View Our Practice Areas

Birmingham Michigan Family Law Blog

How does Michigan treat pets custody in divorce?

When you get a divorce in Birmingham and you have deep disagreements over which one of you should get the family’s dog or cat, you might expect the Oakland County court to have in place a method for settling your dispute. But the reality is that Michigan is just one of the many states that have not incorporated pet custody guidelines in family law.

In Michigan, courts consider pets to be property rather than members of an extended family. So the decision on who will get the dog or cat is part of the court’s division of marital property rather than something akin to child custody.

When is lump sum alimony a good idea?

In some cases, a spouse the court orders to pay spousal support may wish to simply pay the full alimony amount up front – a “lump sum” alimony payment. They avoid the frustration of making a payment every month, and both parties can move on.

A lump sum has a few advantages for the spouse receiving support as well. Below, we outline the situations where lump sum alimony might be a good idea.

What happens if you sell marital property after your divorce?


A divorce represents a significant transition. Although the filing and process generally takes a minimum of several months, it can be difficult to finalize one’s plans after the divorce. At a minimum, a couple will no longer live together. For parties that purchased real estate together, this requires a discussion of not only property division, but tax considerations.

What can I include in a prenuptial agreement?

When you are preparing for your wedding, perhaps the last thing you might want to think about is the possibility of the marriage ending in divorce. However, taking a little time to make a backup plan that addresses various divorce-related issues, even though they may never arise, can give you and your partner peace of mind.

This is why it can be wise to create a prenuptial agreement. These contracts set critical guidelines and expectations that only come into play if a couple divorces, which can make the difficult process of ending a marriage a little easier. Below, we discuss some of the elements you might address in your prenup. There could be some that surprise you.

Can we keep details of our divorce private?

When affluent people get divorced, there can be a lot of financial information and resources involved in the process. Parties must disclose all the details of their assets and liabilities, and there can be discussions regarding business ownership, property rights and investments.

This information is critical in ensuring parties resolve various matters like property division fairly and in accordance with state law. However, it isn't something that divorcing spouses always feel comfortable disclosing to the public. If you are getting divorced and have sensitive financial information you wish to keep private, you might consider the following solutions.

What happens to all our personal property in a divorce?

Couples typically acquire countless personal items during their marriage, from furniture and computers to artwork and jewelry. Spouses buy books, gaming consoles and household appliances. If that couple divorces, these and other personal property items can be eligible for division.

Dividing personal property can be more complicated than people expect, even though the items are typically small and less expensive than property like cars and homes. To better understand how to navigate the process of dividing household items and personal property, read on below. 

What factors will determine whether I will collect alimony?

Spousal support, or alimony, can be a contentious matter in Michigan divorces. Often, one person feels entitled to this financial support and the other person has every intention of avoiding this responsibility, which makes it exceedingly difficult to reach agreements.

So, how do you (or the courts) make a decision on spousal support? Many factors will affect whether the someone pays or receives alimony in Michigan.

How are disagreements between parents sharing custody resolved?

Parents who divorce or split up will often share joint and/or physical custody of their children. This is because it is often in a child's best interests to have a relationship with both parents. As such, many Michigan parents will have to make child-related decisions cooperatively.

Ideally, parents would agree on all these decisions. Realistically, though, parents often run into situations where they disagree on matters that they both have the right to make decisions on. So, what happens when parents cannot agree?

What should we include in our parenting time arrangements?

Reaching a decision on child custody is no small achievement, whether that decision is the result of mediation or litigation. However, it is only the first step of raising a child with but separately from another parent. After this decision comes the process of putting that plan into place and adjusting to the changes that come with it.

As difficult as this can be, parents should understand the guidance that comes from a custody order. This document provides critical direction that can make it easier to understand boundaries and expectations. Considering how valuable this document can be, divorcing parents should know what these orders typically include.

Should we have a formal court order for child support?

Divorcing doesn't always involve animosity, distrust or anger. There are people who part ways amicably and with respect and compassion for each other. While this can make the legal process of ending the relationship easier, it can also create a false sense of security when it comes to the agreements parties reach during a divorce.

For instance, if you are a parent going through an amicable divorce, you might think that reaching informal agreements with your former partner without representation or court orders can allow you to avoid messy legal issues. However, this may not be true.


  • Understanding the legalities of the divorce process Laura has walked me through the maze of this legal system educating me so that I understand the divorce process. She has fought for me an every issue that I have had concerns with and given me excellent advice when I needed it. I am very satisfied with the direction and results. - Anonymous
  • The Best Family Lawyer in MI My cousin who owns his own law firm in Toronto found Amy for me as the best female lawyer in MI. It turned out to be very true. She helped me through one of the hardest times of my life, not only just legally but emotionally through a divorce... - Graeme
  • Laura Eisenberg -Attorney Without a doubt, one of the most professional people I have ever dealt with. Laura is an over-communicator with a complete skill set. She was able to manage my expectations while helping me to feel confident in the decisions we were making. The results were great and the client-lawyer relationship was exceptional.- Jeff
  • Excellent, Supportive, Knowledgeable, Strong Amy is the best type of lawyer one could want - she is tough when needed, extremely knowledgeable about her field, confident, supportive, straightforward, reliable and cognizant of keeping financial commitments at a reasonable level. Amy handled my divorce and was not only excellent in her delivery of services, but...- Jordana
  • 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
  • Very Skilled & Experienced Lawyer Laura helped me through a very difficult divorce situation. I was completely taken by surprise when my spouse filed divorce papers, and was worried about the children, the house, child support, etc. A friend recommended Laura because she had really helped her with her divorce. - Anonymous
Read More
  1. Super Lawyers
  2. Distinguished AV | LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
  3. AAML | American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  4. The Best Lawyers in America
  5. MIPA
  6. Business | Top Lawyers
  7. Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb | Featured Attorney

Get Started Today

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 or other family law matters. In addition to our regular business hours, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Email Us For A Response

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

Phone: 248-358-8880
Birmingham Family Law Office

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy