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Novi Co-Parenting LawyersThe process of divorce can be difficult for everyone involved. Spouses will need to address many different concerns, and in addition to resolving legal issues, they will need to separate their finances and determine new living arrangements. At the same time, children can struggle to adjust to the changes in their lives after their parents split. To ensure that children's needs will be met after a divorce, parents will need to try to put their differences aside as much as possible and prioritize the best interests of their children.

Co-parenting is not always easy, but with dedication, cooperation, and positive communication, it is possible to raise happy and healthy children after a divorce. If you are in this situation, the following tips may help you work together with your ex to effectively co-parent your children:

Keep the Communication Lines Open

Effective communication is key to a successful co-parenting arrangement. It is essential to keep each other informed of your children's needs, their daily activities, and updates on changes in their lives. You can make an effort to discuss things related to your children's education, health, and extracurricular activities while working together to make decisions on important matters. Good communication will help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, and it can ensure that your children will feel loved and supported by both parents.


Novi Divorce AttorneyGetting a divorce can be challenging for anyone. Separating from your spouse will involve many different financial considerations, as well as practical concerns about living arrangements and ownership of property. These issues can become even more complicated if you are a business owner. When you, your spouse, or other parties have built a family business together, determining how to protect the business as you divide your marital assets can be difficult. By understanding your options and working with an attorney to negotiate agreements, you can find solutions that will protect your financial interests and allow for ongoing success after your divorce is complete.

What Happens if One Spouse Wants to Maintain Sole Ownership of a Business?

A spouse who has been the primary manager of a family business may wish to continue owning and operating the business after getting divorced. However, if the business was founded or acquired during the marriage, the other spouse will be entitled to a fair share of the business’s value. In these cases, it is important to have the business valuation performed by a professional who can provide an objective assessment of the business’s worth. Once the value is established, you and your spouse can work with your attorneys to negotiate a fair settlement that will allow one spouse to own the business, while the other spouse receives other marital assets of an equivalent value.

What Happens if Both Spouses Want to Maintain Control of the Business?

If you and your spouse have been closely involved in a family business that has provided income for both of you, neither of you may be willing to walk away and pursue other opportunities. In some cases, it may be possible to divide ownership and control of the business, with each spouse assuming a different role in the company while sharing decision-making responsibilities. If you and your spouse are unable to reach agreements that will allow you to co-own a family business, you may choose to sell the business and divide the profits earned as part of your divorce settlement.


Oakland County Divorce AttorneyDivorce can be expensive and stressful, but mediation can offer a cost-effective solution for couples seeking to dissolve their marriage. In Michigan, mediation can save money and help you reach a fair and equitable outcome without breaking the bank. Here is how:

Understanding Mediation in Michigan

Mediation is a fantastic option for couples looking to resolve issues such as child custody, property division, and spousal support amicably without litigation. By facilitating open communication between both parties by a neutral third party (the mediator), any agreement can be mutually agreed upon without making decisions for the other. This process often leads to better outcomes than traditional divorce proceedings, enabling couples to divide their assets with mutual understanding instead of hostility.

Cost Savings of Mediation in Michigan

Divorcing couples can save significant money by opting for mediation rather than traditional litigation. Instead of bearing the weight of two separate legal fees, court costs, and other expenses, they only need to cover their mediator’s price, which is usually split between both parties. Mediation typically takes far less time than regular divorce proceedings saving even higher costs.


Farmington Hills Divorce LawyerDivorce proceedings can be complex, and the division of assets is often a contentious issue. In Michigan, the law requires an equitable distribution of marital property, which means the assets must be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Unfortunately, some spouses try to hide assets to avoid sharing them. In this blog post, we will discuss how to uncover hidden assets in a Michigan divorce and how you can protect your rights throughout the process.

