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default judgment

Default and Default Judgments

When a party named in a divorce fails to respond or otherwise defend the lawsuit the other party can request the entry of a default by filing with the court a request and affidavit. Once a default is entered the other party can request the entry of a default Judgment of Divorce allowing the divorce[…]

Michigan Divorce

Should you get a divorce?

One of the hardest conversations I ever have is when someone asks me what I think about the question: “Should I get a divorce?” Although I am an attorney and counselor of law, I am not clergy or a therapist. Divorce may be good for business, however, it is not what we are about. We[…]

parenting time

Should you modify custody or modify parenting time?

The decision to modify custody or modify parenting time depends on the gravity of the change being requested. If the change is minor, the modification request is generally considered a request to modify parenting time. If the requested modification is significant, the modification is generally considered a request to modify custody. Distinguishing between the two[…]

the needs of the parties

Award of alimony 37 years after divorce overturned

Approximately 37 years ago, the Gallagher’s divorced after 22 years of marriage. The Judgment of Divorce provided that alimony for the wife was “reserved”.  37 years after the divorce, Ms. Gallagher petitioned the trial court for an award of alimony. Remarkably, the trial court granted the request and ordered the former husband to pay $2,500.00[…]

Divorce Alternatives

How to get relief from a Judgment of Divorce.

Once a Michigan Judgment of Divorce is entered most people think that things are final and they are right. The limited exception to this rule applies to custody, parenting time and support which can change when there is a change of circumstances.  However, there are certain limited circumstances when you can request a court to[…]

A failed challenge to an expert Child custody and parenting time evaluation

On February 12, 2019, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided the custody and parenting time case of Amy Oglive v. Eric Oglive.  In this case, the trial court ordered the parties to participate in a psychological evaluation to address concerns of custody and parenting time. Eric was incarcerated when the parties divorced in 2012 and[…]

How is property divided in a Michigan divorce?

How property is divided in a Michigan divorce can be complicated and technically complex yet at the same time relatively simple in many ways. Simply put, marital property is divided fairly in light of all of the circumstances.  The seminal case on point is Byington v. Byington, 224 Mich App. 103 (1997). “To reach an[…]

Paying for college
alimony in Michigan

Wife awarded $58,500.00 in divorce attorney fees

On January 3, 2018, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the Ingham Circuit Court award of $58,500 in divorce attorney fees in the case of Baker v. Baker. The Baker’s married in 1998 and filed for divorce on May 31, 2014. The parties had two minor children. Both Mr. & Mrs. Baker sought contribution for[…]

settlement agreement

Can you change your mind after settlement?

You successfully settled your divorce case when you wake up the next morning with regret, buyer’s remorse, or simply that sinking feeling experienced about what you just did. Can you change your mind after settlement? The first step in the analysis is determining if your settlement is in fact a contract. Was there an offer[…]

The decision to divorce

Why would a person stay in a marriage that leaves them unhappy and unfulfilled?

If your unhappy and unfulfilled in your marriage? Should you stay in a marriage and be miserable or divorce?  According to a recent article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology[1], the answer to the question: Why a person would stay in a marriage that leaves them unhappy and unfulfilled? is two fold: The[…]

Jake Cunningham

The “new” Judges of Oakland County Divorce Court

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.  […]

Alimony

How is spousal support calculated?

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[…]

Discovery

The use of a Discovery deposition at trial

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[…]

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[…]

Property division

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[…]

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 Angeles 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[…]

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[…]

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