House Bill 4691 May Change How Child Custody is Allocated in Michigan

Two of the most sensitive aspects of divorce are often the related issues of child custody and parenting time. Currently, family law courts in Michigan decide these delicate matters in accordance with what is in the best interest of the child while also considering other related factors such as each parent's ability to provide for the child, and much more.

Debts and Divorce: Here’s What You Need to Know

When a couple gets divorced both spouses are usually very concerned with how their assets will be divided. While property division is obviously a very important aspect of dissolving a marriage, dividing a couple's debts is often just as, if not more, critical. This article provides a general overview of how debts are handled during Michigan divorces, but for case specific information be sure to contact a local divorce attorney.

The Pros and Cons of Retaining a Lawyer When Getting Divorced

The Michigan State Bar notes that in civil cases, such as divorces, it is important to consider a variety of factors when deciding whether or not to hire a lawyer to represent you. Some key factors to consider include: how complex the legal matter at hand is, the impact that the outcome of the case may have on the lives of those involved, and how much retaining a lawyer will cost. The State Bar also notes that it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer at the outset in order to determine whether or not his/her services are required.

Issues Unique to Military Divorces

A military divorce (i.e. a divorce where one or both spouses are members of the military) is procedurally no different from any other divorce; however, there are some issues unique to military divorces that are important to be aware of. Several of these issues are discussed below, but for case specific information be sure to contact a local divorce attorney.

Divorce Judgment Modifications

Can a Michigan divorce judgment be modified after it is finalized? In other words, once you are divorced can the terms of your child custody arrangement, spousal support award, etc. be changed? As is the case with most legal questions, the answer is that it depends. A divorced spouse may file a motion to modify their divorce judgment, but whether or not the court will grant the requested modification is highly case dependent.

Michigan is a No-Fault Divorce State - What Does this Mean?

According to the American Psychological Association approximate 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. These marriages end for a wide array of different reasons, some of which (legally) involve fault while others do not. Fault divorces are not all that common these days but can be filed in some states based on grounds such as adultery, imprisonment, impotence, cruelty, etc. In fault divorce states, a court will only grant a divorce if the requesting spouse could prove that their wife/husband was at fault for breaking the marriage based on one of these permissible grounds.

What To Expect During A Collaborative Divorce Mediation

Collaborative meditation is an alternative dispute resolution process that is popular among divorcing couples who wish to work out their divorce settlements on their own terms through the use of a neutral third party facilitator rather than going to court. In divorce mediations the mediator is in charge of the process and gently guides the couple (and their attorneys if they choose to retain legal counsel) through various stages, all the while promoting understanding and open dialogue.

What is a Legal Separation

Some couples legally separate as a stepping stone on the way to divorce (or as an alternative to divorce) but what does this mean? If one spouse moves out of the marital home are the spouses legally separated? What's the difference between a physical separation, a legal separation, and a divorce? Each of these questions are answered in turn below in accordance with Michigan law, but for case specific information about obtaining a legal separation be sure to consult with a local divorce attorney.

How to Win a Child Relocation or Change of Domicile Motion After Michigan Divorce

If you and your ex-spouse are co-parenting minor children after your divorce, there are limitations on where you can move when circumstances change. Like most states, Michigan has enacted legislation that favors the involvement of both parents in a child's life.

Interim Spousal Support in Michigan Divorce Cases

Spousal support and maintenance are legal terms that many people know more commonly as "alimony" in Michigan divorce cases. In general, courts may award spousal support to lower-earning spouses when they are unable to sufficiently support themselves after a divorce. However, considering that divorce cases can take months, or even up to a year, to work through the court system, many spouses have concerns about their finances while the matter is pending. When you no longer share a household with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, your income may not go as far as it did when you had two people contributing.

What is a Friend of the Court in a Michigan Divorce Case?

Divorces in Michigan are unique legal matters because there's a significant amount of out-of-courtroom support required throughout the process. In addition to your own attorneys, you and your spouse may handle certain administrative matters through a "Friend of the Court."

What to Expect at Your First Meeting with a Michigan Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is a highly personal type of legal matter that involves entire families and - for many spouses - it may be the first time you need to consider hiring a lawyer to represent your interests. For these reasons, your choice in a Michigan divorce attorney will be critical. You need a legal professional with experience and in-depth knowledge; yet, you also want a lawyer that shows a suitable amount of compassion for your situation.

Gifts to Spouses Under Michigan Divorce Law

It's common to engage in the tradition of gift giving with your spouse, other family members, and friends. Birthdays, holidays, retirement, anniversaries, and other special occasions are a way of expressing your love and gratitude for those that you love. As you're considering divorce, what happens to these presents - especially those that are quite valuable?

Options for Foreclosures Under Michigan Divorce Law

Divorce is already an anxiety-inducing process. When you also have to face threats of foreclosure by the bank holding the mortgage on your home, the proceedings can be even more stressful. It's difficult to think about how to handle the situation at a time when you and your spouse are involved in a number of divorce-related disputes.

To-Dos Before the Wedding: A Checklist for Marrying Couples

If you've recently gotten engaged and set a date for your wedding, you're likely elbow-deep in the planning stages for The Big Day. Working on the guest list, reserving a venue, booking the entertainment, and consulting with a caterer are among the many tasks you'll tackle to plan the perfect celebration.

Pros and Cons of Divorce Mediation in Michigan

When you think about divorce in Michigan, your mind conjures up images of lengthy, hostile legal battles involving years of court hearings over the division of property, spousal support, and issues involving children.

Post-Judgement Modification of Spousal Support

Circumstances can change considerably in the months and years after your divorce, for both you and your spouse. New jobs, new relationships, relocation to another town, and other matters may impact various aspects of your life - especially your financial condition.