Understanding Michigan’s Equitable Distribution Laws

Under Michigan’s equitable distribution laws, the court will divide marital property as it deems fair and just. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, such as real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts, and debt. Separate property, which is acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts, is usually not subject to division. Keep in mind that while this state is typically considered an equitable distribution state, there are some cases where the judge will decide one party gets more than the other. This scenario usually occurs when one partner may be more at fault than the other, so they would receive fewer assets. 

Common Techniques for Hiding Assets

Unscrupulous spouses may use various tactics to hide assets, including:


Novi Family Law AttorneyWhen a child’s parents decide to end their marriage or nonmarital romantic relationship in Michigan, the courts insist upon formalizing a child custody order. Co-parents are also generally required to construct and adhere to a parenting plan that will govern their shared parenting arrangements.

Although most parents who choose to remain active in their kids’ lives opt for a joint custody arrangement, some families benefit from a joint legal/sole physical or a sole custody order. If a non-custodial parent wishes to remain bonded with their child under these circumstances, they may be granted unsupervised or supervised parenting time, depending on whatever arrangement has been deemed in service of a child’s best interests.

Regardless of how a child’s custody order and parenting plan are structured, one or both of these legally-enforceable orders can be modified under certain circumstances.


Oakland County Family Law AttorneyMillions of American adults log on to various social media platforms daily. These resources serve a host of purposes, including keeping loved ones connected. As a result, you might not think twice about posting information about your family law case online. You may find that doing so is a great way to vent and/or to receive feedback from people whom you trust and respect. However, it is potentially going to be very important that you exercise great caution on social media until your case has been fully resolved.

Your Social Media Activity Could Be Used Against You

In the event that your family law case becomes contentious, your spouse and/or your child’s other parent could use your pictures, posts, and engagement activity to undermine the strength of your case. As you are likely aware, social media activity can easily be misinterpreted and used to misrepresent someone’s circumstances or intentions.

It is now a common legal tactic for attorneys to scroll social media feeds for information that can be used on behalf of their clients. Even seemingly mundane activity – a picture of you on a date or a post detailing why you are finding the divorce process to be so frustrating – could be used to undermine your position.


Oakland County Divorce LawyerDivorce is a highly personal process. Therefore, it is not surprising that people approach this life transition in unique ways. Some individuals only care about getting a specific child custody order and care little – if at all – about how the rest of their divorce case shakes out. Others are determined to hold on to specific assets. Still others are willing to be flexible as long as their final property division arrangement fairly divides the value of their marital estate.  

There is no “right” way to navigate your own divorce process. Whether you are hoping to keep your divorce negotiations amicable or you are willing to dig your heels in to get what you want, only you can truly know what is worth fighting for as that “fight” pertains to your values, priorities, needs, and overall circumstances.

Thoughtful Considerations

The most important thing you can do when preparing to navigate your property division situation – whether your divorce is going to be resolved collaboratively or contentiously – is to craft your process thoughtfully. Otherwise, you will be more likely to make decisions that are driven primarily by emotion, as opposed to those that are driven by a desire to safeguard your future well-being.


Farmington Hills Family Law AttorneyCo-parenting is a unique challenge. It combines all the stress of a business partnership with all of the sensitive realities of family. As a result, it can be truly difficult to co-parent in ways that both honor the best interests of your children and prevent you from wanting to scream into a pillow at regular intervals.

Thankfully, co-parenting in the Digital Age is easier in many ways than it has been traditionally. As a result of numerous electronic resources, co-parents can communicate in effective, meaningful, and consistent ways without having to get on the phone with one another or regularly meet face-to-face. When you are thinking about ways to make your co-parenting situation more manageable, consider integrating some popular apps into your communication approach.

Which Apps Might Work Best for You?

Some apps are specifically designed to facilitate effective co-parent communication. WeParent, FamCal, ParentShip, 2Houses, and OurFamilyWizard were each designed with co-parents in mind. Their various features facilitate single-platform messaging and record keeping, calendar sharing, and a host of other resources that co-parents may find to be uniquely useful when trying to “keep each other in the loop” while avoiding unnecessary interaction and/or tension.


