Family Law Topics
Stancati, Hencken & Greenlee, P.C. is the premier law firm in Southwest Michigan with over 50 years of experience in family and divorce law. We believe the responsibilities and rights that come with family relationships are sacred and deserve protection. For over four decades, our experienced divorce attorneys have established a legacy of trust and success when our clients are dealing with some of life's most painful challenges. The information below should provide answers to questions concerning the typical issues that surround divorce in family law cases.
Understanding Custody Of Minor Children
If contested, parenting time and custody can be the most significant issue in a divorce. Generally, the primary dispute revolves around establishing parenting time with the minor children. While Joint custody can work and is common, in certain circumstances, this may not be in the best interest of the minor children. In the case of joint custody, the children have two legal residences that cannot be moved more than 100 miles from the other without consent. The other two primary issues that typically arise are legal custody and child support. Legal custody is the ability to make decisions regarding a minor child’s medical care or schooling, these decisions are usually made jointly between parents. When child support is at issue, the court will make a determination based on parental income, the amount of overnight time spent with each parent, and according to the Michigan Child Support formula.
Determining Grandparenting Time
Under certain circumstances, grandparents can request a court order to allow for their own parenting time. This happens when a parent will not allow grandparents to see their grandchildren. This may occur in situations where legal custody has been given to someone other than a parent, or when the child’s parent who is a child of the grandparents has died.
In the situation where a child is born, but the parents are not married, paternity needs to be legally established. There are many complexities surrounding the establishment of paternity, especially when relations between the parents are hostile. It is important that both parents understand the legal documentation involved and speak with a qualified attorney.
Discussing Spousal Support
Spousal support, or alimony, is awarded in Michigan when marital property is divided, and one party cannot sufficiently support themselves. If the Court determines that the other person has the ability to pay, then an award based on necessity, or an award of a fixed amount may be made.
Understanding Prenuptial Vs. Postnuptial Agreements
It is important to have an attorney with experience in contracts who can adequately review or draft an enforceable prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements are made prior to marriage, while postnuptial agreements are made during separation or divorce. Both types of contracts require full disclosure of assets.
Determining Property Division
Courts must divide marital property and debt equitably, which is not the same as equally. In general, only property that came to the parties during the life of the marriage will be divided. Property is considered separate if it was owned prior to the marriage and has not been commingled.
If you are going through or contemplating divorce, we encourage you to schedule an appointment and let our highly experienced attorneys review your case and recommend the best legal course of action.