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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[…]

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[…]

default judgment

Default and default Judgments in divorce and Family law cases

If you fail to make a timely credit card payment you are in default which literally means a “failure to fulfill an obligation”. In divorce and family court cases a default may occurs if you fail to appear, respond or otherwise defend the divorce, custody or family court case. Michigan Court Rule (“MCR”) 3.210(B) addresses[…]

Parenting time schedules in a Michigan divorce.

Parenting time options in a Michigan divorce. Sometimes the biggest challenge in a divorce or custody case is deciding when a child will spend time with each parent. Parenting time (formally visitation) is the legal term used to describe simply that time and in this article we discuss some of the most popular parenting time[…]

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.  […]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]