How a Michigan Attorney Can Help if Your Spouse is Hiding Assets or Income

As a married couple's relationship begins to fall apart and divorce appears imminent, one spouse may be tempted to conceal assets to avoid having them included as part of a final disposition of the marital estate. In some cases, a spouse may even try to hide income so that a judge does not consider it when issuing an order regarding child support or alimony.

Top Myths About Divorce in Michigan

When you're considering divorce, it's common for well-meaning friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to come forward with all sorts of "expert" advice. While these individuals may have personal experience with divorce - either directly or indirectly - the guidance they provide is no substitute for the legal training and background of a Michigan divorce attorney.

Tips to Ensure Parenting Time Success

As the parent of a minor child that does not live with you after a divorce, you want the time you spend together to be enjoyable and productive. Michigan law does establish your right to parenting time, but the statute doesn't provide much additional guidance on how you should go about making the experience a positive one.

How Can I Find Assets if My Spouse is Hiding Them During a Michigan Divorce?

In order to make an equitable distribution of assets pursuant to a Michigan divorce, it's necessary for a court to consider all marital assets owned by the couple. Sometimes a spouse may be tempted to hide assets as the marriage breaks down and divorce appears likely, so this property won't be considered in the final divorce decree.

Low Cost, Flat Fee Divorce in Michigan: A Warning to Divorcing Couples

You've likely seen advertisements in the paper or on TV, where firms offer low-cost and/or flat fee divorce to resolve all outstanding marital issues quickly. There's no doubt these offers are tempting, as most couples want to save money on the process and complete the dissolution of marriage proceedings without time-consuming delays.

Considerations When Moving a Minor Child After Michigan Divorce

When a judge issues a final decree in a Michigan divorce case, it will typically include an arrangement for the custody, parenting time, support, and other details involved with care of a minor child. However, circumstances may change in the months and years after your divorce.

Michigan Law on Business Interests in Divorce Proceedings

Divorcing couples are encouraged to enter into an agreement regarding distribution of property, but a Michigan court will make a decision if the parties can't compromise. According to the law, assets will be categorized into marital and non-marital property, and the marital property is distributed equitably between the two spouses

High Asset Divorces & Fraud

When couples get divorced one point of contention that is often hotly debated is how their assets will be divided. This is particularly true in high asset divorces because so much is at stake. In Michigan, family law courts charged with distributing a couple's assets are legally required to divide the assets in a way that is "equitable" (i.e. fair).

Prenuptial Agreements vs. Postnuptial Agreements: The Pros and Cons of Each

A prenuptial agreement, or "prenup", is simply a written agreement entered into by a couple in contemplation of marriage. Each prenuptial agreement is different, but these contracts generally dictate how the couple's assets and future earnings will be distributed in the event that they divorce in the future.

Michigan Divorce Decrees: Can they be Appealed or Modified

So your divorce has been finalized and for one reason or another you are dissatisfied with the outcome. Unfortunately this happens. But what can be done? Are you stuck with this outcome forever? Perhaps not.

How Marital Settlement Agreements Can Benefit High Asset Divorces

A marital settlement agreement is a written agreement that spouses contemplating divorce can voluntarily create in order to help simplify their impending divorce. While each marital settlement agreement is unique, these documents generally spell out important terms of the couple's divorce such as the following.

Divorces and Annulments: What are the Permissible Grounds for Each in Michigan?

If you live in Michigan and are contemplating ending your marriage you should be aware that there are two different ways in which this can legally be accomplished. The first way is by obtaining an annulment, which is used to dissolve a marriage that is invalid for some reason.

Five Important Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Divorce Attorney

You are probably already aware that hiring the right family law attorney is of vital importance when going through a divorce. But how do you know if the attorney you are interviewing is the "right" one? This is a tricky question to answer because the right attorney for Joe may not necessarily be the right attorney for Susan given that each divorce is unique and each client has different requirements and needs. For example, couples who are able to divorce relatively amicably may want to retain divorce attorneys who are experienced mediators, while high asset couples may place more value on an attorney's ability to accurately value assets during divorces.

Unique Legal Issues in High Asset Divorces

When high net worth individuals get divorced they often face a myriad of legal issues that lower asset divorces simply don't have. For example, couples in high asset divorces often prioritize their attention on protecting assets, preserving wealth, and avoiding potential tax consequences. Additionally, due to the fact that wealthy individuals often have diverse holdings and interests unique legal issues commonly arise during high asset divorces.

Potential Consequences of Moving Out of Your Marital Home During a Divorce

When married couples split up and one party moves out it can have devastating legal consequences in your divorce. An informative article from The Huffington Post points out some potential consequences of moving out of your marital home.

How Do I Prove the Validity of My Prenup in a Divorce?

If you have a prenuptial agreement and you and your spouse decide to part ways and file for divorce, your marital estate will be divided per the terms of your divorce. Your prenuptial agreement will also dictate things such as entitlement to alimony, as well as how any other financial arrangements are to be handled.

The Stages of a Divorce: What to Expect When Separating from Your Spouse

If you are thnking about filing for divore in Michigan, it is important to understand the steps of divorce.

What to Expect During a Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

Before you hire an attorney for any purpose, including that of getting a divorce, it is wise to meet with the attorney for a free consultation first. When you schedule a consultation with a Michigan divorce attorney, here are some things to expect and be prepared with..

Key Players During a Divorce

When you and your spouse get a divorce, especially if issues in that divorce are contested, you will need to turn to a number of other players in order to demonstrate to the court why things should be resolved in your favor. Here are some key players during a divorce that you should expect..

What is Collaborative Divorce?

When most people think of divorce, they assume that all divorces involve extensive legal battles in which parties are left with anger, stress, and resentment. But divorce doesn't have to be an adversarial struggle; through collaborative divorce, parties to a divorce can work together to make important decisions about the terms of the divorce.

