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Michigan Choice of school law. The nitty gritty details.

Most divorce and custody cases include an award of joint legal custody. As a joint legal custodian, both parents share equally in major decisions involving a minor child and one of those major decisions is the choice of school a child should attend. If a dispute arises, here are the nitty gritty details on choice[…]

Oakland County Divorce
Emotional Divorce

The decision to divorce – How to decide. Is divorce in your future?

The decision to divorce is not easy. After all, you committed to stating married “for better or worse”.  While some people get married for the wrong reason, others were once built on love and mutual respect which has evolved to disdain and conflict. How to make the decision to divorce? The decision to divorce –[…]

Court Order

A court speaks through its orders, not its oral statements.

In the majority of divorce and family law cases, a court will issue its opinion from the bench. This is more common during motion call. The other times a court will issue a written opinion. Careful drafting is important because a court speaks through its orders. When a court issues its opinion from the bench,[…]

Can you force your spouse to move out of the house?

Sometimes “forever or worse” becomes “get out of the house” which begs the question, what can you do if your spouse won’t move out of the house? In the context of a Michigan divorce there are only two ways to compel someone to move out of the house. The first way to compel your spouse[…]

Physical and Legal Custody

When legal custody won’t work. (What is physical and legal custody?)

Physical custody if Michigan is an archaic term to describe the parent that spends the majority of parenting time with a minor child. Traditionally, the parent who is awarded the most parenting time was awarded sole physical custody. So, what happened to physical custody in Michigan?, in simple terms the phrase physical custody has gone[…]

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[…]

child custody

Michigan child Custody and Parenting Time Appeals

The Michigan Court Rules governing Appellate Rules can be found in Chapter 7 of the Michigan Court Rules. In simple terms a custody or parenting time appeal means judicial review by the Court of Appeals of a trial court decision. There are two types of appeals, an appeal of right and an appeal by leave.[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Paying for college

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[…]

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