Family Law

Divorce

Going through a divorce is one of the most emotionally draining experiences that life can throw at you. Not only does it involve child custody, property division, child and spousal support issues, but it also involves the worry of future emotional and financial security.

Call us today and we can answer all of your questions you may have including:

  • Does it matter who files first?
  • Should I move out of the marital home?
  • How is parenting time decided?
  • Is my inheritance considered marital property?
  • Will I be able to keep my pension/401K plan?
  • Who claims the children for income tax purposes?
  • Is child and spousal support considered income for IRS purposes?

 

Child Custody  back to top

The child custody laws have changed a lot over the years. It went from the ancient principle that a father has an absolute property right to his children and their services, to the idea that a mother is almost always the best custodial parent, to the current gender-blind “best interests of the child” philosophy found in the Child Custody Act of 1970.

The Child Custody Act of 1970 requires the court to assess the ability of individual parents to care for their children based on the "Best Interest Factors." There are 12 factors that the court will use to determine child custody. Knowing these factors and how the court will use the information gathered can have a big impact on the outcome of any custody dispute.

 

Parenting Time  back to top

Parenting time is also governed by the Child Custody Act of 1970 and is also determined by the "best interests of the child" philosophy. It's presumed that it's in the best interests of the child to build a strong relationship with both parents, but the court will look at every factor to make its determination.

Questions you may have regarding parenting time could include:

  • If my ex and I agree on parenting time does the court have to go along with it?
  • The "best interest factors" vs the "parenting time factors"?
  • If we have more than one child will the court split up their parenting time?
  • What do I do if my ex denies me my parenting time?
  • If I'm being denied my parenting time can I withold my child support payments?
  • Can a parenting time order ever be modified?
  • I'm a grandparent, do I have any rights to visitation with my grandchild?

 

Child Support  back to top

Child support is a court-ordered payment of money from a parent to a child or children. Minor children have an inherent right to financial support from his/her biological or adoptive parents. The amount of child support paid is determined and calcuated in accordance with the Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF). The calculated amount is what the court will order unless it finds that the amount would be unjust or inappropriate.

Common questions regarding child support are:

  • If we agree on an amount can we deviate from the child support forumla?
  • I lost my job, is there anything I can do about the amount I pay?
  • My ex is behind on the child support payments. What can I do about it?
  • Can I get retroactive payments?

 

 Spousal Support  back to top

When divorce terminates a long-term marriage, spousal support is used as support and maintenance of a former spouse who is unable to support himself or herself at a comparable standard of living due to years of financial dependence of the other spouse. The longer the marriage, the older the recipient, the less able the recipient is to support himself or herself due to lack of education, job skills, or on-the-job experience, the more likely spousal support is to be awarded.

Questions to be asked are:

  • How does the court determine if spousal support is awarded?
  • How does the court determine how much I will pay for spousal support?
  • Is spousal support deductible for the payor?
  • If I am receiving spousal support do I need to include it as income?
  • Rehabilitative vs Permanent spousal support?


Prenuptial Agreements  back to top

A prenuptial agreement allows the parties to determine their financial future if they decide to terminate their marriage. Some of the reasons that people use prenutial agreements are:

  • provide for a child from a prior marriage or relationship
  • ensure that they will receive specific property
  • protect the family business
  • save money during the litigation of their dissolution of marriage 

Parties seeking to have a prenuptial agreement set in place prior to marriage must be very careful. If it isn't written or executed properly it may be found void and the protection sought from the agreement will be gone.

 

Postnuptial Agreements  back to top

Postnuptial agreements are made by the parties during their marriage to specify the disposition of their property and their rights and obligations regarding support if they choose to end their marriage.

Parties seeking to have a postnuptial agreement set in place during their marriage must be very careful. If it isn't written or executed properly it may be found void and the protection sought from the agreement will be gone.