Rates of Divorce Increase After the Holidays

While the holidays may be the time for spending time with loved ones and family, statistics show that after the holidays, many couples decide to throw in the towel and call it quits on their marriage. In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Washington, the results of which were summarized in an 2016 article in Fox News, rates of divorce are highest in March, and second highest in August. Consequently, both of these months follow periods of holidays - the winter holidays that span from November to February, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day, and the summer holidays in July, such as the fourth of July and summer break for kids.

How to Divide Time with Children Over the Holidays

While the holidays are a time of joy for most families, divorced parents may experience stress during the holiday season in regards to how to share time spent with a child. If you are divorced and share custody of your child with your ex-spouse, here are some tips for splitting time over the holidays.

Taxes & Divorce: How Should You File and How Will Reporting Be Affected?

No one likes to think about tax season, and if you are recently divorced, tax time during the upcoming year may be even more stressful than normal. This is especially true if you are used to having your spouse handle your taxes for you, or if you are accustomed to filing taxes jointly. Further, your tax situation may also be affected by terms of your divorce, such as an alimony arrangement.

The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act: Helping Prevent Rapists from Gaining Child Custody

According to , there are more than 32,000 pregnancies in the United States each year that are the result of rape, and of these pregnancies approximately one-third of the victims choose to keep and raise the child. However, an alarming number of these mothers have reported that their rapists have used the resulting pregnancy to further abuse and harass them by seeking custody of the child. In order to combat this type of harassment, Governor Snyder signed the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act into law earlier this year.

Couple in Michigan Sue for Retroactive Parental Rights Now that Same-Sex Marriage is Legal

Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the United States, some gay individuals in Michigan are suing for retroactive parental rights by claiming that if it weren't for Michigan's unconstitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage they would have previously gotten married and been afforded certain parental rights that they are now being denied. For example, two lesbians have filed separate lawsuits in Michigan both seeking parenting time with children who were born to their former same-sex partners, reports LGBTQ Nation .

T ips For Protecting Your Money During a Divorce

According to the American Psychological Association , approximately half of all marriages entered into in the United States end in divorce. While there are undoubtedly many downsides to getting divorced, the economic impact of splitting from your spouse should not be overlooked. Many people incorrectly believe that if they were to get divorced they would walk away from the marriage with half of what they have now. In many instances this is not the case, but even if it were, would you be able to live on half of what you have now?

Child Custody and the Indian Child Welfare Act

According to News 4 Jax , two missing girls from Michigan were found safe and sound in Atlantic Beach last month after having been kidnapped by their mother. When the mother was apprehended she was with the two girls who had been reported missing as well as her one-year-old daughter from another relationship.

Estate Planning Considerations for Same-Sex Couples

Same-sex marriage is a relatively new concept in Michigan, having only been legal since June 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Couples can now marry regardless of sex and enjoy the same benefits that male/female couples do. However, regardless of the fact that Michigan law does recognize the rights of a surviving spouse when the other person dies, that does not dispense with the importance of estate planning for same-sex couples. This is especially true when considering the needs of one spouse when he or she becomes incapacitated. You should consult with a qualified attorney about the specifics of your estate plan, but here are the basics you should know.

Considering Divorce in Michigan? Mediation May Be An Option

When you're considering divorce, you probably think of heated battles, endless arguments, and conflicting emotions as the details of your marriage play out in a courtroom. However, there are alternatives to traditional divorce that are considerably less anxiety-inducing. Divorce mediation is an option for ending your marriage under Michigan law and, though the proceedings are not suitable for all couples, the process is worth considering. You should discuss your situation with an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer, but some general information may help you determine whether mediation is a possibility for you and your spouse.

Interference with Child Custody is a Crime in Michigan

One of the end results of a divorce under Michigan law is an arrangement for custody, support, and parenting time for the couple's minor children. The details will be included in the final judgment of divorce and are binding on the parties, so you may expect there will be legal consequences to interfering with the terms of the order. However, did you know that interference with child custody is actually a crime in Michigan? If your parental rights have been disrupted by the actions of your former spouse, it's important to discuss the situation with a qualified child custody lawyer in Michigan. Consider these answers to some common questions before you're tempted to take matters into your own hands.

Anatomy of a Michigan Divorce Case

There can be no doubt that every divorce carries its own unique circumstances. The length of the marriage, the existence of minor children, the relationship of the spouses, and the distribution of property are critical factors that will be different in every case. Still, there are some common features under Michigan law, as the goal of divorce proceedings is to ensure an equitable arrangement on all issues. While you should discuss your unique situation with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney if you're considering dissolving your marriage, it's helpful to understand how these cases proceed.

Third Person Custody Suits

Obtaining custody of a child can be a stressful endeavor for parents; but what if you are not the child's biological or adoptive parent and are seeking custody? As you can imagine, the emotional and legal wrangling required in third person custody suits can be even more challenging. For precisely this reason, you want the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins in your corner to handle your custody dispute.

Senior Divorce: Special Considerations

"Happily ever after" is the story line we all want to live, but, increasingly, it just doesn't sum up married life. Unfortunately, older Americans are finding themselves among the divorced more than ever. In fact, five percent of the divorcees in America in 2010 were 65 and older and that statistic continues to rise yearly. If you are seeking a divorce and have concerns about the financial implications involved with pensions, Social Security, insurance etc., you want a firm with a proven track record of success on your side. You want the Michigan team of Michael A. Robbins.

Child Custody in Michigan: Best Interest of the Child Doctrine

Divorce is never an easy process; but the difficulties become compounded when children are involved. The emotional and legal strains may become overwhelming, particularly when both parents seek custody of a child. In such instances, having effective, confidential counsel is invaluable. If you find yourself in facing a divorce involving custody issues, contact the law office of Michael A. Robbins for the experienced legal guidance you deserve.

