022 in Divorce

Novi adoption lawyer Adoption can be a wonderfully rewarding experience for many people to bring a child into their home and begin providing a loving and caring environment for them to grow up in, but adoption can also be incredibly confusing to navigate. People who are trying to adopt in Michigan will want to be sure they retain legal counsel for help overcoming any and all obstacles that may arise.

Birth parents can work closely with adoptive parents in some cases, but there may be others in which these parties do not meet. Every adoption in Michigan will require certain steps to be followed.

Who Can Legally Adopt in Michigan?

A person who wants to adopt in Michigan must be at least 18 years of age, complete a licensing application, successfully complete all background clearances for themselves and all of their adult household members, provide medical statements for themselves and all of their household members, submit to an environmental inspection, provide three acceptable references, pass on-site visits to their home by a licensing worker, and attend training pertinent to foster care issues.

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