Novi legal separation attorneyFor a variety of reasons, when a married couple is struggling to make their relationship work, it does not always make sense for one of them to file for divorce. However, if a couple’s struggles are significant enough, separating from one another may be a healthy option. By legally formalizing their separation, each spouse can benefit from numerous protections as they contemplate whether divorce, reconciliation, or long-term legal separation is the best way forward.

Separate Maintenance: The Basics

In Michigan, the state recognizes a formal separation through the separate maintenance process. Separate maintenance functions like the “legal separation” process does in other states. Without formal recognition of a couple’s separation, each spouse could remain uniquely vulnerable to the practical, financial, and legal consequences of the other’s conduct. Additionally, formalizing a separation can allow couples to detail child custody, child support, and spousal support obligations in legally-enforceable ways.

Essentially, a separate maintenance case allows spouses to benefit from most of the arrangements that are typically finalized during a divorce. Parents can formalize child custody, parenting time, and child support arrangements, and spouses with or without kids can address asset and debt division concerns and formalize spousal support expectations via this process.  


novi child custody lawyerNot all child custody disputes can be resolved amicably. Sometimes, a history of domestic violence or mental health challenges renders a negotiation-based approach unworkable. Other times, parents simply have fundamentally different ideas about where their children should reside or how they should be raised.

Under these circumstances, the judge assigned to a particular child custody dispute will be called upon to decide how the matter should be resolved. In every state in the U.S., regardless of nuanced state law that applies to custody scenarios, judges are required to resolve contentious child custody questions by applying the “best interests of the child” standard.

Application of the Standard

This standard compels judges to consider – first and foremost – which competing argument would best serve an affected child’s interests. This is a noble aim. However, the standard itself is subjective. Each judge who reviews a child custody dispute is going to be influenced by their own conscious and subconscious biases about what children need and will benefit from.


Oakland County child custody lawyerIn Michigan, February is the month that most residents start thinking about summer. The cold has defined life for long enough that dreams of hot summer days start to preoccupy the minds of many. Daydreaming is a healthy stress reliever. Yet, there is another important reason to start thinking about summer now if you are a coparent. A failure to be proactive now could impact your summer months for the worse.

Summer Is a Unique Time

Whether you are currently navigating a separation, a divorce, or your child custody order has been in place for some time, it is important to consider how your coparenting approaches may need to be modified during the summer months. The best interests of your child or children likely manifest in different ways during the summer than they do during the school year. Carefully considering either how to craft a parenting plan for the summer or whether your current order needs to be modified in February will better ensure that a healthy, manageable arrangement is in place by the time that summer rolls around.

Summertime Considerations

The supreme standard that governs child custody matters in Michigan is the “best interests of the child” standard. When contemplating how to approach this upcoming summer, scrutinize whether your plans reflect the spirit of this standard. Could your child genuinely benefit from more time with you or your coparent? Have their passions and interests been given adequate consideration? Are their social needs being met?


Novi divorce lawyerIt is not always easy to know whether it makes more sense to file for legal separation or to file for divorce when spouses are struggling to find a way forward together. All too often, spouses who are navigating this challenge are under the impression that they have to resolve this situation without assistance. In reality, connecting with an attorney proactively can help each spouse to make informed decisions about their options.

Oftentimes, thinking critically about a few key questions can provide spouses with mental and emotional clarity. Discussing their situation with an attorney can provide clarity of both legal and practical varieties. Here are just a few of the key questions you may want to consider if you are unsure of whether to file for legal separation or divorce at this point in your relationship.

Are You More Concerned About the Stresses of Divorce or the Stresses of an Ongoing Union? 

Very understandably, many couples shy away from filing for divorce because they are concerned about how the stresses of the divorce process will affect everyone involved. Sometimes, these concerns can serve as a “gut check” regarding one’s own desires.