Types of Protective Orders

Restraining orders, or personal protective orders, are issued in order to protect someone from another person who is either threatening, harming or harassing the victim, and the victim has a reasonable fear for their personal safety. When filing for a personal protective order, the victim has to consider a few factors in deciding which order to file for, such as: the relationship to the harasser, whether the harasser is the spouse, someone they do not know, or is a minor. Also if the personal protective order is an emergency and the victim cannot wait for a court hearing due to reasonable fear of immediate danger, they may want to seek an ex parte personal protective order. There are three types of PPOs available in Michigan.

Postnuptial Agreements

What has become increasingly common in light of changed circumstances are postnuptial agreements made during a marriage. Postnuptial agreements are legal contracts similar to a prenuptial or premarital agreement, but are entered into after the couple is already married. The agreement sets out how property, as well as financial assets, would be divided in the event that the marriage fails and the couple separates. While this is not something most couples want to consider while happily married, it can provide for a much less stressful and time consuming separation, which can quickly become emotionally charged.

Arbitration in Divorce Proceedings

Arbitration is another alternative dispute resolution method in which parties agree to have a third party judge, called an arbitrator, hear the case and render a legally binding decision that both parties must abide by. Instead of participating in an official legal proceeding held in court, the parties meet, with their respective counsel and the arbitrator in a private setting and a hearing is conducted before the arbitrator.

Separate Agreements

When a marriage fails to work out, many states allow or require couples to go through a separate period in which they are still legally married, but are living separately. Legal separate allows couples to have time apart to consider their options, reconcile their differences, or start preparing for official divorce proceedings, including determining how assets are distributed and how custody will be handled in the event minor children are involved. In some situations, legal separates end with the couple working out their differences and the separate being reversed, while others result in official divorce papers being filed with the state court. Some states also mandate a specific legal separate period prior to filing for divorce.

Will I Get Spousal Support?

At the end of a marriage when you and your spouse have decided to part ways, you will have to handle a number of complex issues, including with whom your children will live, what will become of your house and your assets, whether or not you will change your name (if you changed it in the first place), and of course, how you will support yourself financially if you are the financially dependent spouse. Because many individuals rely on their spouse for financial support throughout the course of a marriage, knowing what they will do when the marriage is terminated can be scary. For this reason, Michigan allows for the financially dependent spouse to seek spousal support, or alimony, from the financially independent spouse.

The Importance of Establishing Paternity

For fathers who are unmarried at the time their child is born, parental rights are not automatically given. In fact, in order to establish legal fatherhood of a child, a father must take specific legal actions. The following considers the benefits of establishing paternity, as well as how to establish paternity in Michigan..

Business Valuation and Division During a Divorce


High asset divorces are sometimes much more complicated than divorces with little income and few assets. For business owners, divorce can be an especially complex legal undertaking, as their business may be up for division. Because Michigan is both an equitable distribution state, a business created during a marriage or the appreciation of a premarital business may be considered to be marital property, and is thereby subject to division in a manner that is just and equitable if parties decide to divorce.

S perm Bank Lawsuits and Same-Sex Parents’ Rights

A breaking storing in The New York Times earlier this month revealed what most parents would consider to be a nightmare: a sperm bank that lies about its donors' backgrounds. Commonly affecting same-sex couples who are unable to conceive on their own, sperm banks may not always be honest; lawsuits filed in Canada allege that a fertility clinic hid information that it had about donors - more specifically, the 15 families that are plaintiffs in the lawsuit purport that the 23 children that have been conceived - all using the same donor's sperm - have a "genetic predisposition to schizophrenia."

I Think My Spouse Is Hiding Income and Assets in Our Divorce – What Should I Do?

Under Michigan's divorce laws, the courts must divide a divorcing couple's assets in a way that is equitable. In order to make a determination about what is equitable, the court will consider a number of factors, including the income and assets of each party. However, if one party is hiding assets from the court, they may succeed in preventing the court from dividing those assets. If one party is hiding assets and income, they may further succeed in reducing their burden in terms of things like child support and spousal support, as both of these issues rely on an individual's financial status as well.

What Is a Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Order?

When you are a victim of domestic violence, taking action, especially legal action, to protect yourself can be frightening. Not only may you be intimidated by the legal process and be unsure of how to pursue protection in the first place, but you may also be fearful of your domestic partner's retaliation. While doing so can be challenging and emotional, if you are a victim of domestic abuse, seeking a domestic relationship personal protection order from a Michigan court can help to keep you safe - the attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins can help.

The Benefits of Mediation During Divorce

When you are going through a divorce, tough issues need to be resolved, such as custody of your children, child support, spousal support, and the division of your assets and debts. Finding a compromise can be difficult, and many couples find it difficult and expensive to turn to a court for answers rather than making these decisions on their own. When you are going through a divorce and need to resolve tough issues, turning to mediation can be one of the best methods.

Child Custody for Divorces Involving Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a complicated issue that affects one in three families in Michigan. Often times, the victims of domestic violence fear taking action, but the safety of their children can spur a victim to action. Because both parents have a legal right to custody in Michigan, a divorcing spouse could have concerns about the abusive spouse being granted custody of children. When domestic violence is involved, however, Michigan divorce courts take this into account when deciding child custody and visitation rights.

RFRA Legislation and Same-Sex Adoption in Michigan

Bringing a child into a family through adoption requires a great deal of work, time, and patience. For many same-sex couples, however, the battle uphill can be a lot more difficult despite the significant gains made in the past year. Despite the Supreme Court decision expanding same-sex marriage to all states, gay and lesbian couples in Michigan may still be denied adoption rights.

Understanding Divorce in Your Senior Years

After spending most of their lives together, many wonder why older couples divorce. The truth is, however, divorce for older couples is happening in greater numbers and for many of the same reasons as younger couples. Although the same factors, including infidelity, financial pressures, regrets of earlier decisions, and desire for greater independence, play a role in all divorces, older couples face special circumstances that younger couples do not.

