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statute of limitations

Statute of Limitations on child support is no more – the work around!

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[…]

Child Custody

Michigan Child Custody determination of sole legal custody reversed by Court of Appeals

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[…]

Property division

Fundamentally Speaking video series. How property is divided and the role of fault.

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[…]

The legal authority for the Michigan child support guidelines.

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[…]

alimony in Michigan

What is alimony in Michigan? (BTW it is the same as spousal support).

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[…]

file for divorce

Did you really file for divorce? How to check now!

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[…]

abandonment

Dear John letter? Abandonment in a Michigan divorce case.

“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[…]

He say, She say?  I say hearsay.

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[…]

Child Support

How much is too much child support? $129,000 per month!

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[…]

Findling Law

Creating an Effective Divorce Attorney-Client Relationship: Part II

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[…]

What is really in your child’s best interest?

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[…]

Custody Modification- Failing to establish proper cause or a change of circumstances

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[…]

Child Support

How to have your spouse pay your attorney fees?

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[…]

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[…]