Elkouri Heath, PLC

248-344-9700

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

Oakland County separate maintenance lawyerThere are a variety of reasons why marriages break down or fail, leading couples to pursue a divorce. However, this will legally terminate a couple’s marriage, which is an irrevocable step that some couples may not be ready to take. In many cases, couples choose to have a trial separation while they determine whether they can repair their relationship, or they may wish to remain married for religious or cultural reasons. 

Those who want to begin separating from their spouse but do not yet want to get divorced may be considering a legal separation. The laws in Michigan refer to this type of situation as “separate maintenance,” and couples will need to understand the procedures followed in these cases and the legal issues that may affect them.

Understanding Separate Maintenance

If a person is looking to separate from their partner while remaining legally married, they can file a complaint for separate maintenance. This complaint is similar to a petition for divorce, and as with a divorce petition, it will state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. After being served with a complaint for separate maintenance, the other spouse can admit or deny the grounds cited, or they can file a counterclaim for divorce and begin the process of legally ending their marriage.

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Farmington Hills family law attorney paternity

All children have two biological parents, but these individuals will not always be considered the child’s legal parents. If a mother is unmarried when her child is born, she and the child’s other parent will need to take steps to establish paternity in Michigan. Doing so can not only provide a child with a sense of identity and belonging, but it can also provide the child and the parents with a number of other legal benefits.

How Is Paternity Established in Michigan?

If a mother is married when her child is born, her spouse will be the legal parent of the child. If the mother got divorced within 10 months before her child was born, her ex-spouse will be the child’s legal parent. Typically, in situations where the mother is unmarried, the child’s father will not be recognized as a legal parent until paternity is established.

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Novi child support lawyer2020 has been a hard year for everybody. Even if you or your loved ones have not become sick, the COVID-19 pandemic has likely affected your life in multiple ways. Because of business closures, reductions in working hours, or health concerns, many people have lost their jobs or have had to deal with issues that resulted in the loss of income. If you are struggling financially, you may find yourself unable to meet your child support obligations. If this is the case, you will want to determine how you can avoid legal issues that may affect your relationship with your children and your ongoing financial security.

Consequences for Non-Payment of Child Support

Once a child support order is issued as part of a divorce or family law case, you will be required to make all payments on time and in full. If you do not pay child support as ordered, a variety of enforcement actions could be taken against you. The amount owed may be collected by garnishing your wages or withholding other forms of income, including unemployment payments, workers’ compensation, or Social Security disability. Your future tax refunds could be intercepted, or liens could be placed on your property. Your non-payment will also be reported to credit agencies, causing your credit score to go down.

Failure to pay child support could also result in being held in civil contempt of court. This could lead to penalties such as the suspension of your driver’s license or a professional license, the denial of a U.S. passport, or even time in prison. Your case may also be referred to a criminal prosecutor, and you may be charged with the felony offense of non-support. If you are convicted of these charges, you could face imprisonment for up to four years and fines of up to $2,000.

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Oakland County family law attorney adoption

There are many reasons why a person or a couple may choose to adopt a child. Parents may be unable to have children biologically, or they may simply want to pursue other options for expanding their family. Adoption can also be a way to provide a loving home and supportive environment for a child who needs it. In the state of Michigan, there are thousands of children in the foster care system who are waiting to be adopted. Parents who are looking to adopt a child may want to ensure they meet all of the necessary requirements, and they can work with a family law attorney to address any legal issues that may arise.

Foster Child Adoption Requirements

In many cases, children who are in the foster care system are temporarily placed in the homes of foster parents, with the goal of reuniting them with their birth parent(s). However, there are some situations where parental rights are terminated, and these foster children will be looking for adoptive parents who will assume permanent legal guardianship and responsibility for them.

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5 Tips for Adjusting to a Blended Family After a Michigan AdoptionAdopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a person’s life. In many cases, adoption gives a loving, safe home to a child in need. Some couples who cannot have biological children of their own may choose to adopt. Other spouses may decide they would like to expand their family through adoption, even if they already have kids of their own. Having siblings can be a wonderful way to grow up. However, there can be a period of adjustment for everyone involved. The following are a few ways to ease the transition for parents and children alike. It is also important to enlist the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney to make your dream come true.   

Creating a Sense of Belonging

Although it is a very exciting time in your life, adopting can also be challenging, especially if your adopted child will be welcomed to your home by new siblings. Here is some practical advice on how to alleviate some of the stress on all family members: 

  1. Include Your Current Children in the Process: Depending on the age of your biological children, they may or may not understand the process your family is embarking on. Talk to them in an age-appropriate language that will help them make sense of the changes that are about to take place and how they will impact their daily routine. 
  2. Gather as Much Information as Possible: Obtain as many details as you can on your adopted child’s medical history, as well as his or her ethnic background. Explain these differences to your children and try to incorporate any cultural traditions into your family.
  3. Beware of Playing Favorites: As a parent, it is important to avoid favoritism with any of your kids. Special treatment of either your adopted child or your biological kids is not fair to anyone. Similarly, disciplining should be consistent for every child. 
  4. Acknowledge Birth Order: Consider that older or younger children may feel some resentment or jealousy if they are no longer the oldest or youngest. It will take time for everyone to get used to their “new normal” after adding another family member, so try not to rush it. Allow your kids to share their feelings by having an open mind and listening.
  5. Seek Family Therapy or Counseling: If any of your children are acting out as a result of the adoption, it might be a wise investment to talk to professionals in child or family counseling. A social worker, family therapist, or adoption specialist can guide your family through this new transition. 

Contact a Farmington Hills Adoption Lawyer

Adoption can be a long and complicated process, but it is worth it in the end. If you are considering adopting a child, it is crucial that you hire an experienced legal team to ensure you complete all the required steps. The distinguished law firm of Elkouri Heath, PLC, has been providing families in southeast Michigan with quality legal services for more than 20 years. We have assisted numerous clients on both sides of family adoption proceedings. Our dedicated Novi, MI, family law attorneys are adept at navigating the adoption process in a thorough and efficient manner. Call our office today at 248-244-9700 to schedule your free consultation.

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