Novi child custody attorneysIf you and your child’s other parent are going your separate ways but will both remain active parents to your child, it is time to construct a parenting time schedule and a parenting time plan. These parenting time resources will help you to clarify when your child will spend time with each of you, how you will address certain co-parenting responsibilities, and how you will both remain connected to your child when they are not residing with you.

Remaining connected and invested in each other’s lives is important, no matter how often your child resides with each parent. In the Digital Age, many co-parents are finding that including so-called “virtual visitation” provisions in their parenting time plans can help to facilitate consistent communication and connection.

What Is Virtual Visitation? 

Virtual visitation can be accomplished by engaging in any form of electronic communication that is developmentally appropriate for your child. You can talk on the phone, send emails, text, play video game apps as “friends,” utilize a video call app, or even record stories that your co-parent can play when your child is falling asleep.


Novi divorce attorneysIf you and your spouse have decided to dissolve your marriage, you are currently facing a number of mental, emotional, social, practical, financial, and legal challenges. It is important to understand your rights as a divorcing spouse, as this context can help to ensure that you make informed decisions throughout your divorce process.

For example, in Michigan, you are entitled to an asset division settlement that is “equitable.” Equitable does not necessarily mean equal. In equal distribution states, the value of a couple’s marital property must be divided 50/50. In Michigan, the value of a couple’s marital estate may be divided in any way that is truly fair. As a result, it is important to clarify what fairness means within the context of your unique marital circumstances.

Equitable Distribution

In Michigan, property acquired during a couple’s marriage is generally treated as marital property. By contrast, separate property belongs to one spouse only, either because they owned the property prior to marriage or because some exception to the general classification of marital property applies. All of the assets and liabilities that make up a couple’s jointly-owned assets and debts are considered elements of their overall marital estate.


Oakland County parenting plan attorneysIn Michigan, a parenting time schedule and a parenting time plan are both ordinarily included as elements of a child custody order. When parents agree on the terms of their parenting time plans, their attorneys assist them with finalizing and formalizing these terms before they are submitted to the court for approval. If parents cannot agree to these terms, a judge will be called upon to order whatever arrangement they believe is in the affected child’s best interests.

If you and your child’s other parent need to craft workable parenting time plans, there are a few solid tips that you will want to consider. If you hope to reach an agreement, you can work through this process together with the help of your attorneys. If your child custody situation is contentious, your attorney can help you craft terms that reflect your child’s best interests so that your proposal is more likely to be viewed favorably by the judge assigned to your case.

Parenting Time Schedule vs. Parenting Time Plan

Your parenting time schedule will indicate when your child will be with you and when they will be with their other parent. Your parenting time plan will outline the “nitty gritty details” of how your co-parenting arrangement will work. You can address virtually any issue in a parenting time plan, from who will be responsible for paying extracurricular fees to whether you and your co-parent must reach a mutual agreement before your child can pierce their ears.


Novi divorce lawyerMore couples begin seeking legal assistance with initiating the divorce process in January than they do during any other month. Because it takes time to process initial divorce-related paperwork, the number of divorce cases filed with courts in Michigan and throughout the country ultimately hit their peak for the year in March.

There are a variety of reasons why January has widely come to be known as “divorce month.” Parents of minors generally avoid filing for divorce during mid-to-late summer because they do not want to disrupt the start of the school year. Then, they hold off during the start of the year and into the holidays for the sake of their kids. Couples without kids often avoid filing for divorce during the fall months and into the holiday season to spare their loved ones excessive stress as well.

If you are thinking about filing for divorce now that the New Year has dawned, you will want to carefully consider how you will approach this process. Your approach will inform everything from how you will go about dividing your marital assets to how much you are likely to incur in legal fees.


Oakland County child custody lawyerCustody disputes between divorced or separated parents can be heated, and not only for the parents. Sometimes children have strong preferences about their living arrangements and may express those preferences, much to the disappointment or surprise of either parent. If you are engaged in a custody dispute in Michigan and are wondering whether your child has the authority to choose whether they live with one parent or the other, read this brief overview of the topic and then contact a Michigan child custody attorney who can help. 

