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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.  […]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Forensic Accountant

Sometimes you need a Forensic Accountant. Sometimes, you don’t.

The divorce process can run the gamut from conflict-filled and full of negative emotion to straightforward and amicable. Yours will be somewhere in between the two. The goal of the divorce is to dissolve the marriage, and that includes divvying up all the assets. Sometimes you need a forensic accountant to move the process along.[…]