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: 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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Q: I went to court recently and we had a settlement conference. At that meeting, we agreed on a settlement. My lawyer put the settlement on the record, and I agreed to it. When I got home, I felt sick. I felt like the process was extremely rushed and that I was under pressure. Can I back out of the settlement?

A:  Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to back out of a settlement once it has been placed on the record in open court. Unless you can prove that the other party someho… Read More
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Q: Some lawyers appear to offer free consultations, while others do not. Is it worthwhile to seek a free consultation with a lawyer?

A: Many  lawyers do offer an opportunity to meet briefly at no charge. If a free consultation is offered, by all means take advantage of it.  The primary purpose of such a m… Read More
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Q: I am in the middle of trying to negotiate a divorce settlement. I have been told that we must follow the Michigan support formula, but my wife and I agree that, under the circumstances, it is not necessary for me to pay as much support as the formula provides. We both make a very good living, and I have expended substantial funds for the children's travel athletics and other extracurricular activities. Can we deviate from the child support formula?

A:  Unless either of you is receiving public assistance such as food stamps or Medicaid, it is permissible to deviate from the child support formula for a number of reasons.… Read More
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Categories: Child Custody, Divorce

Q: I have been having trouble in my marriage and feel that it may be necessary to file for divorce. However, I am not sure this is what I am ultimately going to do. If I file the paperwork and then change my mind, what happens?

A: The decision of whether to file for divorce is a highly emotional and extremely complex one. If you hold out any hope that your marriage might be saved, I would encourage y… Read More
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Categories: Divorce

Q: My wife and I are trying to settle our divorce and we are making good progress at resolving all of the issues out of court. As funny as it sounds, the only thing we are really arguing about is the dog. Our golden retriever has been a part of our family for several years and she means a lot to both of us. What will the court to do with this?

A:  You would be surprised at how common this dispute has become, especially in families with children.  The short answer is that a pet is considered personal property subje… Read More
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Categories: Divorce

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