Child Support in Michigan is determined by a complex mathematical formula. Child Support matters are generally handled by the Friend of Court, an agent of the Circuit Court. While child support is mandatory, there are circumstances where strict application of the formula may not be appropriate. Your Path Family Law is experienced in the intricacies of the child support formula and in objecting to Friend of Court recommendations or negotiating a child support resolution that works for your family.
There are two types of custody in Michigan. Legal custody concerns decision making for your child for major decisions such as where will the child go to school, what religion will they practice, what extracurricular activities will they participate in, and what medical care they should receive. Most parents share legal custody though sole legal custody to one parent may be appropriate in situations of domestic violence, mental illness, parental abandonment, or extreme acrimony between parents. Physical custody is more of a label, which describes where a child primarily lives. While joint physical custody is very popular, it is not appropriate or best for every child. If you have a custody dispute, Your Path Family Law will explain how a court determines what is in the best interests of your children and will provide you with candid advice about your unique situation.
There are many pathways to achieve a divorce depending on how you, your spouse, and the legal professionals involved handle the matter. In a contested divorce (when you and your spouse do not agree as to how to share your assets, debts, and children, and how much support will be provided, if any), you need to have a strategy for resolution of your case from the beginning. Emotional stress, financial burdens, and the complexity of the legal system can all result in decisions being made that will negatively impact your life and your family for years to come. It is important to have an attorney that understands your goals and your family. At Your Path Family Law, we are dedicated to protecting our clients’ lifestyle and assisting them in choosing the right path to their future.
It is incredibly frustrating when one party is not following an agreement or prior order of the court. Your Path Family Law assists spouses and parents in enforcing past court orders and considering whether orders need to change to ensure compliance.
If you have been caring for a child as though you are their parent but are not the legal parent, you can request that the court appoint you guardian, giving you legal authority to make decisions for the child, and the ability to pursue custody. If your children are presently in the care of a court-appointed guardian, you may be able to modify or terminate that guardianship. Your Path Family Law helps parents and would-be guardians effectively advocate for the children they care about.
If you and your spouse do not yet have an agreement but would like to attempt a resolution without the assistance of individual attorneys or involvement by a court, Your Path Family Law provides mediation services to unrepresented couples. In addition, Your Path Family Law uses mediation as an advocacy tool to help its clients achieve successful outcomes in their family relations matters.
Once you have a court order in place for custody and parenting time, changes may become necessary when there is proper cause or a change in circumstances. These are legal “terms of art” that typically require more than a minor change in the child’s life. Your Path Family Law will help you determine whether and to what extent an adjustment to your custody and parenting time order is necessary for the best interest of your child.
If you have children and are subject to a child custody order in Michigan, you cannot just move away from your children’s other parent. If you have sole legal custody, you are required to tell the court of your move in advance. If you have joint legal custody, you cannot move more than 100 miles away unless your ex has agreed or if the court determines that the move is in the best interest of your children. At Your Path Family Law, we assist clients seeking to relocate, and we defend against change in domicile motions when the desire to move is rooted not in the children’s interest but the interest of the parent.
Parenting Time, also known as visitation, concerns where a child is at any given moment. There are as many possibilities for parenting time schedules as there are days in a year. Although many courts and judges have their own guidelines and preferences for parenting time schedules, you are not bound to those guidelines. Your Path Family Law will help you create a specific parenting time schedule that works for your family.
A paternity action establishes a child’s legal father. A revocation of paternity action revokes the legal designation of parent to a father that is not the child’s biological parent, under specific circumstances. In many cases, if a child was on state assistance at the time of their birth, the Prosecuting Attorney will initiate paternity proceedings against any man that the child’s mother has named. If you have received one of these notices, it is important to respond promptly and seek counsel to understand your rights and responsibilities. Your Path Family Law will counsel you as to the process of establishing paternity or revoking paternity and will work with you on the attendant issues of custody, parenting time, and child support if paternity is established.
Many domestic relations matters involve not only a divorce or custody dispute but also a personal protection proceeding (PPO). These proceedings are separate cases from your family law matter but typically appear in front of the same judge. A person asking the court for a personal protection order must prove to the court that they have a reasonable fear for their safety if the respondent contacts them. PPOs can be a useful tool to protect people, but they can also be employed as a litigation tactic to gain advantage in another legal matter. Your Path Family Law is skilled at prosecuting, defending, and modifying personal protection orders.
If you are concerned about protecting your assets prior to a marriage or prior to moving in with your partner, a pre-marital agreement (also referred to as pre-nuptial agreement) or a cohabitation agreement is the answer. Cohabitation agreements are particularly important for unmarried couples because Michigan does not recognize common-law marriage. If you share expenses, own your home jointly, or share pets with someone to whom you are not married, a cohabitation agreement can help protect both you and your partner in case you go your separate ways.
When you get divorced, you and your spouse will have to divide everything in your estate – including the debts. This can be a simple process if you have few assets. However, if you have retirement accounts, a small business, own a home, have substantial toys of value (like motorcycles, boats, cars, etc), or have joint debts, then property division can be more difficult than simply agreeing to split everything in half. At Your Path Family Law, we are skilled at helping clients reach resolution on how to divide their property, while also protecting their assets for the future.
If you share joint legal custody and wish to change your child’s school, even if you are not moving more than 100 miles away, you must have the agreement of the other parent. Courts hold special hearings to determine whether a change to your child’s school is best. Courts will look beyond the question of which school is “better” or has a higher ranking by the state to determine what is best for your child. At Your Path Family Law, we are skilled at presenting the evidence courts will need to permit a change in school.
If you have received a notice from the Court or Friend of Court that you must appear to “show cause why you should not be held in civil or criminal contempt,” it is important that you understand beforehand why you have been brought before the court and what the potential outcomes are. In many domestic matters, show cause orders can be resolved by agreement without need for a judge’s decision. However, if a judge must rule on a show cause for violation of a court order, it often results in a penalty: a fine, attorney’s fees payable to your ex, or at worst, jail time of up to 93 days. At Your Path Family Law, we know how to defend these orders to keep your money in your pocket and avoid jail.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be ordered in any divorce by the court if the court determines that it is necessary and fair for one party to support the other after the divorce is final. Unlike child support, there is no mathematical formula that determines how much spousal support should be paid. Instead, in order for a court to determine if spousal support is appropriate, the court must focus on your family’s individual circumstance. Spousal support decisions may also impact how you and your spouse decide to divide your property. Your Path Family Law takes a holistic approach to spousal support and is skilled at negotiating favorable spousal support arrangements for payers and recipients.
If your spouse is not the biological parent of your child but wishes to be the legal parent, you may be eligible for a step-parent adoption if your child’s biological parent has been absent from their life for over two years. Your Path Family Law can walk you through the process and prepare for potential objections from the biological parent.
If you and your spouse have fully agreed on how to untangle your finances, share your children, and ensure neither party is left without support, then it is imperative that you understand your agreement. You must also know how to make your agreement effective and enforceable in case the congeniality between you and your spouse fades in the future. Your Path Family Law will walk you through the court process, at whatever level you desire, and ensure that you and your spouse have a clear, legally effective agreement that outlines your rights and responsibilities to one another.
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Providing fixed-fee legal services for divorce and child custody disputes.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
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