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If you are thinking about getting a divorce it is important to file first, and please do not wait, especially in difficult situations such as domestic violence, child custody, property issues and move away cases. The party filing for divorce first is able to ask the court for relief in the form on ex-parte orders which can prevent an angry spouse from liquidating bank accounts, running up debt and removing children from the home. Do not wait to see our firm if you are contemplating a divorce so that we can sit down in our office at the first free consultation and discuss your case and develop a winning strategy.
Did you know that the parenting time and custody arrangements contained in your initial divorce or custody judgment are likely to stay in place and may be difficult to change in the future.
Child custody law is based around an important idea known as the “established custodial environment.” An established environment is a physical environment where the child lives. An established environment also has emotional components pertaining to how much the child looks to each parent for guidance and discipline. Simply put, if you allow a child to spend most of his or her time living with your opponent, a court is probably going to stick with this arrangement in the future. Once this environment is established, the courts cannot change custody or parenting time in a manner that interferes with this environment unless there is a compelling urgent need to do so. As such, parenting time and custody are much harder to make in the future. Your best chance is to obtain favorable custody and parenting time provisions at the outset, which will be hard for your opponent to take away from you later on.
A common error asserted by parents in divorce and custody situations is the mistaken assumption that they can settle “temporarily” and revisit custody and parenting time later on. For example, a parent will often believe he or she can settle a divorce now with limited parenting time, and successfully ask a court to grant equal parenting time when the child is older. Unfortunately, this approach is wrong because it fails to account for the establishment of an environment wherein the other parent spends more time caring for the child’s needs over a period for years. A court is not likely to change this arrangement several years down the road unless a compelling emergency situation arises, which is not usually the case.
For these reasons, it is advised that you seek a favorable parenting time and custody schedule in the initial divorce and custody judgment before your opponent establishes an environment in your absence. Do not make the flawed assumption that your parenting time will be easily adjusted in the future. Prior to entering into a judgment that provides you with unfavorable parenting time or custody provisions
Did you know that child support amounts are based on the annual amount of overnights you spend with your child, and that Michigan courts are awarding fathers equal or expanded parenting time on an increasing basis?
Based on recent changes to the Michigan Child Support Guidelines, child support in Michigan is determined by a complex formula which is based largely on the number of overnights that each party receives with the child on an annual basis. This new formulation recognizes that parties providing substantial care for a child deserve lower child support obligations. However, this formulation also encourages less involved parents to insist on additional overnights in order to gain a reduction in support amounts.
For years many involved fathers have been relegated to secondary parenting status simply because of their gender. This was not right. Joint custody with equal overnights is being commonly awarded to fathers in Michigan. In many cases, this is an appropriate parenting time schedule. In other cases, equal parenting time is a one-size fits all approach that is over-utilized by uninvolved parents to minimize child support obligations.
Likewise, if you are a primary caregiver being faced with an opportunistic demand for equal parenting time by a less involved parent who is motivated by a desire to reduce his or her child support. Parenting time schedules are not a one-size fits all device to be applied in the same manner to each case. To the contrary, the law requires a plan individually tailored to the best interests of each child.
Did you know that you do not have to move out of the marital residence unless ordered by the court?
Quite often, one or both spouses want to separate immediately upon the filing of a divorce. You may want to leave, or conversely you may want to your spouse to leave immediately. The law does not provide an automatic right to move out or kick your spouse out of the marital residence upon filing. Individual courts handle this situation differently. Moving out of the marital residence makes you vulnerable to many potential situations that need to be considered beforehand.
Courts will usually make the parties pay all marital expenses in proportion to their respective income. Therefore, if you move out and lease another residence, your budget may not accommodate the expenses of both households that the court may impose on you. This concern would not arise if you stayed in the marital residence.
The court will usually keep the children at the marital residence, especially if they are enrolled in school. Leaving the residence can harm your chances at temporary or permanent custody, and require child support payments. These concerns would not arise if you stayed in the marital residence.
Nonetheless, most courts will not remove one spouse unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Domestic violence, threats, harassment and abuse are commonly accepted reasons for spouse removal. If you are the victim of this type of misconduct it is important to thoroughly document each instance in order to have the best chance of the judge ordering your spouse out of the marital residence.
If you are considering moving out of the marital residence immediately after filing for divorce do not do so until after you have spoken to Chris Aiello. If you would like to have your spouse removed from the house, speak to Chris Aiello as well so that you are property advised and represented in your motion for exclusive use of the marital residence.
Give us a call at 586-303-2211 to schedule a free consultation.