The Family Law Leader

Blog

Welcome to my blog!

On this page I will share thoughts and answer frequently asked questions about family law. Have a question? Feel free to submit it by email and I will attempt to answer it in a blog post.

As you make you way through the divorce process, you will have many questions along the way. I am confident that I have the answers to your questions or at least the resources to find them. I would be happy to talk with you about your situation and answer any questions you may have. Call my Holland, Michigan office today to arrange a consultation. I handle cases in the West Michigan counties of Ottawa, Allegan, Muskegon and Kent.

Q: We recently went to mediation and settled most of the issues in our divorce. However, my wife is being stubborn about personal property. She says that we need to place a dollar value on everything and that the values must be equal when we divide our stuff. I think this is a big hassle, and would rather not waste my time on this. How does the court look at personal property division in a divorce?

A:  As I am sure you can imagine, personal property is one of those issues that many Family Court judges would rather not get involved  in.  If it all possible, it is far p… Read More
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Q: I am going through a divorce and we are unable to agree on the value of the house. It looks like we are going to go to court over this issue. How is the court going to determine the value of the home?

A: If you have not already done so, I strongly suggest that you obtain an appraisal from a licensed real estate appraiser as soon as possible.  In recent years, the real esta… Read More
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Q: During my 20 year marriage, I inherited about $20,000 when my grandfather passed away. I have had this invested in a brokerage account in my name for about 10 years and it has more than doubled in value. Now my husband says he is entitled to half of that if we divorce. Is that true?

A: In most cases, assets inherited by one party during the marriage will be deemed separate property, not subject to division in the divorce. However, under certain circumstan… Read More
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Q: My wife and I have been married for 10 years and have accumulated an embarrassing amount of credit card debt. Between the two of us, we earn around $90,000. Our credit card debt is over $50,000. Most of this is in my name, although my wife is the one who has done most of my spending. Can the judgment of divorce require her to pay some of this?

A: The most important thing to remember about credit card debt in the context of divorce is that, no matter what the judgment of divorce says, the person who is contractually… Read More
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Q: My attorney tells me we have a settlement conference coming up in my divorce case. We already went to mediation, but were not successful in settling the case. What is the settlement conference all about?

A: The settlement conference is generally your last formal opportunity to settle your case. At the settlement conference, the parties and their attorneys meet at the courthous… Read More
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Q: I would like to mediate my case rather than going through the court system. Is this a possibility?

A:  Yes and no. First, you should know that in nearly all counties in Michigan, the courts are referring domestic matters to mediation.  In most cases, the court issues a no… Read More
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Q: I am involved in a custody case. My children's therapist says that he will testify regarding the best interest of my children. However, I cannot afford to have him appear live at the courthouse. Can I simply submit a letter from him to the judge regarding his opinions in my case?

A: I have had lots of clients ask this question. The short answer is, probably not. The only time this would work is if the other party’s attorney agrees to stipulate to… Read More
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Q: What is the difference between sole legal custody and joint legal custody?

A: Every custody order contains language determining the legal and physical custody arrangements for a child.  With joint legal custody, the parents are charged with the resp… Read More
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Q: I am in the middle of a divorce. A couple of days ago, my attorney sent me an email with an extremely long document attached, entitled interrogatories and request for production of documents. Do I really have to answer all of these questions? They seem very invasive, and my spouse already has all of this information. What is going on?

A: Interrogatories and requests for production of documents are part of what is known in the legal world as discovery.  They are commonly utilized in all types of litigation,… Read More
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Q: My daughter is 14 years old and I have been divorced from her father for several years. When she was young, she enjoyed spending time with her father but now, for a number of reasons, she no longer wants to visit with him on weekends as she has previously done. People have told me that, now that she is a teenager, the court will let her decide where she goes. Is this true?

A:  While the child’s reasonable preference is one of many factors the court takes into consideration when determining custody and parenting time, it is the court and t… Read More
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