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When most people think of family law, they think solely of divorce. However, while divorce is certainly one of the biggest issues family lawyers help with, they can also assist with any other area requiring an in-depth knowledge of family law in the state. Child custody, child support, separate maintenance, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are just some of the issues for which attorney can help families resolve their disputes, or prevent them from ever occurring.
These are all intricate areas of the law, and no one should ever attempt to handle them alone. A Bloomfield family lawyer will explain what the law says about these issues, ensure the rights of the clients are upheld, and fight when necessary to get those clients the most favorable terms possible.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. This means that anyone who wishes to get a divorce can do so without proving fault, and without the consent of the other party. This does not mean that when a divorce involves serious issues of fault, such as domestic violence, this is not taken into consideration. A judge will take the abuse into consideration when determining the final terms of the divorce.
Those wishing to file for divorce in Bloomfield must prove that they have resided in Michigan for the 180 days before filing for divorce. They must also wait out the law’s required cooling-off period, which is 60 days for couples without children, and 180 days when children are involved. In some situations, such as when the divorce involves domestic abuse, judges sometimes waive this waiting period.
Child custody in Bloomfield determines where the child will reside and which parent will make decisions for the child. Judges will determine the terms of child custody based on a number of factors outlined in the Michigan Child Custody Act. Judges must always award child custody according to the child’s best interests.
In most cases, judges will try to award both parents with equal parenting time and decision-making ability. This is to strengthen the relationship between the child and each parent, and not to weaken either. When equal parenting time is not in the child’s best interests, or one parent does not have the capacity to make important decisions, a judge will deviate from the Act.
Michigan law states that all parents are financially responsible for their children until they turn 18. When determining the amount of child support payments, a judge will take many factors into consideration. These include the income of each parent, expenses for the child, and how many overnight visits the child has with each parent.
This sounds fairly straightforward, but child support often becomes a contentious argument in divorce proceedings. For example, one parent may stop looking for employment, or agree to work for smaller wages, in order to avoid paying child support. When a judge determines this is the case, he or she may base a child support order on a parent’s imputed income, which is potential income.
In Michigan, separate maintenance is the term used when a couple no longer wishes to remain married, but they also do not want to get a divorce. In other states it is commonly known as a legal separation. In some instances couples think that because they are not actually getting a divorce, they do not need to make it official with the courts. A judgment of Separate Maintenance, though, can protect the rights of both parties in case circumstances change or animosities arise.
The best way to ensure a divorce goes as smoothly as possible is to get a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The only difference between the two is that a prenuptial agreement is drafted before a couple marries, and a postnuptial agreement is written after the couple is already married. These documents sometimes carry a negative stigma, and couples rarely want to plan for divorce. However, these agreements actually open the door to important conversations and can help both parties feel more secure in the marriage.
When a legal family issue or dispute arises, the road ahead is never an easy one. A family lawyer in Bloomfield can help you navigate the laws and procedural rules, negotiate with the other side, and get you the best possible outcome.
If you have a family legal issue, contact Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today. After hearing the facts of your case, we will provide you with honest legal advice and inform you of the options you have. Family law in Bloomfield is complicated, and you should not try to handle any matter on your own. Call us today or fill out our online form for your free consultation so we can get started.