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Plymouth Family Law Blog

How are child custody determinations made in Michigan?

Child custody is a primary concern for parents during divorce and they may wonder how child custody is determined. Whether divorcing couples are negotiating child custody or the family law court is making child custody decisions, the best interests of the child is always the focus of child custody determinations.

What is in the best interests of the child is the guiding principle for child custody decisions and focuses on the child's happiness, safety, security, mental health and emotional development. The court considers a variety of factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Factors that may be evaluated can include the mental and physical health of the parents; any special needs of the child and the ability of the parents to meet those needs; religious and cultural considerations; adjustment to school and community; the age and sex of the child; and the wishes of the child depending on age.

Understanding how property will be divided in Michigan

Property division can be one of several challenges divorcing couples face which makes understanding the property division process in Michigan useful. Equitable property division rules are followed in Michigan which means that property is divided fairly between the divorcing spouses but no necessarily in half.

The family law court will seek a property division settlement that is based on equitable principles but there are some factors they consider in doing so divorcing spouses should be familiar with. While different property items may be more important to one spouse or the other, all property will be divided including debts. Property including a family home, cars, household furnishings, retirement accounts and even a family business will all need to be divided.

The importance of determining paternity

Determining paternity has important emotional and legal implications for both the child and family involved. In addition to knowing the identity of the child's biological father, the process of determining paternity can have important implications for child custody and visitation, child support, health care issues and inheritance concerns, among other important considerations.

A paternity action is an action filed in civil court to determine the biological father of a child. Both the mother and the putative father of a child can file a paternity action to determine the biological father of the child. Once paternity has been determined, it can have important legal implications for both the child and parents.

Spousal support basics and what to expect

Spousal support can unquestionably be one of the most significant concerns couples have when facing divorce. Just like many divorce concerns, there are options available through the family law process to develop a spousal support order, modify a spousal support order if needed and to enforce a spousal support order when needed. In some circumstances, it is not possible to modify a spousal support order so it is also important to keep that in mind. Spousal support can be a significant concern for both divorcing spouses so they should understand it as much as possible.

There are a variety of factors the family law court considers when developing an award of spousal support. Factors that may be considered by the court include the length of the marriage; the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; the age of the parties; the ability of the parties to work; that ability of the parties to pay spousal support; if one party is responsible for the support of the other; the situation, needs and health of the parties; past relations and conduct of the parties; and general principles of equity.

4 questions to ask yourself to heal faster from divorce

Every relationship is different, and therefore every divorce is unique. Your experience is entirely yours, and so is the healing process. Divorce has a way of evoking a range of negative emotions that need healing to move forward.

Your marriage undoubtedly holds emotion-soaked memories revolving around what attracted you to this person, your expectations and the events that led to its end. So, where do you begin getting well again after the marriage has ended? It starts with honesty. Being honest with yourself and others is going to help speed the healing process.

Know what to do and avoid during the divorce process

No matter who you are and how well you prepare, divorce is still going to be an emotionally difficult time. There will be some highs, and there will be lows -- but consistently working on yourself and your divorce throughout the process will get you to the finish line. Given the potential difficulties that any divorcee could face, what are some tactics to embrace during the divorce, and what are some behaviors and actions to avoid?

The simplest piece of advice we can give here is to remain calm during the divorce process. If you get angry in-person, or over social media, or on the phone with your spouse, then it will only make things more difficult during mediation or negotiation sessions between the two of you. Be as reasonable as you can, and use your support system -- friends, family, therapists -- to keep you sane during the process.

Planning financially for divorce

Divorce is usually a very emotional process that takes its toll on how you feel from day to day. While making sure that you are processing your feelings and healing emotionally is important, you must also think about practical factors such as how your financial situation might change after a divorce.

It has been estimated that on average, a 30 percent increase in income is required for a household to be able to maintain the same standard of living after a divorce. Therefore, as a person who is considering divorcing, it is in your interests to plan ahead financially before filing for divorce.

How women can take control of their finances post-divorce

Divorcing your husband can afford you the opportunity to start fresh and become more independent. However, becoming financially self-reliant is easier said than done.

Your spouse may have been managing the finances throughout your marriage, and now you feel lost in the accounting. Yet even if you were in complete control of your marital finances, you will still need to take steps post-marriage to ensure you cover all of the necessary bases.

Why should a father establish paternity?

As a father, you will likely want to be a part of your child's life. But if you are not legally recognized as the father of your child, this can be extremely difficult. It can mean that you will be subject to whatever is convenient to the mother, and she may not want to give you any access to your child at all.

Therefore, if you want to have shared custody of your child, the first step is establishing legal paternity, if you haven't already. You will automatically have paternity if you were married to the mother at the time of the child's birth, or if your name is on the birth certificate. The mother can voluntarily acknowledge your paternity, but if she will not, you will have to request a DNA test in order for your paternity to be proven.

Three tips for effective co-parenting following divorce

Divorce can be difficult. When you and your ex share children together, there's usually no chance of cutting all ties and going your separate ways. If your ex is still in your childrens' lives, you need to find a way of carrying on some kind of cooperative relationship together.

Today we provide three tips for developing an effective co-parenting relationship with your ex:

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