Changing custody

How a court prevents you from changing custody

Suppose you are involved in a contested child custody battle and lose. Why can’t you simply refile the case and try again? The answer is provided in the seminal case of Vodvarka v. Grassmeyer. In Vodvarka, the Michigan Court of Appeals created a barrier to changing custody in order to avoid repeated custody evaluations.

Friend of the Court

What is a De Novo hearing

After the Friend of the Court makes a recommendation, either party may request a de novo hearing or a hearing “from the beginning” with the trial court judge. This right is codified in Michigan Compiled Laws section 552.507(4).

divorce plan

Planning for divorce.

A divorce plan is an important first step to taking back control of your situation and is different for a dependent spouse than the primary wage earner. A divorce plan is an important first step to set goals and help take control of your situation. If you make more money than your spouse, you will[…]

divorce plan

The decision to divorce

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. It is a complex and often emotional process that can have far-reaching effects on individuals and their families. The decision to divorce is never easy and it is often the result of long-standing issues within a marriage. Some common reasons for seeking a divorce include infidelity, financial[…]

Parenting Time

Supervised parenting time

On October 20, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of Krieg v. Krieg after the trial court changed primary custody of the parties minor child to the mother and addressing the issue of supervised parenting time. The parties married in July 2014. Shortly after the parties married, father began[…]

Friend of the Court

The power of the Friend of the Court

Simply put, the power of the Friend of the Court is limited to making recommendations for the trial court to review. However, if no objections to a Friend of the Court recommendation are made, the Friend of the Court Recommendation will become an Order of the Court.

Mediation

Divorce mediation – How it works, when to settle.

The majority of Michigan divorce cases settle and divorce mediation is one of the most common forms of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party tries to facilitate a fair settlement outside of the courtroom, avoiding the formalities of trial and saving costs. Court ordered divorce mediation Divorce mediation is usually court ordered and[…]

Custody in Michigan

Child custody laws in Michigan

Michigan child custody laws provide a two-step process for determining child custody. The first step determines the existence of an establish custodial environment which determines the burden of proof required. The second step examines the best interest of the child factors which must be examined by the court applying the applicable burden of proof.

Michigan divorce

A Restraining Order in a Michigan divorce case.

A Restraining Order is an order used to protect the parties property and finances in a divorce case. There are two types of restraining orders typically filed in every Michigan divorce.  First, is a Restraining Order against property transfer and preservation of the marital estate. Second, is a Financial Status Quo Order.

Custody in Michigan

Child custody steps

The first step is a threshold question which asks, what has changed since the entry of the last court order under Vodvarka; The second step requires determining the existence of an established custodial environment and the burden of proof. The third step is to apply the best interest factors using the appropriate burden of proof.

Objection to Friend of the Court

I object to the Friend of the Court Recommendation.

Under MCL 552.507(4), if a party timely objects to a referee’s recommendation, the trial court “shall hold a de novo hearing.” The Michigan Court of Appeals further decided that a trial court cannot simply review the record created at the referee hearing, however the trial court can impose reasonable restrictions on duplicative evidence (e.g. only allowing new evidence).

parenting time

The difference between parenting time and visitation.

Visitation and parenting time mean exactly the same thing under Michigan law. The term visitation is old and more appropriate for visiting someone in prison than enjoying time with a child. Some time ago, in an effort to avoid marginalizing or insulting a parent, courts began replacing visitation with the term parenting time, a kinder[…]

legal residence

How far away can you move after a divorce with a minor child?

There are two legal restrictions on how far you can move after a divorce with a minor child. First, MCL 722.31(1) prohibits a parent from moving after divorce with a minor child to another home more than 100 miles (as the crow flies) from your current residence without court permission. However, MCL 722.31(2) provides that this restriction does not apply if a parent is awarded sole legal custody. Second, Michigan Court Rule 3.211(C)(1) prohibits a parent from moving outside of the State of Michigan without approval from the Judge who awarded custody.

Mediation
Child Custody

Changing custody

A trial court can enter and order changing custody, however, before a court may consider modification, the party requesting the change must demonstrate proper cause or a change of circumstances since the entry of the last custody order.

Parenting Time

Parenting time agreement

MCL 722.27a(2): If the parents of a child agree on parenting time terms, the court shall order the parenting time terms unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child.

Alimony in Michigan

Different types of alimony and spousal support payments

There are different types of alimony and spousal support payments. A trial court may award either periodic alimony / spousal support, or alimony / spousal support in gross. Periodic spousal support payments “are subject to any contingency, such as death or remarriage of a spouse . . . .” In contrast, spousal support in gross[…]

Established custodial environment

Is there an established custodial environment?

A determination of an established custodial environment is important because a court cannot enter an order for child custody (or modify an existing order) without first determining if an established custodial environment exists and the trial court must make clear findings on this issue before deciding custody.

Best Interest Factor

The most important best interest of the child factor.

The willingness and ability of each of the parties to encourage a continuing parent-child relationship with the other parent is the most important best interest of the child factor.

divorce and love

Divorce and separation. What if you still love each other?

Do you love your spouse but at the same time realize you cannot be with each other? Many marriages are filled with disfunction in communication, sex, fidelity or how you spend money and no matter how much work you put into the marriage, your not sure you can make things workout. Divorce and separation are[…]

Custody in Michigan

Proper cause to modify custody

On August 26, 2021, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of Shipley v. Shipley In this case, the father appeals the trial court’s order to modify custody and decided that there was proper cause to modify custody. The first step in modifying an existing child custody award is for the[…]

adultery in Michigan

Remedies for a cheating spouse in a Michigan divorce.

Adultery (when your spouse cheats is the ultimate betrayal in a marriage. In many circumstances a couple can find a way to move past the betrayal. However, in many situations, the damage is done and fixing the problem is not an option. When God gave Moses the 10 Commandments it is no surprise that one[…]

Divorce myths

Divorce myths. A video of truth.

In this article, we cover the top 10 divorce myths. When it comes to Michigan divorce law, everyone has a story about a ‘friend’ who went through a divorce and (fill in the blank) happened. Further complicating matters are the countless television shows and tabloid articles regarding divorce. While gossip, television shows and tabloid articles[…]

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