Marriage vs. Cohabitation: Knowing Which is Right for Your Relationship

With the Supreme Court ruling last summer, it became possible for same-sex couples in Michigan to marry legally. Many same-sex couples rushed to obtain marriage licenses and complete a long awaited milestone in their relationships. Marriage, however, is a significant decision that should not be rushed into. While it is the right choice for many couples, both same-sex and heterosexual, it is not the only option for couples wishing to make a commitment to each other. In Michigan, couples may choose to cohabitate instead of getting married, but should be aware of the legal differences.

The Importance of Estate Planning

The idea of an estate plan may immediately conjure up images of people with vast riches and several houses that need management, but everyone has an estate. Your estate includes anything you own, such as your car, your personal belongings, your bank accounts and investments, and your life insurance policy. Estate planning is a key part of being single, married, or divorced because having a will in place is extremely important in the event that something happens to you, yet many Michigan residents do not even have a will. Not having a plan in place leaves their loved ones vulnerable to expensive court bills and legal fees. This can be avoided by taking the time to create an estate plan to communicate your last wishes.

Child Custody Issues For Same-Sex Divorce in Michigan

The United States Supreme Court decision last June to allow for same sex marriage also provides for divorce. Resolving matters of child custody can be even more complex in same-sex divorces. One such case in Michigan involving a same sex couple has gathered enough constitutional issues to garner the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Coping During Separation and Divorce

When a couple gets married, they never imagine that one day they could find themselves signing divorce papers to officially terminate their marriages. The process is emotional for everyone involved, full of tension and typically includes arguments for almost every couple. However, if you are getting ready for a divorce or already in the middle of one, there are ways to cope with the divorce and strategies that can make it less contentious.

How Michigan Spousal Support is Affected by Remarriage

When a divorce leaves either spouse with insufficient means to support themselves, Michigan law states that spousal support, or alimony, may be awarded. It may be requested by either divorcing spouse to balance the income and needs of a spouse who was financially dependent on the other.

Michigan Has a Lot of Work to do in 2016 Relating to Same Sex Marriage

Michigan residents passed a bill in 2004 banning marriage between same sex couples, which was struck down by the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states. Although the decision was a major victory for the gay and lesbian community, there are still many changes that need to be enacted under Michigan law to fully comply with the ruling of the Court.

Do You Wish You Had More Time With Your Children?

One of the best ways we can show our children we love them is by spending time with them, and there is no amount of time that is ever "enough." When divorcing, this can become one of the greatest struggles and heartaches to the non-custodial parent who is awarded only visitation rights. Almost all parents who have visitation rights would like to spend additional time with their children on certain occasions, or in some cases, whenever possible. However, if you are that non-custodial parent, you are all too aware that unless your ex agrees to the extended visitation you request, the only way to get any additional time is to petition the court for it. Petitioning the court for more visitation is not impossible, but you should be familiar of the rules surrounding such requests.

Divorce: Gone in Sixty Days?

Did you know that you can get a divorce in Michigan in as little as 60 days if there are no children involved? When there are children involved, there is a six-month waiting period prescribed by statute before a divorce can be granted. This helps ensure the parents have carefully considered all of their options and that reconciliation, if possible, has a chance to occur. In Michigan, if the parties have resolved all issues and convince the judge that the differences are irreconcilable, the six month waiting period can be waived if it is determined to be in the best interest of the minor children. However, the 60 day waiting period can never be waived.

Do Not Wait to Enforce a QDRO

Lawyers know all too well that clients who sit on their rights risk losing them. If you are familiar with the saying "you snooze you lose," it is especially true when it comes to your right to receive retirement benefits from your spouse after a divorce . To avoid this, never let a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) linger.

Adopting Your Stepchild in Michigan

It is possible under the law to adopt your stepchild in Michigan if certain circumstances exist. But it is not always easy. The most important question in stepparent adoption cases is whether or not the child's noncustodial biological parent is willing to terminate his or her parental rights. If the answer is yes, the stepparent will not have a difficult time adopting the child. However, if the biological parent does not wish to terminate parental rights, there could be a long, uphill battle ahead as a stepparent trying to adopt. When a biological parent's rights to the child are terminated, he or she loses the rights to seek child custody , visitation, and child support.

Custody Ruling By a Michigan Appellate Court Affirms Marital Equality

In the wake of the Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in June of 2015 extending the right to marriage to same sex couples, Michigan appellate courts have issued some recent rulings in a case involving a custody battle between a same sex couple. The case, Stankevich v. Milliron, was originally filed in Dickenson County Family Court in the Upper Peninsula.  Same sex parents face the same issues that heterosexual parents face, such as custody and child support issues.

Grandparents Have the Constitutional Right to Visitation in Michigan

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled on a very significant case for grandparents' rights . The case dealt with the constitutionality of The Grandparent Visitation Act in Michigan and has finally concluded it is constitutional after several trips through the legal system.

Are You Suspicious That Your Spouse is Hiding Assets?

In divorce cases, a surprisingly large number of people set out to hide assets from the court, even though the law requires equitable distribution of marital assets. The reasons for doing so vary, although they are usually rooted in anger, greed, or spite. Divorce does not bring out the best in any of us and sometimes, these negative emotions lead to hiding assets in violation of Michigan law.

Religious Prenuptial Agreements?

In Michigan, for a marriage to be considered legitimate in the eyes of the law the marriage must be solemnized and the couple must obtain a marriage license. For a person to have a legal prenuptial agreement, a marriage must have occurred according to Michigan law. However, some religious marriages have both parties sign a religious marriage agreement that outlines what would happen in the event of divorce. Some have argued that this religious marriage contract should be recognized as a prenuptial agreement in a court of law.

