Findling Law

Creating an Effective Attorney-Client Relationship: Part I

It may come as no surprise that emotions may run high in divorce and family law cases. While some matters are more amicable than others, others are extremely contentious, emotional, and simply draining. As an individual in the throes of such a case, it is often easy to overlook the fact that you and your[…]

The Unknown World of Divorce Court

One of the questions that invariably arises during family law cases is the subject of court. How often will I have to go to Divorce court? What happens when I go? And, do I even have to attend? While there is no secret formula or guaranteed answer, this article will attempt to address those common[…]

Does breastfeeding effect child custody?

When a soon to be ex has a newborn child a Michigan divorce or Michigan child custody case can become more complicated, especially when the mother is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and the Tender Years doctrine The Tender Years Doctrine is a legal principle from old English Common Law.  The doctrine presumed that a child’s “tender years”[…]

Does my story even matter in a divorce case?

For many, divorce is very personal and individualized. Every party has his or her own story. And, each person should have the right to share that story. One of the challenges presented in family law, is to share an individual’s story while framing it in legal context. What do I mean? Read on. The individual’s[…]

Can a child choose

Every other weekend parenting time not enough? – The case of Medford v. Verkade

In the recent case of Medford v. Verkade, the trial court entered an opinion and order awarding full legal and primary physical custody of the parties’ minor child to the father (Mr. Medford). The trial court also awarded limited parenting time to the mother. Specifically, every other weekend, three nonconsecutive weeks per year, and certain holidays.[…]

I love you but I cannot live with you: Divorce without hate

Generally speaking, family law is notorious for high-conflict with emotions running high. Some cases involve thousands of dollars being spent purely out of spite or “principle.” When children are involved, parents sometimes put them in the middle of the dispute and exercise them as leverage. In short, some cases are incredibly difficult – both emotionally[…]

Findling Law

Gun violence – “Firearm Relinquishment Law And Implementation Could Actually Save Lives”

Note: This article on gun violence was co-authored by Kristina Bilowus of Findling Law, PLC.  Kristina’s article was accepted for publication in the April 2018 State Bar of Michigan Family Bar Journal, an academic journal for divorce and family law practitioners in the State of Michigan. Firearm Relinquishment Law And Implementation Could Actually Save Lives[…]

”I thought this would be faster”: Exploring the nuances of divorce timing in MI cases

A prior post discussed statutory waiting periods in Michigan for divorce matters. In this posting, the practical considerations with divorce timing are explored. Divorce timing – “I just want this to be over” Sound familiar? If this sounds like your mantra, you are not alone. Maybe the divorce has been several years in the making[…]

Divorce Arbitration

Divorce Arbitration – A hybrid of mediation and trial

In family law, most cases settle prior to trial. In the event a settlement cannot be reached, a trial may be the only sensible option. Both scenarios have been discussed in prior posts. However, the procedure known as divorce arbitration is unique. As outlined below, divorce arbitration encompasses components found in both mediation and a[…]

How to settle

 Avenues for Settlement in Divorce Actions

Last week, trials in divorce matters were considered. As so many cases conclude with settlement, rather than litigation, this week’s discussion turns to mechanisms for getting a joint resolution. Settlement Negotiations In a sense, human beings learn to negotiate their entire lives. Within a divorce context, parties often discuss terms of their case with one[…]

Divorce Trial

The Trials of a Divorce Trial

In the media, the law is often portrayed playing out dramatically in a courtroom. In reality, very few cases proceed to trial, with family matters being no exception to the general rule. While excessive litigation may be the misnomer, the following information briefly outlines some family law considerations when considering a divorce trial. What a[…]

Waiting period

How Much Longer? Waiting Periods in MI Divorce Cases

In some cases, a divorce represents the formality of a marriage that ended long ago. For others, the initiation of a divorce is a surprising and painful journey. In either scenario, Michigan law requires a minimum waiting period for divorce actions. The waiting periods, as outlined below, turn on whether or not minor children are[…]

Forensic Accountant

Sometimes you need a Forensic Accountant. Sometimes, you don’t.

