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Birmingham, Michigan, Family Law Blog

Life after divorce: How to move toward a happy new lifestyle

Most Michigan married couples do not enter their unions thinking they will one day wind up on opposing sides in court. In fact, divorce catches many spouses off-guard, thus setting the stage for some serious emotional challenges. The process is typically more easily navigable if one knows where to turn for support.

Talking to other people who have already divorced may be helpful. Also, looking ahead to the future and implementing various strategies may jump-start a successful new lifestyle and help newly divorced people overcome any lingering emotional trauma that exists. Others have weighed in on the topic, providing recommendations for how best to proceed to rejuvenate one's spirit after divorce.

Different types of custody in Michigan

You want what is best for your child, and so does the court in the case of a divorce. That is why child custody is a very serious matter that the court strictly regulates.

If parents are able to work together and determine a custody arrangement amongst themselves, the court usually lets that agreement stand. However, if both parties cannot agree, the court will determine custody, which can take a few different forms.

Know your property division laws before heading to court

Michigan residents, like others in the nation, often face challenges during divorce proceedings. No two situations are exactly alike. While the challenges that arise may vary, many people share common experiences regarding certain issues, such as child custody, visitation or property division. The latter is a particular concern for those who own businesses or circumstances involving high assets.

This state is similar to most others in that it is governed through equitable distribution rather than community property laws. That means marital property may not necessarily be divided 50/50 in divorce. The court will determine how best to fairly distribute all assets and debts subject to division.

Is it possible to lower child support payments?

Many Michigan parents who divorce are required to contribute financially for the benefit of their children to provide for their needs. It is usually a noncustodial parent who pays child support to a custodial parent, though child support could also be ordered in circumstances where the parents share joint custody. The amounts vary according to individual circumstances. State guidelines help family courts make determinations regarding who should pay, how much and when.

It happens at times, however, that parents with existing child support agreements experience unexpected (or expected) changes in their lives that make their current payments no longer feasible. It's never a good idea to simply stop making payments in such situations. A parent in need may submit a formal petition, asking the court to modify its existing order.

When is sole legal child custody warranted in a Michigan divorce?

When married couples in Michigan who have children divorce, they often face many challenges during proceedings insofar as future care and decision-making rights are concerned. The court generally bases its decisions on whatever it determines is in the children's best interests at the time although as time goes on life changes may prompt a modification of an existing court order. With regard to child custody, legal custody is just as important as physical custody.

Most times, the court will award joint legal custody to both parents. This type of custody refers to authority to make decisions on behalf of a child regarding major life issues. Such issues might include circumstances having to do with education, religion or medical and health care situations.

Jenelle Evans battling son's grandmother in child custody dispute

Many Michigan reality TV fans are familiar with Jenelle Evans. The Teen Mom star has been in and out of court regarding her ability to parent to her young son. In a surprising turn of events, Evans is back in court after the paternal grandmother of her 3-year-old child has filed an emergency request for temporary child custody of the boy.

Evans says she believes her own mother (from whom she is estranged) has something to do with the paternal grandmother's actions. She says, in short, that she thinks her own mother put her up to it. The claim accuses Evans and her boyfriend (the child's father) of being unfit parents due to substance abuse problems.

Alimony calculations in Michigan

In the eyes of the court, both parties should be able to continue to sustain their lives after a divorce. For this reason, one party may need to continue to provide financial support for the other in the form of alimony.

Whether you are giving or receiving alimony, it is important to understand how it works. A good place to start is knowing how courts calculate alimony payments. 

When you marital division leads to property division problems

Michigan is not a community property state. Then again, neither are most other states throughout the nation. This means when you divorce your spouse, your marital assets will be divided fairly but not necessarily evenly. This often leads to some very heated property division arguments between spouses.

Just because you are concerned with retaining ownership of your home, a vacation property or other items that are either practically or sentimentally valuable to you does not mean you are being materialistic or petty in your divorce. You have every right to protect your own interests, whether on a personal or business-related level. It's often easier to achieve your financial goals in divorce if you meet with an experienced family law attorney to develop a strong plan ahead of time. 

Child custody situations may change if law passes in Michigan

A Michigan representative is lobbying for change regarding how much time parents get to spend with their children after divorce. A bill has been proposed that may change the face of child custody law throughout the state. Those supporting the bill say the current system basically pits parents against each other in a legal contest to prove which one spent more time with their kids during the marriage.

House Bill 4691 is set to change the way child custody is determined. In fact, in most situations, the court would presume that shared and equal parenting time is best. If the bill passes, most divorcing parents will be granted joint legal custody of their children and evenly divided allotments of parenting time.

Reasons a judge may be unlikely to award alimony

Many Michigan residents are currently battling it out with soon-to-be former spouses in family court. For some, a major topic of contention is who will live with the children involved in a particular situation; for others, money is a high priority issue specifically, whether either spouse is entitled to alimony. There are no set-in-stone laws regarding this type of post divorce financial support.

Every state has its own laws and judicial precedent, although there are typical guidelines that most judges consider before handing down decisions. It's never safe to assume a particular outcome in divorce proceedings because things can quickly and unexpectedly change in one person's favor or the other. In fact, that's one of the many reasons most people hire family law attorneys to represent them, so that their rights and best interests will be well protected as courtroom events unfold.

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  • Highly Recommended - Caring, Tough, Affordable Lawyer Laura Eisenberg was 100% on my side during my divorce and actually got it pushed through ahead of schedule because of her good relationship with the Oakland County judge! She got me everything I wanted and also worked out the custody, child support and the property settlement that I wanted. - Katherine
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Responding to our clients' needs is our first priority at Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC. Whether you are considering divorce and have questions about your rights, or you are seeking custody of your child, our Oakland County family law attorneys are here to help you.

We invite you to contact Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC, at 248-358-8880 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your divorce and other family law matters. In addition to our regular business hours, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

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Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC
600 South Adams Road Suite 100
Birmingham, MI 48009

Phone: 248-358-8880
Birmingham Family Law Office

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