How Old Does a Child Need to Be Before They Can Choose Which Parent They Live With? 

Ultimately, a child needs to be 18 before they can make any final decisions about where to live. However, Michigan law does allow the preferences of a child to be considered as one factor in custody decisions. However, it is only one factor out of many.

Other factors include: 


Novi divorce attorneysDivorce is full of challenges and frustrations, and for most couples, asset division is one of these. For spouses who own or manage a professional practice, the idea of dividing something so intimately connected with one’s own labor, ability, and identity may feel insulting. Nevertheless, Michigan law requires all marital assets to be divided, and professional practices are rarely excluded from these. If you are a dentist, psychologist, physician, attorney, consultant, or any other professional who has their own company, read on and then contact a Michigan divorce attorney for assistance with your case. 

Is My Professional Practice Marital Property? 

Professional practices are built carefully with years of effort. Often, even if only one spouse is involved in working with a professional practice, both spouses have contributed to the worth and development of the practice over the years. This is especially true if one spouse worked while the professional spouse pursued an education and got their business off the ground. Practices begun after a couple is already married are considered marital property in Michigan. 

Even if a practice was opened before the spouses got married, any increase in the value of that practice is usually marital property, even if the other spouse was hardly involved in the practice. Having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may protect one spouse’s exclusive ownership of a professional practice, but not always. 


Novi divorce lawyerDividing virtually any type of assets and debts is a difficult part of any divorce, and real estate ownership is no exception. Both spouses generally make strong claims to ownership of marital property and real estate can be unique among other assets because a family has often lived and created memories within a home, making it more valuable than just its market value. When both partners want to keep a home, or any other category of real estate, what happens? Read this blog to learn more about how real estate is handled in Michigan divorces and then contact an experienced divorce attorney who can help you manage your asset division case. 

How Are Marital Assets Divided in Michigan? 

Before real estate or any other asset owned by either spouse can be divided, it has to be part of the marital estate. If one spouse owned a home or any other real estate before getting married, that property may not be considered marital property, depending on how it was managed during the marriage. Spouses may also have prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that dictate how assets are handled in the event of a divorce. Categorizing marital vs. personal property can be a complex area of negotiation all by itself. 

Once spouses agree on what is part of the marital estate and what is individual property, Michigan law requires the marital assets to be divided fairly. Sometimes this means each spouse gets something close to a 50/50 split, but not always; a spouse’s individual contributions and needs, among other factors, affect the final distribution. 


Novi divorce attorneyA huge number and variety of studies exist that illustrate the negative impact a divorce can have on children. Children who are subject to parental conflict, domestic abuse, or neglect during divorce often suffer from negative lifelong consequences, including higher rates of criminal behavior, teen pregnancy, and high school dropout rates. However, with the proper attention and care, parents can prevent their children from being exposed to the most negative aspects of divorce. While you can never control or predict your child’s reaction entirely, there are steps you can take to minimize their difficulties. Here are three experts who can help you manage child-related issues during a divorce. 

Guardian ad Litem

Some very high-conflict divorces require children to have legal representatives of their own. If a guardian ad litem is assigned to your case, or if you hire a guardian ad litem on your own, it is important to understand their role. A guardian ad litem will interview you, your child, your child’s other parent, plus any other adult who can provide helpful information. Furthermore, they will investigate any accusations of child abuse or neglect. They may create a report for a judge or testify in court as to what they think is in the best interests of the child and will advocate on behalf of the child for their needs to be met.

Child Psychologist

It can be difficult to know what your child is thinking and feeling during divorce. After all, their behavior will not necessarily be indicative of their inner emotions; lashing out violently at school, for example, may really be a reflection of inner turmoil and panic at the idea of having separated parents. A child psychologist can help you and your child deal with complex emotions and behaviors stemming from anxiety about the divorce process, offering insight and solutions. 

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