The divorce process can run the gamut from conflict-filled and full of negative emotion to straightforward and amicable. Yours will be somewhere in between the two. The goal of the divorce is to dissolve the marriage, and that includes divvying up all the assets. Sometimes you need a forensic accountant to move the process along.[…]

Free pension calculator

Free Divorce Pension Calculator

Free Divorce Pension Calculator. The Divorce Pension Calculator is a Google spreadsheet that you can use to calculate the marital portion of a pension benefit in a divorce. The Divorce Pension Calculator estimates the marital portion of a pension benefit utilizing the coverture fraction. While there are a few different ways to divorce as divorce[…]

Findling Law

Someone to Lean On during a Divorce

Need someone to lean on during divorce? It may come as no surprise that a divorce may bring difficult times. The parties involved, the family, and even close friends may feel the impact of the process. You likely need someone to lean on. Emotions can range from relief, to despair, to anger, to hurt, to[…]

How to divide a pension plan

How to divide a pension plan in a Michigan Divorce?

Every day or so, I receive a phone call from a potential client or lawyer concerning how to divide a pension plan in a Michigan divorce?Traditionally a pension benefit is a work related benefit where the benefit amount is defined by a pension plan. Unlike a defined contribution plan, which reflects a contributed benefit (think a[…]

divorce in love

Divorce when you still love each other

Sometimes things don’t get better. You are afraid to talk to your spouse. When you do, you feel like you are being judged, disregarded or ashamed. You start keeping secrets and contemplate having an affair. Maybe you feel that your spouse is worthless, however you still are in love. You are conflicted, torn and confused.[…]

parental kidnapping

Parental kidnapping is child abuse – Understanding Michigan divorce law

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children there were 456,676 entries for missing children in 2016 about ½ of all of the entries involve parental kidnapping.  The NCMEC reports 203,000 children are victims of parental kidnapping. The law is clear, parental kidnapping is a serious crime. In this article, we will examine parental[…]

Attorney fees

Attorney fees – when justice requires an award . . .

On December 7, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion regarding a father’s claim for attorney fees in a Michigan family law case. In the case of Girdis v. Girdis, the mother took an appeal of the trial court’s ruling granting the father attorney fee. The award of attorney fees was in response[…]

tax reform and divorce

Tax reform and divorce. It could radically change Michigan Divorce!

Senate and House republicans recently reached an agreement on the final tax bill which was signed by President Trump today. The impact of tax reform and divorce law may be significant. The tax reform law goes into effect on January 2018.  However, as everyone knows we file taxes in April for the prior tax year[…]

Court ordered therapy

Court ordered therapy does not modify parenting time.

On December 12, 2017, in the case of Ludwig v. Ludwing, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion for publication which is a pretty big deal. Unlike an unpublished opinion which is advisory, published opinions must be followed by every trial court in Michigan. The opinion determined that Court ordered therapy between a parent[…]

The divorce process – the basics and the nitty gritty details

The formal Michigan divorce process – Divorce Steps:  In Michigan, a divorce follows a formal process.  It is important to note that a case can settle at any time during the divorce process. The statutory waiting period for a divorce with  and our Michigan divorce attorneys understand the steps and can help you navigate the[…]

Michigan Alimony and spousal support – The nitty gritty details

It is easy to get lost in the trees when you should be focusing on the forest.  However, we recognize that some people like the nitty gritty details which is why we created the nitty gritty details series.  The nitty gritty details series will focus on the technical side of Michigan divorce, custody and support[…]

contempt of court

Contempt of court. Go to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.00.

When a court enters an order, the power to enforce the order is by a finding of contempt of court and violating a court’s order is not a child’s game.  Contempt of court is the willful failure to obey a court’s order and can be punished by a civil penalty (money), criminally (jail) and sometimes[…]

Findling Law

A letter to the Newly Minted Attorney – Kristina Bilowus

The Ghost of a Lawyer Future – A letter to the Newly Minted Attorney Kristina Bilowus, is an associate attorney at Findling Law and adjunct professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Kristina had the honor of being published in the November 2017 Michigan Bar Journal, a publication by the State Bar of Michigan.[…]