The Family Law Leader

» Divorce

Q: My attorney tells me that I have a mediation coming up. I don’t know what to expect. Can you give me a general rundown of the process?

A: Mediations are not all the same, but most of them follow a general format that is somewhat predictable.  If your attorney was involved in choosing the mediator, which is u…

Q: I recently filed a complaint for divorce. My wife says she is opposed to the idea of divorce and intends to contest it. What does this mean?

A: Michigan is known as a no-fault divorce state.  This means that, in order to obtain a judgment of divorce, the plaintiff, who is the person filing for divorce, does not ne…

Q: What is separate property?

A:  The concept of separate property is often an issue in divorce cases, whether the parties have been married for a brief time or for many years.  As a general rule, everyt…

Q: I have a mediation coming up. What should I do to prepare?

A: Mediation will be most effective if you have a clear picture of your overall financial situation and, if you have children, try to have a proposed parenting time plan in pl…

Q: I am in the middle of a divorce. My wife is a partner in a small engineering firm, and I am an elementary school teacher. She earns about twice what I do. I know that her interest in the engineering firm is worth something, as the firm owns an office building and lots of equipment. How can I determine what the business is worth for purposes of property settlement?

A:  You are correct that most businesses have a value for purposes of property settlement. It can be difficult to place a value on a personal service businesses such as an en…

Q: After 20 years of marriage, I found out that my husband has been cheating on me for over a year and we are in the process of a divorce. He says that he wants joint custody of our three children. I don’t understand how a judge could ever award custody to a person who is clearly at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Can you explain this?

A:  I’m sorry you have found yourself in this position. Unfortunately, in the majority of divorce cases, one or both spouses have gone outside of the marriage for intimacy.…

Q: I recently filed a motion to change parenting time. I noticed that it has been referred to a family court referee. What does that mean?

A:  In many counties in Michigan, Family Court judges are referring motions regarding parenting time, support, and other post-judgment matters to referees. There is a statute…

Q: My case has been assigned to mediation and my attorney tells me we are required to select a mediator. What are some things I should be aware of before I discuss selection of a mediator with my attorney?

A:  I often tell my clients that it really does not matter that much who mediates the case. What really matters is that the parties have gathered their information and are wi…

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…

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…

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