Elkouri Heath, PLC

248-344-9700

39555 Orchard Hill Place, Suite 215, Novi, MI 48375

Novi family law attorneyThe vast majority of people in Michigan will eventually get married, and, consequently, a significant number of these people will also get divorced. Because couples are now older before their first marriage, many are getting savvier about ways to protect themselves in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement is one of the best ways to do this - but before a prenup can be created and signed, a couple needs to know that they share priorities. Here are five important conversations to have before you create a prenup and get married in Michigan. 

Kids

Whether or not you want kids may not be foremost on your mind while you are wedding planning, but wanting children will change the way you plan for the future. How you manage your finances, the decisions you make about your career, and the places you choose to live are all influenced by this major decision. 

Finances

Couples often get divorced over their financial differences, which tend to be consistent throughout the course of a marriage. It is important to talk about your underlying values around money, such as whether you prefer to save or spend extra cash. This can influence your career discussions, too - whether you prioritize earning a higher income or having more free time can cause conflict between you and your spouse. 

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Michigan adoption lawyerFor many years, only married adults in heterosexual relationships could adopt in Michigan. To the tremendous benefit of children and adoptive parents alike, society’s notions of what constitutes a family have expanded significantly in recent years, along with legal protections that enshrine those notions. For single adults living in Michigan who are looking to adopt, the good news is that you can qualify to adopt just as a married couple could. However, it is important to consider whether you meet the criteria to adopt and how adoption and parenthood could change your life forever. 

What Do I Need to Do Before I Adopt a Child?  

The individual needs of each child will differ as they grow and develop, but certain criteria must be met before an adult can adopt a child of any age. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Completing an adoption licensing application
  • Completing background checks for yourself and any other adult who lives in your home
  • Providing medical statements for yourself and any other household member 
  • Passing an environmental inspection and on-site visits by a social worker
  • Providing three references 
  • Having adequate bedroom space, which can change depending on the age of the child 

Can I Adopt if I Am an Unmarried Parent? 

More and more, unmarried individuals who cannot or prefer not to seek a spouse are choosing to raise children on their own. For children without parents, this expanding conception of what family can look like means an increase in adoptions and placement in a forever home. Unmarried men and women who are already parents can add to the love in their homes by adopting another child. 

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Oakland County child custody attorneyMuch of the stigma surrounding mental illness has disappeared in recent years, thanks in large part to better education, greater awareness, and improved treatment options. Most mental illnesses can be managed with medication and therapy well enough that people can enjoy normal and productive lives. 

Mental illness, however, can still be a major challenge in a marriage, and someone with mental illness may fear that their condition could make it difficult for them to get custody of their children in a divorce. Fortunately, mental illness alone cannot prevent a parent from caring for their children; however, failing to treat a mental illness can lead to behaviors that may jeopardize custody arrangements. 

Does a Court Have to Know About My Mental Illness? 

If a spouse’s mental illness has caused problems in a marriage, it is likely to come up during divorce proceedings. Trying to hide mental illness, especially by avoiding treatment, is not a good idea and may lead a judge to worry that the spouse who suffers from mental illness is not taking it seriously. Judges are generally reluctant to deprive a parent of total contact with a child unless that parent presents a clear danger to the child; unfortunately, certain mental illnesses that are left untreated do have the potential to put a child in danger. 

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Oakland County parenting plan lawyerCreating an agreement about parenting time is a difficult but important part of a Michigan divorce involving minor children. While trying to negotiate and compromise with an ex can bring up old resentments and personal differences, working hard to create a great parenting plan during divorce can pay off by exposing parents and children to significantly less conflict in the future. Many different factors will influence how parents create their parenting time plan and it can be difficult to think of or keep track of them all. Here are seven things to consider while making your Michigan parenting time plan. 

Factors Affecting a Michigan Parenting Time Plan

  • Your child’s friends - How a parenting time plan affects your child’s ability to see their friends can greatly affect the child’s happiness and willingness to visit one parent or another. If a child feels isolated from their friend group when they are with one parent, they may be more reluctant to spend time together. 
  • Your child’s extracurricular activities - Getting a child to and from extracurricular activities can present a challenge, especially when both parents are working. Although extracurricular schedules can vary from semester to semester or year to year, try to create a flexible plan that allows your child to pursue their interests from both parents’ households. 
  • Your ability to provide care - While your first instinct may be to get as much parenting time as possible, remember that single parenthood is a lot of work. Be realistic about your schedule, abilities, and patience, and try not to overcommit yourself. 
  • Grandparents - Grandparents can play a major role in a child’s life. A great parenting plan will ensure a child does not lose access to their grandparents and may even allow the grandparents to provide much-needed childcare. 
  • Transportation concerns - Getting a child between two households can be a lot of work. Try to plan around busy commute times, work schedules, and your child’s school in such a way that transportation is not a constant headache. 
  • Siblings - Siblings will not necessarily share parenting time schedules, so consider how having older or younger siblings in different households could affect each child’s happiness and wellbeing. 
  • Breastfeeding - Try to be flexible and understand that your child’s other parent needs to bond with the infant as much as you do, and that the parenting time schedule may need to be updated from time to time as the child grows. 

Call a Novi Parenting Time Attorney

At Elkouri Heath, PLC, we have helped many parents work through even the most difficult divorce scenarios to create parenting time plans that meet their family’s unique needs. If you are getting divorced and want help from an experienced Oakland County parenting time lawyer, schedule a free, confidential consultation with our team. Call us now at 248-344-9700 to learn more about how we may be able to help. 

 

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Michigan postnuptial agreement lawyerOnce the excitement of a wedding has worn off, married couples in Michigan must begin the difficult process of successfully building a life together. While a prenuptial agreement may have been overlooked or deemed unnecessary before a wedding, the idea of a legal agreement that protects spouses in the event of separation, divorce, or death may become more appealing once the marriage has already begun. 

If a couple is already married, it is too late to sign a prenuptial agreement. But there is another option that may be just as useful - a postnuptial agreement. Just like a prenup, a postnup can protect a couple from conflict when major marital disagreements arise. And, like a prenup, a postnup requires transparency, fairness, and a willingness to look out for your partner’s wellbeing into the future. If you have already gotten married and are interested in learning more about a postnuptial agreement, a Michigan family law attorney may be able to help. 

Postnuptial Agreements in Michigan

In the past, there has been some concern that postnuptial agreement may fail to protect the sanctity of marriage by allowing a married couple to divide their debts and assets after they have already gotten married. In this way, it may make the decision to get divorced easier. 

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