When the Other Person Happens to Be a Bottle

Recently, a North Carolina website came up with a list of the drunkest cities in Michigan. Mount Clemens located in Macomb County was named the second drunkest city on the list. The list was determined by the amount that drinking is discussed on Twitter and the number of establishments that are available to either purchase alcohol or have a drink at. The study also looked at the divorce rate in each city that made the list due to the stereotype surrounding drinking and divorce. Regardless of whether the stereotype is warranted, some spouses do decide to divorce because of drinking.

Religious Annulment Was Just Made Easier

Recently, the Pope announced that he is going to make changes to the annulment process that will make it significantly faster for Catholics to have their marriages annulled. In addition to speeding up the process, the Pope announced that the annulment process should be free. The new process should take as little as 45 days if both parties consent. However, the annulment process that the pope has reformed is different from an annulment that is allowed under the Michigan Court System.

Michigan's Battle After Same-Sex Marriage

This past June, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states. This ruling made laws that banned same-sex marriage illegal and obsolete. The law not only affects same-sex couples in Michigan, who are now allowed to marry in the state and receive marital benefits, but it also will affect the future of Michigan law that deals with marriage.

Child Support Payments in Michigan

When a couple with children gets a divorce, child support is one of the complex legal issues that will be addressed during the divorce proceedings. Divorce is difficult enough; however, when children are involved it becomes an even more emotionally charged issue. This is why it is important for the parties in the divorce to have legal counsel.

Could your Child be Forced to Stay with an Abusive Parent?

Domestic violence does not just include physical abuse, but also verbal and emotional abuse. When determining the best interests of a child in a custody case, domestic abuse is only one of the factors taken into consideration. Some of the other factors that a judge considers include the emotional ties between each parent and the child, the moral fitness of each parent, and with whom the child would like to live. The judge takes each of these factors as well as others on the list into consideration when determining which parent should have custody as well as visitation.

Things to Consider in a High Asset Divorce

Although a marital union may not last a lifetime, the financial consequences could last for what feels like forever. The more assets that are involved and the more complicated the divorce, the more you will need an attorney who is able to meet your unique needs.

Same-Sex Couple in Mississippi Now Seeking Divorce

Same-sex marriage continues to be a hot topic since the Supreme Court's ruling in June which provided that states could no longer deny couples the right to marry based on sexual orientation. One question that has not been addressed, but that will certainly continue to come up more and more, is how will the ruling affect same-sex divorce. Many same-sex couples that were married in states where gay marriage was legal before the Supreme Court's ruling are now waiting to get a divorce, these couples could not legally divorce in prohibition states, including in Michigan.

Is It Possible That Divorce Is Not As Unhealthy As Once Thought?

Divorce is generally considered to be a negative thing. Most people look at divorce as something they never hope to go through. There are many legitimate reasons why divorce has a negative connotation, like child custody and visitation battles; or property division, spousal support and child support disputes. Another life challenge that many people reportedly experience after divorce is poor health. However, even though this belief has been common for many years, a recent study suggests the results might actually tell a different story.

Michigan Still Not Done With Same-Sex Marriage Issues

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on same-sex marriage, there's no doubt that more and more gay and lesbian couples will begin to get married throughout the country, including right here in Michigan. For many same-sex couples the Supreme Court ruling puts an end to a long wait to walk down the aisle. However, while same-sex couples are celebrating their victory, there are still many legal issues that are bound to arise as a result of the High Court's ruling. The state of Michigan will be no exception, as there are still several items that need to be addressed regarding same-sex marriage and same-sex families.

Understanding Finances in Divorce is Crucial

What comes to mind when you think of divorce? For most people, child custody and support, property division and spousal support are the most common issues that people think of. These are all very important aspects in many divorces. However, there are many other issues that divorcing couples need to keep in mind when they are in the process of splitting up.

Helping With Complex Property Division in Michigan

Aside from determining child custody, property division is usually the most difficult aspect of any divorce. Property division involves the splitting up of a couple's possessions, which usually elicits many harsh feelings and emotions. It can be very hard deciding who gets to keep what when many assets are important to both parties. Additionally, sometimes couples simply disagree out of spite for their ex-mate. These kinds of feelings can lead to a long, drawn-out settlement process, which no one really ever wants to experience. Things can get even more adversarial when couples are dealing with complex property division.

Technology's Increasing Role in Divorce

Technology is constantly changing and as it does it continues to play an increasingly larger role in just about every aspect of society. Technology also plays a role in divorce and its influence is actually being felt more and more all the time. Social media is beginning to be mentioned more often as one of the common factors that play a role in people ending their marriage. In fact, some couples have even put the majority of the blame for their failed marriage on their spouse's (or their own) social media use. Now, technology is even being used more as evidence in many divorce cases.

It's the Little Things That Can Make a Divorce Go Smoother

Everyone knows that divorce can be hard, and that it usually is. No one really ever wants to go through divorce, but unfortunately many couples do. However, like anything else in life, divorce can be what you make it. In other words, if you choose to make things difficult then your divorce will be difficult. If you choose to have a positive attitude and avoid confrontation then chances are your divorce will go smoother. Even if your estranged spouse chooses to make things difficult, you can still take a positive approach.

Which Parent is More Likely to be Granted Physical Custody?

Are you about to go through the divorce process? Do you have small children? Are you worried about keeping custody of those children? Perhaps you are even going to seek for physical custody, or maybe your estranged spouse is doing the same. There are always many questions and concerns with any child custody battle, but perhaps one of the most common questions we hear is what parent is most likely to get physical custody of the children? The answer, as with many aspects of divorce, depends on several factors, and every situation is different.

How Often Can My Ex Ask for Child Support Modification?

When couples with dependent children get divorced part of the settlement process will always include a child custody decision. In most cases there will also be a determination on child support as well. Typically the non-custodial parent, will be ordered to pay some amount of child support to his or her former spouse who is now acting as the custodial parent. Child support payments are often one of the most common reasons for a post-divorce modification petition.

