Forward Thinking Family Law Since 1994

Practice Areas

Divorce

Michigan is a “no-fault” divorce state, but the term “no-fault” is misleading. Fault isn’t a factor if the parties reach a settlement on all issues. However, if there are disputes about spousal support, property division, child support, par…

Limited Scope Representation

Limited scope representation allows you to pick and choose which services our attorneys provide. This form of representation works well for clients who have done quite a lot of research about divorce and can communicate effectively with their spouse.…

The Divorce Process

Every divorce follows basic legal steps. When we meet, we’ll explain how the process applies to your specific situation. The first step is deciding what process we will use to try to resolve your issues. Sometimes, it’s better to reach a settleme…

Resolving Disputes

Getting a divorce, no matter how simple or complex the situation may be, puts an emotional strain on everyone involved. Change can be unsettling Divorce often involves many unsettling changes to deal with: finding a new place to live, handling new fi…

Mediation

In a divorce trial today, no one really wins. More and more divorcing couples are discovering that “having their day in court” doesn’t bring the results they expected. Often, couples don’t have the opportunity to have their say, because the a…

Attorney-Assisted Mediation

Work with an attorney who is trained in mediation and fully understands the mediation process.   Much of our practice is mediating cases, and we recommend that our clients have their attorneys attend all mediation sessions, particularly when:  One…

Collaborative Practice

Collaborative practice focuses on reaching a settlement and reducing the time and costs involved in getting a divorce. Collaborative practice has two basic principles: a commitment not to use judicial decision-making, and the support of a professiona…

Negotiation

If a couple opts for an attorney-negotiated settlement, each party hires an attorney to represent them.  The parties negotiate what they can, and the attorneys negotiate with each other on the outstanding issues to reach a settlement, contacting the…

Arbitration

Arbitration is an alternative to a trial. In arbitration, both parties agree to appoint an attorney to settle outstanding issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, parenting time, and division of property. Arbitration works well f…

Litigation and Appeals

Almost no divorcing couple wants to end up in court, but sometimes need a judge to decide their issues. When circumstances indicate that a trial is the best option, you can rely on the courtroom skills of our attorneys to present your case in a thoug…

Child Custody & Support

Child Custody

Legal custody refers to the major decision-making for the child. It does not refer to the amount of time that the child spends with each parent. Custody is complicated Physical custody refers to the amount of time the child spends with each parent.…

Parenting Time

Parenting time, formerly called visitation, details the schedule and time that each parent spends with the children. How the court decides Some courts order that one parent will have “reasonable parenting time,” leaving it up to the parents to de…

Child Support

The amount of child support depends on many factors, but is primarily based on the needs of the children and their parents’ ability to pay.  Children come first Child support must be paid until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high sch…

Parenting Coordinator

When parents have ongoing problems communicating and making effective decisions about their children, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator. A court order specifies the powers of the parenting coordinator. This avoids having the struggle betw…

Paternity

Paternity issues depend on whether the parents were married or unmarried at the time of conception. When a married couple has a child conceived during the marriage, the child is presumed to be the biological child of both parents. This means that bot…

Property Settlement

Make sure you fully understand the terms of a property settlement before you sign it. Property settlements cannot be changed, except in cases of fraud, clerical error, mistake, or gross unfairness at the initial trial, after the judgment is signed by…

Spousal Support (Alimony)

The court considers many factors in spousal support. Spousal support (formerly called alimony) refers to court-ordered payments from one spouse to another. In deciding whether to award spousal support and in what amount, the court may consider: Past…

Changing a Settlement/Order

The judgment of divorce marks the end of the marriage and is a final statement of the agreement. But life is not static—circumstances change and adjustments to the judgment may be needed. Changing an order is difficult but not impossible. Your atto…

Tax Planning

We are not tax attorneys and do not give definitive tax advice, but we can refer you to qualified tax professionals. Divorcing couples should consider these effects on their taxes: Filing status and exemptions Dependent exemptions Spousal support…

Separate Maintenance

Separate maintenance is an option for couples opposed to getting a divorce, but who cannot continue living together. It’s also used when the couple wants to continue health insurance coverage for an unemployed or retired spouse, after separation. S…

Annulments

An annulment is similar to obtaining a divorce, although there is no mandatory waiting period. Annulment is possible when the parties were ineligible to be married (void marriage) or the information available to one party induced them to marry, and i…

Same-Sex Marriage

In 2004, voters banned same-sex marriage in Michigan, which remained the law until 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in all states. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling granted to same-sex couples the same rights and protect…

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements protect significant assets before you marry and protect the interests of children from former relationships. Establishing Expectations Prenuptial agreements establish each person’s expectations before they enter into marriage.…

Estate Planning

Estate Planning – A gift to yourself and your loved ones Estate Planning is about protecting yourself and your loved ones, planning for the unexpected, and preserving your legacy.   For most people, estate planning does not have to be too complex…

Wills

What is a will?   A will is a legal document that allows you to designate what happens to your assets when you die.  You can also do several other things with a will, such as decide who will be the guardian or conservator over your minor children…

Trusts

What is a trust? A trust is a legal document that names a particular person (a trustee) to hold and manage assets belonging to the trust.  Trusts can be helpful to avoid probate, manage your assets after you die, protect assets for your children or…

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances A Durable Power of Attorney for Finances is a legal document where you appoint someone else to manage your financial and business affairs.  This document is a very powerful document because it allows the person…

Power of Attorney for Health Care and Advance Directives

Advance Directives:  Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care, Living Wills, and DNRs[1] Each of us values the right to decide about ourselves, including the medical treatment we receive.  However, sometimes, due to accident, injury, or illness,…

Parental Power of Attorney

When your children live apart from you—or if they travel without you or you travel apart from them—we recommend that you have a parental power of attorney. This document appoints another adult to act in your place in case of your child’s medic…

Funeral Representative Designations

In 2016, Michigan joined 39 other states in allowing a person to designate a funeral representative, with the power to make decisions about a person’s funeral arrangements, and the handling, disposition, or other disinterment of a person’s body a…

Lady Bird Deeds

Michigan is one of about 16 states that allow transfers of property a “Lady Bird Deed,” also known as an Enhanced Life Estate Deed.  These types of deeds can be very useful in estate planning and elder law planning for people who own real proper…

Elder Medition

Elder mediation helps preserve family harmony, one of the most precious gifts a family can give to an elderly member. Older adults, their families and caregivers may need help making difficult decisions related to long-term care, guardianship, medica…

Probate & Trust Administration

What is Probate? Probate is the process a court uses to supervise a deceased person’s estate.  At times, it can be costly and time-consuming, so many people consult with an estate planning attorney to try to avoid the probate process.   Our atto…

Step-Parent Adoption