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Novi, MI child custody lawyerParenting is a job that never ends, even if you and your partner are no longer together. When you choose to get a divorce, you will likely need to create a joint custody arrangement, and both parents will typically have parenting time (sometimes referred to as visitation) with the children. Regardless of your child custody arrangements, it is important to provide a supportive and caring environment for your children--even if the divorce is not amicable. Adjusting to new parenting time arrangements can be difficult, but the following tips can help you and your child become accustomed to the changes.

1. Keep a Smile On

Parenting time should be a positive experience, especially for your children. Even if you and your ex do not get along, it is likely that you will still see them when picking up or dropping off children. During these times, it is important to avoid exposing your children to conflict. Refrain from arguing in front of the children or speaking negatively about your co-parent to them. If you have issues with your former spouse that you need to deal with, you should set up a different time and meeting place to discuss those issues when the children are not present.

2. Be On Time

Since you do not get to be with your children full-time, you need to make them your priority when you are with them. Make sure you are prompt when picking them up and try to reschedule any work calls that you may have during that time period. Make a calendar and share it with your former spouse so that there is no miscommunication about who will be taking care of the children.

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Novi, MI divorce attorneyThere are many potential causes for divorce, ranging from infidelity, constant arguments, or financial stress to a couple simply not liking each other anymore. Sometimes, the littlest things your partner does can turn into big problems, especially if they involve passive aggression and a lack of proper communication. But what if the actual cause for a relationship's breakdown was more than miscommunication and instead was neurologically-based? Studies have found that a condition known as misophonia can turn your partner’s pet peeves into your most irritating and unlivable nightmare.

Misophonia Explained

Misophonia is a neurological condition in which a person has an extreme reaction to everyday sounds. To many people with this condition, the most common annoyance is hearing another person chew their food; however, those with misophonia can be bothered by nail-biting, scratching, and even certain breathing noises. Slurping, sipping, and smacking are also irritable noises to those who suffer from the disease. This makes it difficult to enjoy dinner with one's partner or lay down next to them, especially if the natural noises a person makes lead to pain for reasons that are hard to understand.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, misophonia affects nearly 20% of the population. This number is likely low, since the condition is underdiagnosed. The exact cause of misophonia is unknown, but neuroscientists have a theory that it may involve an abnormal connection in the brain between the limbic system, autonomic nervous system, and auditory cortex. The limbic system controls emotions, the autonomic nervous system is in charge of flight or fight responses, and the auditory cortex controls hearing. Most people who have misophonia have extra sensitive hearing, causing their discomfort. 

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Can a Resistant Spouse Unreasonably Delay Divorce Proceedings?

Novi contested divorce attorneyMost people, once they have concluded that divorce is inevitable, want the whole process to be over and done with as quickly as possible. But what happens if one spouse tries to unreasonably delay the legal process? 

One spouse can definitely drag out divorce proceedings by contesting the divorce and endlessly dickering over settlement terms. But ultimately, they cannot stop a Michigan divorce from happening.  

Why a Spouse Might Try to Delay Divorce Proceedings

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Three Advantages of Being First to File for Divorce

Novi, MI divorce attorneyAre you thinking about a divorce, but are unsure if you want to be the one to actually start the legal process? This might tip you into action: The spouse who files for divorce first has several advantages over the other spouse.

1. Choosing the Court Location

When you file for divorce, you must do it in the state and county where you currently live. Suppose that you currently live in Oakland County, Michigan, and the person you are divorcing has recently moved to Illinois. If you file first, your divorce will be handled in the Oakland County court. But if your spouse files first, your divorce will be handled by a court in Illinois, which could prove very inconvenient for you. 

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Can Your Spouse Prevent Your Divorce by Refusing to Sign the Papers?

Farmington Hills divorce process attorneyIn the rom-com movie “Sweet Home Alabama,” Melanie (played by Reese Witherspoon) wants a divorce, but Jake (Josh Lucas) has refused to sign the papers for seven years. While Hollywood movies are not always known for their realism, this particular plot point may leave many wondering: could a resistant spouse really hold up a divorce proceeding for that long, just by refusing to sign a piece of paper?

In Michigan, you may be relieved to know, the short answer is “no.” If one spouse wants a divorce, the other spouse cannot prevent it. If your spouse refuses to participate in the process, your divorce can be finalized within a matter of months. 

Signatures Required for a Michigan Divorce

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Novi, MI divorce lawyer answering divorce summonsMost married people naturally assume that they will have some warning of marital problems--a discussion about marriage counseling, perhaps, or mention of a trial separation--before anyone actually takes legal action. Yet quite a few people are completely surprised when they are served with divorce papers. 

What should you do if your spouse files for divorce unexpectedly? Here are three things you can do after being served with Michigan divorce papers:

1. Give Yourself a Little Breathing Space

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Farmington Hills divorce lawyer, Michigan divorce, business and divorce, parenting time agreements, estate planning and divorceFirst marriages tend to be colored by the innocent blush of first love and all the fun of planning a big wedding and choosing cakes, dresses, dinner menus, and flowers. Second marriages, on the other hand, are often shaded with more doubts and concerns, particularly on the financial front. Consider the following issues that second-marriage partners should discuss, sooner rather than later.

Obligations Related to Prior Marriages

It is not uncommon for one or both partners in a second-marriage situation to have debts, child support, and/or spousal support obligations from a prior marriage. Remarriage may also be a reason to revisit and possibly modify modify support obligations and parenting time agreements, particularly if the remarriage also involves a change of residence and/or job.

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Farmington Hills divorce lawyer, Michigan divorce, pets and divorce, Michigan divorce law, pet custodyHow deep is the relationship between people and their pets? Just consider some of the terms you hear these days: Pet parents, dog mom, even grand-dog. Additionally, most of us have seen at least one car window with a sticker saying “Fur Babies on Board” or “My dog is smarter than your honor student.” 

National statistics back up the bumper stickers. A 2016 survey reported that 68 percent of U.S. households have at least one pet (a figure which has been trending upward for over two decades), and 84 percent of pet owners now think of themselves as pet parents rather than pet owners. 

Therefore, not surprisingly, “Who gets the pets?” has become an increasingly contentious issue in divorces, as emotions over pets can run high, even in an otherwise uncontested divorce. Devoted pet parents may be shocked to learn that virtually all state divorce laws still treat pets as mere property to be divided, like a TV and the lawn mower. However, this is beginning to change.

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child support payments, parenting time, Farmington Hills family law attorney, Michigan family law trends, Michigan divorceWhen working through a divorce, it is common to feel lonely and wonder how you will cope on your own. Moreover, if you have children to care for, worrying about how you will manage the new complexities of divided childcare costs and parenting time is natural.

While every family’s situation is unique, stepping back and looking at statewide outcomes and trends can provide a helpful perspective. 

Michigan Marriage and Divorce Numbers

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Farmington Hills divorce lawyer, Michigan divorce, Michigan State Disbursement Unit, circuit courts, parenting disputesDivorcing couples with minor children will quickly become familiar with multiple government agencies, including:

  • The Family Division of the circuit court in the county where the divorce is filed;
  • The Friend of the Court (FOC) office in that county; and
  • The Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU).

These three government units each play an important role in ensuring that Michigan children of unmarried/divorced parents receive the best possible care and financial support. Consider the following simple overview to help you understand the role that these agencies will play during and after your divorce.

The Family Division of the Local Circuit Court

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Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
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