How Is Divorce Different Among the Elderly?

While many people think of divorce happening to younger couples, or perhaps to those who have been married for 15-20 years, the fact is divorce really knows no age limits. Even some couples that have been married for decades end up getting divorced. In addition, some couples that marry later in life also decide that being married is not for them. Whatever the reason people in all stages of marriage do end up getting divorced. However, divorce can be different for every couple, and how your divorce plays out can have a lot to do with what stage of life you find yourself in.

Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage/Divorce Legal in Michigan

The battle over gay marriage in the United States, as well as in Michigan, took a dramatic turn late last week, as the United States Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. That means gay marriage is now legal in all 50 states, including the 14 states that still had laws that banned such unions. The ruling means that the law that Michigan voters passed in 2004 that prevented same-sex couples from marrying has been struck down. That law called for marriage to only be legal for heterosexual couples.

Is There Any Way to Protect Your Money Without a Prenup?

When couples choose to get married, they are usually madly in love and can only imagine a life full of love and happiness together. The thought of divorce most likely never crosses their minds. No one who is about to get married wants to even consider the possibility that his or her marriage could end unhappily or prematurely. However, many marriages do end in divorce, and divorce can be a very unpleasant situation to go through. One of the factors that make divorce so combative is money. That's why having a prenuptial agreement can go a long ways in making the divorce process smoother.

What's the Best Living Arrangement for Children After Divorce?

Everyone has their own opinion on divorce and children of divorce. Parents who have raised children after divorce could all share their insight and experience as to what works well and what doesn't. Obviously, all parents and children are different and no two situations are exactly the same, so it would be impossible to say that one rule applies to everyone. In addition, if you ask children of divorce what they preferred, you would also get many different answers and opinions, especially as it pertains to their living situation.

Is Social Media Leading Your Marriage to the Path of Divorce?

Just about everyone is aware of social media and its influence on individuals and societies all over the world. Social media is now a common part of every day life and its reach knows almost no boundaries. People use social media for a wide variety of reasons and for many different purposes. For some people social media is a hobby, while others use it for business or simply to connect with family and friends. On the other end of the spectrum there are those who use social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, so much that they can become addicted. It's no surprise that studies are now finding that social media is playing an increasingly larger role in divorce.

Avoid These Money Mistakes in Divorce

There are a lot of possible battles you could end up fighting when you go through divorce. Child custody and child support are very common issues, as well as property division and spousal support. One of the toughest parts of divorce can be dealing with a completely new financial status when the divorce is final. In many cases that means having to adjust to a much smaller income. Knowing your current expenses and future budget is essential in the decision making process. While most people get caught up in the immediate financial adjustments and battles over who gets to keep what, there are many other long-term aspects to consider. Overlooking them could be costly.

What Should You Look for When Choosing a Family Law Attorney?

While divorce is the most common thing that comes to mind when people think of family law issues, there are actually many different legal matters that family law attorneys deal with on a regular basis. There are many attorneys in Michigan that claim to work on family-related law issues, which means you have a lot of choices. However, what kinds of things should you be looking for when choosing a family law attorney?

What Factors Determine Property Division for Divorce in Michigan?

Are you considering, or have already decided to file for divorce in Michigan? If so, then you most surely will have a lot of questions that need to be answered before you proceed. Divorce is a serious matter and you should not take it lightly. If you enter the divorce process without caution and understanding, then you could end up with very little when the process is over and the settlement is finalized. One of the most important parts of any divorce is dividing the marital property. This is often contentious and can lead to a long, drawn out battle. So how does property division work in Michigan?

How Can Divorce Be Better Than Marriage for Children?

Although there are many possible negative outcomes that are associated with divorce, for many people divorce is actually a positive step forward. While most people don't want to see their marriage come to an end, staying in an unhappy relationship that causes constant stress, anxiety and other negative feelings and emotions is not a promising alternative. The effects of divorce on children have been well documented and there are definitely some difficult adjustments that children have to make when their parents split up. However, living in a home with parents that are constantly at each other throats is not a healthy option either.

Are Certain Life Events More Likely to Lead to Divorce?

Life is full of ups and downs. No matter who you are, what you do or where you live, everyone deals with stress and the many changes life can bring. Sometimes those changes are good and sometimes they are bad. Other times changes can be completely unexpected and throw people way off course. The fact is there is no shortage of life events that can affect people both positively and negatively. Everyone is different, so everyone will respond to these kinds of events in their own way.

How Long Does Divorce Take in Michigan?

If you have reached that point in your marriage that you feel divorce is the only answer, then most likely you want to come to a resolution quickly. If being married is causing you a lot of strife and stress in your life, then getting it over with is probably the top priority on your mind. One of the most common questions we hear at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins in Michigan is: "How long will my divorce take?"

The Twelve Factors of Child Custody in Michigan

If you are considering divorce in Michigan and you have children, then you have probably wondered how child custody is determined. Child custody can be the single most difficult issue to resolve for anyone going through divorce. While you have many things to worry about and several issues to resolve, most parents are extremely concerned about the well-being of their children over anything else. That can lead to a lot of anxiety and stress. However, there are several factors to be aware of that can help you know what to expect.

What Is Considered Separate Property in a Divorce?

When you have come to the decision to end your marriage you will have to also determine how to separate your property. This can be one of the biggest challenges of any divorce. However, there are certain aspects of property division that couples must follow. For example, Michigan is an equitable distribution state. That means that a judge may divide the marital property in any way that he or she deems fair. Equitable does not mean equal.

Establishing a Custodial Environment When Related to a Change of Domicile

Anytime a couple with children ends their marriage that couple will have to reach an agreement regarding child custody. They can either make that decision together or they can leave it up to the court. However, regardless of how they come to their decision, a court will have to approve their agreement.

