The Family Law Leader

Practice Areas

Divorce

If you are headed for a divorce, either by your own choice or through consequences not of your own making, don’t go there without the assistance of a strong and experienced attorney by your side to guide you through the complexities of our legal sy…

Michigan Divorce Process

Divorce and family law expertise when you need it most. Learn more here.

The Meaning of No-Fault Divorce

Since the early 1970s, Michigan has been a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the parties are not required to plead (state in the complaint or other papers) or prove (show evidence in court) a reason for the divorce, other than the statutory standa…

When & Where to File for Divorce

Jurisdiction means that a court has authority or power to make a legal decision. Two types of jurisdiction are important in divorce. Personal jurisdiction must be acquired by serving the summons and complaint on the individual. The court must also ha…

Basic Divorce Paperwork

The person who initiates the complaint for divorce is called the plaintiff. The other spouse is the defendant. A divorce proceeding is commenced when the plaintiff files a summons and complaint.

Ex Parte Motions & Temporary Orders

The marriage relationship is one of mutual trust and respect. But when a new divorce case is filed, the relationship between spouses is turned on its head. Trust breaks down, secrets may be exposed, and the playing field is drastically changed. For t…

Discovery of Evidence

In many Michigan divorces, particularly those with significant financial assets or where custody is in dispute, I will conduct discovery, which is a legitimate part of the legal process designed to gather the facts needed for settlement or trial. Whi…

Friend of the Court Coordination Conferences

In Michigan, the Friend of the Court is an extension of the Family Division of the Circuit Court whose role is to provide assistance to the court and furnish the court with recommendations related to matters such as custody, parenting time, and child…

Child Support

Every child has an inherent right to receive support from his or her natural or adoptive parents. Our courts calculate support based on the Michigan Child Support Formula developed by the Friend of the Court Bureau and updated for economic changes. Y…

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also called alimony, is one of the most frequently litigated issues in divorce, for a number of reasons. First, it is often difficult for a spouse to comprehend supporting the soon-to-be ex after the marriage ends when in many cases…

Types of Spousal Support

There are three types of spousal support in Michigan. The first, often called alimony in gross, is actually a means of property division payable through either a lump-sum award or fixed periodic payments. It is non-modifiable and not subject to conti…

Spousal Support Factors

Michigan spousal support awards are based on 14 factors which are not contained in any statute, but are derived from case law. These include: parties’ past relations and conduct; length of the marriage; parties’ ability to work; source and amoun…

Modifying Spousal Support

Michigan spousal support payments can be modified based on changed circumstances unless the parties agree in the judgment that it is non-modifiable. Most judgments of divorce provide that spousal support will be payable for a set number of years, wit…

Property Division

The law requires that every judgment of divorce contain provisions dividing real and personal property. Real property includes the marital home and any other real estate owned by the parties during the marriage, whether by one or both. Vacation homes…

Real Estate

Real estate, and in particular the marital home, is often the most valuable asset a couple owns. During the real estate crash beginning in the late 2000s, ownership of real estate presented a significant obstacle to settling many divorces, as people…

Personal Property

Anything you own that is not attached to the real estate is considered personal property. This includes: household furnishings and contents; cash accounts; vehicles and watercraft; tools; antiques and collectibles; accounts receivable; stocks, bonds…

Separate Maintenance

Sometimes when clients are ambivalent about filing for divorce they ask me if Michigan recognizes legal separation. The answer is no; but our state does have a procedure known as separate maintenance, which is sometimes utilized in cases where one or…

Reconciliation

In Michigan, a divorce is not final until the judge has signed the judgment of divorce, and there is a built- in mandatory waiting period (six moths if minor children are involved, 60 days if there are no children) between the filing of the complaint…

Custody

Every judgment in a Michigan divorce must award legal and physical custody of the minor children to one or both parents or, in extremely rare cases, to a third party. I try to help my clients early in their divorces to better understand the concepts…

Custody Evaluation & Investigation

If you anticipate that you and your spouse will be unable to agree on custody, ask about filing a motion for custody assessment. If the court grants this motion, it will assign your case to a custody investigator, usually an employee of the Friend of…

Child Custody Factors

The custody investigation, and the ultimate custody determination, are based upon the following “best interests of the child” factors in the Child Custody Act: (a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involve…

Essential Principles for Custody Cases

If you are involved in a divorce and have minor children, what you do and say while the divorce is pending can have far reaching effects on the ultimate outcome of the case. If you choose me as your attorney, I will do all I can to represent you aggr…

Parenting Time

Parenting time plays an important role in maintaining the parent-child relationship after divorce. Every Michigan judgment of divorce must contain parenting time provisions. In most cases, parenting time is set forth in some detail in the judgment of…

Essential Principles for Positive Parenting Time

Parenting time disputes are one of the most common reasons divorced couples return to court after the divorce is final. If you will remember a few basic principles, parenting time can be more positive for you and your children.

Mediation

Divorce Mediation in Michigan Most Michigan counties now refer divorce cases to facilitative mediation. This can be a highly effective process, especially if begun in the early stages of divorce, sometimes even prior to filing the complaint. Mediatio…

Facilitative Mediation Process

At mediation, the parties meet with an individual skilled in dispute resolution, often a family law attorney, a mental health professional or a business person. Michigan now requires mediators appointed by the court to complete a 40-hour domestic rel…

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