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How a shoplifter avoided a change of custody.

On December 20, 2018, the Michigan Court of Appeals examined a motion for change of custody filed by the father in the case Argel vs. Argel. At the divorce trial, the trial court determined that the child’s custodial environment was with mother and that the child’s best interests were served by awarding sole physical custody[…]

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[…]

move house divorce

The decision to move out of your house before divorce.

In almost every Michigan divorce the topic of moving out of the house must be addressed. Moving is tough especially when going through a divorce. Every Michigan divorce has an emotional component and the decision to move out of the home is not without emotional considerations. After all, you worked hard on making your home[…]

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.  […]

Uccjea

How to register a child custody action under the UCCJEA and Michigan law.

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

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[…]

Child Custody

Fundamentally Speaking – Custody Modification in Michigan – Vodvarka – the seminal case.

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]