Michigan Change of Domicile: When a New Job or Remarriage Requires a Parent to Move

It's not unusual for divorced parents to remarry or one parent to be offered a new job that might make it necessary to move the children covered by a Michigan child custody order more than a 100 miles from their current legal residence. When this type of situation develops, both parents may need to speak with lawyers.

What Rights Are Included With Joint Custody?

When parents with children under the age of 18 split up they will have to determine with whom those children will live and whether or not they will share custody. Many people in Michigan have misconceptions when they think of the term child custody. For example, you may have heard of legal custody and physical custody as well as sole custody and joint custody. If you're about to go through a custody battle you need to understand what these different terms mean.

Michigan Prenuptial Agreements Checklist

Nearly all of us would like to think that we're marrying our prospective spouses based upon mutual love and respect. However, America's high divorce rates are now motivating even first-time brides and grooms to ask their loved ones to sign prenuptial (or "premarital") agreements.

What Is the Impact of Gay Marriage in Michigan?

While Michigan still does not legally recognize same-sex marriage and divorce, there are signs that change could be coming later this year. If same-sex marriage were to become legal in the state the impact could be far-reaching.

Can You Lose Your Michigan Spousal Support While Cohabitating?

Historically, when courts granted spousal support (alimony) in a Michigan divorce decree, the recipient could count on receiving monthly checks until remarrying -- or at least until the agreement's stated time period came to an end. Of course, times have changed in many ways.

Should I Move Out of the House During A Divorce?

There are many people who go through divorce who most likely want to move out of the marital home as soon as possible just so they can get away from their estranged spouse and avoid the volatile situation. However, that might not be the best move.

Can I Date While I'm Still Going Through a Divorce?

While many divorces are very difficult and emotionally draining there are some people who can't wait to be done with their marriage and move on.

What Happens to My Retirement Benefits When I Divorce?

Retirement benefits can be among the most significant assets acquired during a marriage.

The Uses of Ex Parte and Temporary Orders

Once you decide to file for divorce, you probably want the process to be over as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, getting a divorce takes time.

Can You Move Away from Your Marital Home And Take the Kids With You?

Many recently divorced people decide to move to another city. They may want to be closer to their families or to put their pasts behind them and start fresh somewhere else.

Establishing Child Support for Third-Party Custodians

Third parties may have custody of your child for a variety of reasons: You may be unable to care for your children due to physical or mental illness or addiction or you may be in the military and stationed overseas.

Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of Mediation

Mediation has become an increasingly common way to settle disputes. In mediation, the two parties sit down with an impartial third party whose job it is to help them work out a settlement that is mutually advantageous.

When Can You Deviate from Michigan’s Child Support Formula?

Michigan law provides a formula for calculating child support. The formula provides an amount of child support to be awarded in a specific case, and there is a rebuttable presumption that the amount arrived at through the formula is correct.

Myland v. Myland (2010) The Imprecise Nature of Spousal Support in Michigan

If you are contemplating divorce, you may already know that child support in Michigan is usually determined by a formula.

How Much Is Your Business Worth?

Divorce becomes more complicated when one party owns a business which was acquired or the value increased during the marriage.

Do Michigan Grandparents Have the Right to See Their Grandchildren?

Grandparents and grandchildren have a special relationship. If you are a grandparent who is being denied the opportunity to spend time with your grandchild, Michigan law may be able to help you -- or it may not, depending on the specific circumstances.

Can I Keep My Separate Assets From Division During Divorce?

In divorce proceedings, Michigan law divides property according to equitable distribution. The word equitable implies that the court attempts to be fair in the division of the marital property, taking into consideration how much each spouse earned, how each spouse contributed to the household and how the distribution of assets would affect all parties involved -- including minor children.

How to Avoid a Public and Acrimonious Divorce

Nothing can spoil a political career like a messy divorce. Take it from Michigan treasurer Andy Dillon, who resigned in 2013 following a divorce scandal.

What Constitutes a Child’s Best Interests in Divorce?

When parents divorce, a number of decisions are made that affect the children of the marriage. Among these decisions are the primary place of residence, time-sharing and custody issues, and, in some cases, the issue of relocation with one parent.

What’s Wrong With a $199 Divorce?

The Internet is flooded with ads promising that you can get a cheap, fast and easy divorce. While that may be true for some people, it is not common.

More Women are Requesting Premarital Agreements

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has released a recent study showing an increase in the number of premarital agreements requested by clients.

Domestic Violence Exploding in Michigan

According to statistics, a woman is assaulted every nine seconds in the United States. In Michigan alone, 68,500 women were victims of domestic and intimate partner violence in 2011.

Divorce and its Stress on Children

Divorce can be a difficult time for children, and children handle stress in a variety of ways. As parents you can help your children manage the stress they may suffer from your divorce by employing some simple strategies and keeping the channels of communication open.

Does DNA Make You a Dad?

One could argue that there are a number of things that make a person a father, and DNA is one of them. The law assumes that the man who is married to or living with the mother of a child at the time of conception is the child's father.

How to Get Your Marriage Annulled in Michigan

In order for a marriage to be legal in Michigan, both the couple and the marriage itself must meet certain conditions. If those conditions are not met, the marriage does not legally exist.

Is Bird’s Nest Parenting for Us?

There is a new trend in child custody arrangements that is slowly gaining popularity in the United States -- though it does not seem to be catching on as quickly as some would hope.

Preparing for Litigation in Your Divorce

We recommend that you try to settle any disputed issues with your spouse whenever possible, whether on your own (with your attorney's assistance) or with the help of a mediator.

Dividing Investments Upon Divorce

If you are considering divorce, or are already in the midst of getting one, it is critically important that you understand Michigan rules regarding the division of marital property.