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Plymouth Family Law Blog

What is virtual visitation and how do you make it work?

Virtual visitation isn't a term that a lot of parents tend to stumble over when they're reading about custody and visitation -- but that may change as judges keep looking for new ways to give parents an equal share of parenting time while disrupting the lives of the kids as little as possible.

Virtual visitation is exactly what it sounds like -- the parent and child aren't in the same room together, but they use some form of technology to interact. This can take place in any number of ways:

  • Skype or other face-to-face video conferencing
  • Email exchanges
  • Private messaging on Facebook or Messenger
  • Messaging on gamer forums like Steam
  • Text messaging on phones
  • Phone calls

3 tips for preparing your finances for divorce

Even during the most amicable divorce and with the most favorable settlement, your finances will take a hit. Legal fees, property division and supporting yourself after the divorce can all take a strain on your wallet. But it does not need to devastate you. The financial burdens you face will be worse if you do not prepare for what is coming. 

But how exactly do you prepare your finances for divorce? Below is a guide to getting your finances ready so you can weather the storm. 

Are prenuptial agreements possibly a positive gesture?

Could a prenuptial agreement really be the most romantic gesture you can make before your wedding?

A lot more experts are on board with the idea that prenups are a good thing for couples to have -- they not only make for a more harmonious divorce (if one happens), but can send positive signals to your future spouse about the strength of your relationship.

New bill would make shared parenting the default in Michigan

The No. 1 rule in any custody case, regardless of the state, is that judges are to make the decision based on the best interests of the child.

That could all be changing, however, if the Michigan legislature has its way. A new bill is being pushed through the legislature that would tightly restrict the judge's discretion in most cases.

What are 'de facto' parents?

Anybody who has ever adopted a child can probably tell you that parenthood is a bond that transcends blood relationships.

Sometimes it also transcends legal relationships as well. Someone without any biological or legal ties to a child may have played such an important role in that child's development and upbringing that he or she can only be considered a "de facto" parent.

Could transgender child issues cost parents custody?

Transgender people -- including children -- are a hot political topic these days. If the parents of a transgender child are divorced and in disagreement about how the issue should be handled, could that affect one parent's custody and visitation rights?

A father of twins believes that it is the sole issue keeping him from seeing his children. According to his statements, the father found himself in jail for supporting his transgender child. According to the child's mother and the court, his support was actually coercive abuse.

Is your spouse cheating on you?

You may have a sinking feeling in your gut that tells you something's wrong with your marriage and your spouse is cheating -- but is it just paranoia?

Maybe -- but, then again, over a third of married people admit that they've cheated on their spouse at some point. While that still doesn't mean that your spouse is among them, it does mean that you should look for other signs he or she is straying:

  • Your spouse has some sudden wardrobe changes. Whether it's a forgotten wedding ring or a new bracelet that looks expensive, you have a reason to question what's going on.
  • He or she isn't sticking to the usual routine, without any real explanation. If your spouse has suddenly gotten into fitness, for example, that could easily be explained by a recent medical scare. However, if your spouse is suddenly spending long hours at the gym with no noticeable improvement in his or her physique, that's a cause for concern.
  • Your spouse's friends seem suddenly awkward around you and avoid you. They may know something you don't and feel guilty about keeping your spouse's secrets.
  • Your spouse is spending an unusual amount of time on the computer or phone, where you can't see what he or she is doing. Whether she's on her phone while walking the dog or he's sitting in the corner of the room where you can't come up behind him as he types on the laptop, electronic secrecy is a big red flag.
  • Your spouse won't give you the password to his or her email account and his or her phone or computer suddenly has a lock on it. If your spouse has always been the secretive type, that may mean nothing -- but if it's new, that's a definite warning sign.
  • Your spouse is playing games with the finances. Any signs of unexplained spending, hidden credit cards or secret bank accounts signals a problem. If your spouse isn't cheating, there are still serious trust issues developing.

Child custody in same-sex divorces

Same-sex couples can have children together through a variety of means. When a same-sex couple decides to get a divorce, the court determines child custody much like they do with heterosexual couples. This occurs quite frequently, considering that data from Williams Institute indicates up to 1.8 percent of same-sex couples go through a divorce every year.

Attorneys who help with divorces for heterosexual couples are typically proficient with same-sex divorces. Most things are the same, but there are slight nuances with the law that can result in some dissimilarities. The important thing is to consult with a lawyer to see what action clients need to take with each specific case.

Child visitation, custody and drug addiction: What to know

Drug addiction has become a national problem -- with no sign that the epidemic is slowing anytime soon. Adding to the increasingly bleak picture, parents who are caught in the cycle of drug addiction risk losing visitation, custody and -- ultimately -- their parental rights.

If you're a parent with an addiction, this is what you need to know:

3 tips to minimize back-to-school stress on co-parents

Summer vacation is drawing to an end and back-to-school supplies are starting to fill the aisles of grocery stores everywhere -- which means that a real headache is about to start for parents who are newly divorced and still struggling with the co-parenting process.

Here are 3 quick tips that can get you through the beginning of the year without having a meltdown on your ex over pocket folders and gel pens:

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