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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,[…]

Alimony

I won the lottery in my divorce! Do I have to share it? MI Property Division Law

In today’s paper I read: “Pontiac man who won Mega Millions during divorce case during divorce case must share with ex-wife”. To the average person, the headline may seem shocking, however, to the sophisticated Michigan divorce lawyer who understands Michigan property division law, the decision is not. A. Background Richard and Beth Zelasko were married[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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.  […]

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[…]

best interest of child factors

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[…]

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