Family Law: Common Questions And Answers
Anyone about to go through a divorce is likely to have far more questions than answers. With such a major life change on the horizon, this is perfectly understandable. Below, we have provided answers to some of the most common family law questions that our attorneys receive. After you read through this page, please feel free to contact us with questions of your own.
Does it matter which family law attorney I choose? What should I look for?
The attorney you choose definitely matters, and it is especially important in family law cases. A divorce or child custody dispute is intensely emotional and highly personal. You will be working closely and vulnerably with your attorney, so he or she should be someone you can trust and feel comfortable opening up to.
If you are not a native English speaker and you feel more comfortable conversing in a different language, it may be a good idea to hire an attorney who speaks that language. You want to get rid of as many communication barriers as possible.
How does custody work in Michigan? Do courts discriminate against dads or moms?
You may have heard stories from certain fathers that courts “always” award custody to mothers, or from certain mothers saying that courts are biased against moms. These are anecdotal observations made by people with bad experiences.
There is no bias – in law or practice – against either mothers or fathers. In fact, Michigan courts try to keep both parents involved in their children’s lives whenever possible. The assumption in most cases is that maintaining contact with both parents is in the best interests of the child.
In many cases, courts will award shared physical custody to both parents unless there is a compelling reason to award sole custody. This doesn’t mean that time with the kids is split equally, however. Each custody case is decided on its own merits, and courts consider at least a dozen factors when making rulings.
Should I expect to pay/receive spousal support? Does the court order it automatically?
Spousal support, or alimony, is not nearly as common as it was at a time when men tended to be sole income earners and women were likely to work in the home. With men and women now working outside the home at nearly equal rates (and similar rates of pay), spousal support is frequently deemed unnecessary in divorce.
Judges can choose to award it in individual cases if the divorce settlement itself may not be enough to ensure each spouse’s financial security. If support has been ordered, the specific amount and duration will be assessed based on a number details unique to each case.
What should I do if the terms of a child support or custody order are no longer appropriate for my family?
The needs of children and families change over time. Because of this, child custody orders and child support awards can be modified by petitioning the court. You must demonstrate, however, that a change in needs or circumstances is significant enough to warrant a modification.
Whether you are seeking to change an order or to prevent your ex-spouse from changing it, our attorneys are ready to represent your interests in court.
Contact Us With Any Questions You May Have
AT Law Group is pleased to offer free initial consultations to all prospective family law clients. To arrange yours, call us in Dearborn at 313-765-1868, or just send us an email.