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With the midterm elections now over, we welcome two newly elected Oakland County judges. Traditionally, newly elected Oakland County judges serve on the Family Court. Family Court includes cases involving divorce, child custody, parenting time, child support and spousal support (alimony). The two newly elected Oakland County judges are Julie McDonald and Jake Cunningham. […]
How is spousal support calculated? Spousal support is when one spouse pays money (also called alimony) to another spouse for a term of months or years after divorce. The general rule is that a spouse may need spousal support if he/she is substantially dependent on the income of the other spouse for the regular necessities of[…]
The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (herein: “UCCJEA”) is found in Michigan Compiled Laws section 722.1101. The UCCJEA was designed, among other things to resolve conflicts relating to jurisdiction in a child custody action by prioritizing the home state of a child. The UCCJEA also clarifies continuing jurisdiction for the state that entered the[…]
Discovery is the formal process by which you “discover” information relevant to the case. In a Michigan divorce, custody or family law case, discovery is conducted in three ways. First, Interrogatories (think Interrogate) which are written questions which must be answered under oath and subject to the felony of perjury. Second, a Subpoena, which is[…]
The seminal case in a Michigan custody modification case is Vodvarka vs. Grasmeyer which defines the threshold requirements to change custody. The threshold requirements are proper cause or change of circumstances. Under Michigan law, without establishing either proper cause or a change of circumstance, you cannot modify an award of child custody. In Vodvarka, the mother[…]
On September 18, 2018, the traditional rule that a civil action to enforce a child support order is subject to a 10-year statutory limitations period. MCL 600.5809(4); People v Monaco, 474 Mich 48, 54-55; 710 NW2d 46 (2006) has been turned on its head by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a recently published opinion[…]
On September 11, 2018, the Michigan Court of Appeals in the case of Holmes v. Holmes reversed the trial court’s Michigan child custody determination awarding the father sole legal custody, requiring the trial court to examine the case again. What makes this case unique is the notion that a child custody award can only be[…]
Fundamentally speaking – How property is divided and the role of fault. I have published many articles for the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Journal with the headline: “Fundamentally Speaking”. The articles were geared towards the divorce and family law bar and discussed the seminal cases on Michigan divorce and family law. This video[…]
Most people know that child support is determined by guidelines. In this article, we examine the legal authority for the Michigan child support guidelines. When I was a first year law student, a law school professor instilled a legal concept that every law has to have legitimacy and every lawyer should know the legitimacy of[…]
The purpose of alimony in Michigan is to balance the unfair economic effects of a divorce. Simply put alimony (which is the same as spousal support) is paid by one party to financially support a spouse after divorce if the property award is insufficient to support either party. This video webinar examines alimony in Michigan[…]
The decision to file for divorce can be painful. Sometimes more painful when you realize your spouse beat you to the punch. In this article, we will help you discover if your spouse (or friend) has already filed for divorce. Some lawyers will tell you that it is important to file for divorce first. The[…]
“By the time you read this line, I’ll be gone. . .” originates from a popular 1980’s sit-com by the name Dear John starring Judd Hirsch, premised the abandonment of his wife, who simply got up and left his relationship. Abandonment may be relevant in a Michigan divorce but is not an independent cause of action[…]
The rules of evidence are sometimes lost in the emotional turmoil of a Michigan divorce or custody case. However, the rules apply. The hearsay rule of evidence is one of the most important rules and is found in the Michigan Rules of Evidence (“MRE”) sections 801-806. Hearsay is a statement (an oral or written assertion or[…]
The recent headlines are rampant with outrageous child support awards. Take for example Blake Griffin, the star forward on the Detroit Pistons who was reportedly ordered by a Los Angelis Court to pay child support in the sum of $258,000.00 per month for the support to two minor children he had with his ex-fiancé, former[…]
In the first part of this three-section discussion of an effective divorce attorney-client relationship, meaningful communication was discussed. In this second installment, the concept of professionalism, as it relates to both attorney and client, is explored. Professional responsibility is a concept attorneys study as students. As an overall concept, professionalism is something we consider when[…]
You learn some big words in law school. Take for example the law school phrase, res ipsa loquitur, which is a legal principle that an occurrence of an accident implies negligence or escheat, which involves the forfeiture of property. While the phrase best interest of a child seems simple enough, applying the concept of what is[…]
The threshold requirement for custody modification was recently addressed by the Court of appeals in the case of Reyes v. Herron. The threshold requirement is proper cause or a change of circumstances. In Reyes v. Herron, Mr. Herron took an appeal from the trial court’s order denying his motion to change custody, parenting time and[…]
Can you have your spouse pay your attorney fees for a divorce or other family law case? The answer is yes! When someone starts to think about divorce, one of the first questions they have is how much is it going to cost? The cost of a divorce varies with the complexity of the case[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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”[…]
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[…]
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.[…]
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[…]
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[…]
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