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Plymouth Family Law Blog

Does my child have a right to choose who he or she lives with?

It is normal and healthy to give children more responsibility and opportunities to make decisions about their lives as they grow older. This is true for many things, from deciding what types of subjects they would like to study at school, to which friends they would prefer to hang out with, the clothes they would like to wear and the sports that they want to play.

When a child reaches the age of 12 or 13, many parents believe that this extension of decision-making will also be true for the child when it comes to deciding which parent that he or she would like to live with, overriding the decisions that the courts previously made.

How to calculate alimony in Michigan

One of the most stressful and indeed controversial aspects to finalizing a divorce is often the calculation of alimony payments.

There can often be conflicting opinions between how much alimony is owed, and this is why the courts have tried to make the process as simple as possible by creating a calculation system. However, in reality there can still be issues, especially when there are conflicts about the true income of a spouse, or in relation to whose fault the break up of the marriage was believed to be.

Unmarried fathers must be aware of their rights

It is becoming increasingly common for the parents of a child to be unmarried. Parents might initially intend to be an unmarried couple raising their child together; however, the problem is that if the relationship disintegrates, the father has less rights and parental security than a father who is married to the mother and intends to get a divorce.

Therefore, as an unmarried father, it is important to be vigilant and ensure that you know how the legal system works so that you can continue to have a good relationship with your child.

Is it illegal for a father to deny paternity?

Finding the legal paternity of a child can be difficult to do if the man that the mother claims is the father decides not to acknowledge paternity. If the man does not acknowledge paternity, then he will not have custody rights, but at the same time, he will not be liable for child support payments.

In what circumstances is paternity automatically assumed?

Divorcing when you have no idea about your finances

It can be confusing and frustrating when you want to initiate a divorce or have to answer a divorce filing and have no idea about your financial situation. In divorce, as with many other issues, knowledge is power.

That said, it is possible to get some knowledge before your first meeting with a lawyer. Here are a few tips that can help you get a better grasp on your financial situation before divorcing.

Divorcing without sacrificing your mental health

Divorce is a harsh reality for as many as 48 percent of married couples within the 20 years following the marriage. Most people decide to divorce because they come to the conclusion that they will live happier and more fulfilled lives after they have separated from their spouse. However, the process of divorce is inevitably a stressful and draining one, even if you separate amicably. There is the pressure of doing right by your children and explaining the situation to friends and family can make it feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

The way that you approach the to remember that a divorce should not feel like a battle between two opposing sides, but instead a team moving forward with a common objective: to create a better life for both spouses, and for any children involved.

Taking action as a victim of paternity fraud

One of the most devastating realizations as a father is to become aware that a child that you have loved and raised is not biologically yours. It is more common than people may think that a mother was in full knowledge of the true paternity of a child since conception, but had purposefully deceived people in order to gain child support or another form of support from the person she stated was the father.

A man in this position will feel a wide range of emotions, but one of the concerns or questions that he will have is whether he is able to be reimbursed by the mother on the child support that he wrongfully paid. He might also be wondering whether there is any type of legal action he can take against the mother for engaging in purposeful deception in order to make a personal gain.

How important is proof of paternity?

Proof of paternity is the establishment of the father of a child. This can be significant for many legal matters that concern the child and their parents. Just because a man's name is on a child's birth certificate does not mean that they have been legally established as the father of the child. Therefore, after a birth certificate has been signed, there can still be a quest to prove or establish paternity.

When people think of establishing paternity, a DNA test is the first thing that often comes to mind. However, this is not the only way in which paternity can be established. If a child is the result of a marriage, then it is already assumed that the child's father is the man married to the mother. Paternity can also be voluntarily assumed through the signing of a legitimation form, a similar acknowledgement drafted by a lawyer, another form or informal acknowledgment.

What to do when you have no money for a divorce

Divorce is a prominent issue in Michigan. Data from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services shows that over 29,000 divorces took place in the state in 2015 alone. 

Money is a huge issue when it comes to divorce. In fact, many people file for divorce without realizing they cannot handle the financial burden. While there may be a lot of emotions behind a divorce, it is important to remain practical. Before filing the paperwork and pursuing legal action, it is good for people to look at their finances to make sure they can handle this process. 

Love, marriage and... Paternity fraud?

Relying on the bonds of matrimony to prove patrilineal descent really never made a lot of sense. It essentially relies on the honesty of an awful lot of people who may have good reason to hide an illicit affair.

In this day and age, you'd think that such notions would have fallen by the wayside -- now that paternity is easy to prove with a simple DNA test. Unfortunately, the law hasn't exactly caught up with the times. The law simply -- if irrationally -- presumes that if a couple is married, the husband is the father of the wife's child. The legal term for the husband is actually that of a "presumptive father." That presumption has, no doubt, been responsible for many cases of paternity fraud throughout history -- but are men stuck under the same bonds today?

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