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shutterstock_1413111914.jpgWhen two people who have children together get a divorce, one of the many aspects of the divorce proceedings is the determination of child custody. In Michigan, the Michigan Child Custody Act was established with the understanding that, in most cases, a child custody arrangement that is in a child's best interest will permit the child to maintain a relationship with each parent. 

Sometimes, parents can come to an agreement regarding child custody without the court’s intervention. With the guidance and assistance of their respective family law attorneys, both parents can seek to establish a custody agreement that they each deem fair, both to themselves and their child. 

However, there are some cases in which parents cannot come to an agreement on the custody of their child. When this happens, a trial may eventually be held, at which point a judge will make a determination on child custody concerns. There are typically three potential outcomes of a situation in which custody is decided on by a judge, those being joint custody, sole custody, and parenting time. 


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Oakland County Divorce LawyerA prenuptial or premarital agreement is a means by which individuals can protect any property that they respectively own prior to the marriage. Individuals who plan to marry also can use a prenuptial agreement to set forth certain rights and responsibilities, such as with respect to spousal support, in the event that they divorce in the future. While a prenuptial agreement may seem unromantic to some, it is a practical way to protect yourself financially, just in case things do not work out as planned. A properly executed prenuptial agreement also can eliminate future uncertainty, particularly if you are facing a second or subsequent marriage.

Requirements for Valid Prenuptial Agreement

In order to be valid under Michigan law, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing and voluntarily signed by both parties. Any subsequent modification or termination of a prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. While it is not required that either party be represented by an attorney in drafting of a prenuptial agreement, it is highly recommended that both parties consult with their own separate attorneys prior to signing any agreement. This step can help you greatly if one party later claims that the agreement is invalid. Finally, both parties must fully disclose all assets and debts at the time of the agreement. If one party fails to disclose property, the prenuptial agreement may be legally invalid.

Permissible Content for a Michigan Prenuptial Agreement

There are several different issues that you can address in a prenuptial agreement. For instance, you can address property and debts that each of you individually own prior to the marriage, to prevent them from being divided as marital property during your divorce. This is particularly helpful if you own a business prior to the marriage or have inherited substantial property.


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Oakland County Property Distribution LawyerMichigan is an equitable distribution (as opposed to community property) state. In a community property system, all marital property is divided right down the middle, regardless of contributions. Under equitable distribution, marital assets are divided up into just portions, taking many factors into consideration. This process includes a three-step process of identifying, valuing, and dividing the assets and liabilities.


The first step in division of assets in a divorce is identifying and classifying all the assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage. This is not always as straightforward as it sounds. This includes not only tangible assets such as homes, cars, bank accounts, and retirement funds, but also intangible assets such as business goodwill and household services.

Once identified, the asset must be classified as either marital or nonmarital property. Although most assets acquired during the marriage will likely be deemed as marital, there are some exceptions:


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Are Michigan Paternity Tests Accurate?

Posted on in Family Law

Oakland County Family Law AttorneyIt is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 paternity tests performed each year in this country to determine the identity of a child’s biological father. In order to make that determination, DNA tests are one of the most reliable and popular methods. Courts rely on DNA testing whenever there is any contesting of paternity, so it is critical for these tests to be accurate.

The DNA Testing Process

When a man is undergoing a paternity test, a small sample of their DNA is required, along with a DNA sample of the child. There are a number of different ways this DNA can be collected:

Farmington Hills Family Law AttorneyAlthough the goal may be to have the divorce process go smoothly and end with the desired outcome, the reality is that very few do, especially if there are children involved. Child custody is one of the most serious and emotional issues that a couple must address in their divorce and whatever the court’s final decision is will affect the child and parents for the rest of their lives.

Navigating Through the Court’s Decision

Many couples who have reached the point of ending their marriage are usually dealing with a severely deteriorated relationship. The ability to communicate with each other peacefully may be poor, while contention between the two may be high. Child custody and parenting time forces a couple to have to come together and reach a mutual understanding and be able to cooperate with each other to effectively co-parent. The irony is that these are often things that the couple were unable to do while married and this is why the relationship crumbled.

In some cases, one parent may feel the other parent is unfit and it is unsafe for the child to be in the parent’s care, regardless of what the court order says. The parent may wonder if they are able to refuse to allow any visitation between the child and the other parent. If you find yourself in this situation, it is critical to speak with your child custody attorney before you take these drastic steps. Your attorney can provide legal advice on whether there may be grounds to request the court modify custody or parenting time.


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