Divorce cases bring with them a myriad of complications and hurdles to overcome. Questions over financial or real estate assets, bank accounts, retirement and estate plans. But when there are children involved, they should be the primary focus of any decision making and every effort should be made to reduce the effects on them and to ensure that amicable solutions are found with regards to custody arrangements, financial support, and any visitation rights.
A good family law attorney will always advise to minimize effects on the children and to seek out solutions which benefit the children in the long-term. In many cases, amicable solutions can be reached without the aid of a lawyer, but in many more, having a law firm such as Michigan Premier Law, P.C. handling divorce proceedings can minimize conflict and assist progress to a positive outcome.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. That means that neither party has to prove any fault on the part of the other for a divorce to be granted. However, the courts will take some faults into account when looking at decisions regarding the children. A history of domestic violence, other types of abuse, and some cases of substance use may have an effect on who gains custody, levels of visitation rights, and also child support.
It is advisable to be informed of the various ways Michigan deals with divorce, including residency requirements and timeframes.
Michigan courts will always prioritize the best interests of the child when making decisions. Those interests are listed in Michigan legislation and will always be considered prior to a final decision. Michigan law’s view is that equitable solutions work best for the children’s future and that, if possible, both parents should take an active part in the children’s lives.
There are two types of child custody that the court will make a ruling on:
- Physical custody. This is about where the child will reside and it can include joint custody. If sole custody is awarded, then the court will also rule on what levels, if any, of visitation rights and parenting time the other parent will have.
- Legal custody. This is more to do with participating in important decisions about the child. It can cover aspects such as education, healthcare and medical decisions, etc.
If the court decides to award sole custody to one parent, then it will make further decisions on what level of access and parenting time the other parent will have. This will usually be normal parent-child time but if the court has any concerns over one parent’s behavior – for example, where there has been domestic violence or other concerning behavior – then the court may rule on supervised access. This may not be a permanent decision and can be revisited in the future.
When it comes to financial support for any children after a divorce, state laws say that a child should be supported financially until the age of 18, though that age rises to 19½ if the child is still in high school. The court will take a number of factors into consideration when making decisions on child support.
- Number of children
- Who has custody and how much time the children spend with each parent (on the basis of overnight stays)
- Income of each parent
- If there are any special requirements for the child. For example, ongoing medical treatment or special education
- Anything else the court feels is relevant to this decision
Of course, while the well-being of any children should be paramount, there are other aspects to your divorce and decisions made by the court. The courts view property as being split into two types:
- Marital property. This covers all assets and property that have been amassed in the lifetime of the marriage. It can include any form of real estate, vehicles, retirement plans, savings accounts and artwork. This type of property will always be viewed by the court as jointly owned regardless of who bought them or earned them or whose name is on any paperwork.
- Separate property. This type of property can be quite complicated to designate and can often lead to heated debate between your lawyer and opposing counsel in court. This type of property can include anything either party bought or acquired prior to marriage (as long as ownership was kept in their own name) or an inheritance received during the marriage (as long as it was not deposited in a joint account).
As some areas around property division can get complicated, it is always advisable to seek legal advice from your divorce lawyers very early in the process.
The state of Michigan recognizes both postnuptial and prenuptial and agreements though there are aspects of Michigan contract law which they must conform to in order to be valid. These can be useful if either party has any children from a previous relationship. Your attorney will have the legal knowledge and experience to explain how any such agreements will affect you divorce proceedings.
It is worth preparing thoroughly for the divorce process. Having a good family lawyer advising you from the beginning can make the process far smoother and can ensure that your rights are observed, that your children’s interests are always taken into account, and that you get the best possible outcome from the divorce once it is finalized. Knowing what lies ahead and what you can expect, can dramatically reduce the stress you will experience.
Except in the rarest of cases where both parties have parted amicably and are in complete agreement about everything, a lawyer will be needed to make the process easier. We can never guarantee that we will make the process entirely stress-free, but we are sure it will be far less than without legal support.
Here at Michigan Premier Law, P.C. we are among the leading experts in family law in the state. We will advise, guide, and support you every step of the way. And with a senior partner who is a certified family law specialist, you know you will receive the very best in legal advice. We offer a free initial consultation so why not schedule one today at (248)-687-1035 so we can evaluate your case and determine how we can help you and your family?