As an Oakland County, Michigan divorce attorney, I am focused on finding the best solution for my clients to difficult and complicated divorce and family matters.
I serve as a strong advocate for my clients both inside and outside the courtroom. Whether a particular case calls for persuasive negotiation or aggressive litigation, I will work hard to protect the interests of you and your family.
I provide representation in the following family law matters:
- Property Division
- Child Custody
- Spousal Support & Alimony
- Post-judgment Modification
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
As an Oakland County, Michigan divorce attorney, I handle divorce cases for men and women throughout the Metropolitan Detroit area. I take the time to get to know each of my divorce clients and their wishes and goals in order to develop and implement a litigation strategy to best represent their interests in court.
Many clients are surprised to learn that Michigan law provides for “no fault” divorces. This means that Michigan law does not require either party to prove that the other party has done something wrong in the marriage in order to get a divorce. A party simply has to allege an irrevocable breakdown of the marriage relationship to be entitled to a divorce under Michigan law.
Part of my role is to serve as a guide and advocate to my divorce clients, helping them to navigate what can be a very confusing and intimidating system. I understand that a divorce is one of the most difficult life changes that a client can experience and I work hard to handle each client’s case with the utmost attention and sensitivity.Property Division
One of the most important aspects of a divorce case is property division. Michigan law generally provides for the “equitable distribution” of marital property in the event of a divorce.
While this often results in a 50-50 split of property in a divorce, marital property may be divided in a different proportion if the judge believes that doing so is fair to the divorcing parties. Although Michigan provides for “no fault” divorces, a Michigan family court judge can consider fault when dividing marital property.
Different judges in Michigan have different philosophies when it comes to the proper division of marital property in Michigan divorce cases.
Some of the elements that a Michigan judge may consider when evaluating the proper division of marital property in a divorce case are:
- The length of the marriage, how much the respective parties contributed to the marital estate;
- How old the parties are;
- How healthy the parties are;
- The life status of each party;
- The needs and earning abilities of the parties;
- Past conduct and relationships of the parties;
- The general fairness of the overall situation; and
- Whether either party bears the fault for the breakdown of the marriage.
It is important to have a competent Oakland County divorce attorney representing you to achieve the best possible property division.Child Custody
Child custody issues are always front and center in any divorce that involves children. It can also be one of the most difficult and emotional issues that arise in any divorce. Michigan law provides for two aspects of child custody: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody concerns which parent will have control over making the major life decisions for a child until they become an adult. Physical custody concerns which parent will be the primary physical custodian of the child and take care of their physical needs.
Generally speaking, Michigan family courts will order joint legal custody, regardless of the physical living arrangements of the child. However, this general rule is subject to exception depending on the particular circumstances of each case and the determination of the court as to the interest and capability of each parent to make major life decisions for their child.
Although Michigan family courts used to generally award primary physical custody to one parent, in recent years, Michigan family courts have become more inclined to accept joint physical custody arrangements.
If the parties cannot agree on legal or physical custody issues, Michigan family courts will make the determination based on factors that are set forth in the Michigan Child Custody Act, which attempts to guide custody determinations based on the “best interests” of the child.
It is important to have a competent Oakland County divorce attorney representing you to achieve the best possible child custody arrangement.Spousal Support & Alimony
Spousal support is also known as alimony. This is money that one divorcing party is ordered to pay to the other party for their financial support and maintenance during and after the divorce has been finalized.
Michigan family courts take a number of factors into consideration when deciding whether to award spousal support and how much spousal support to award.
These factors include:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The conduct of the parties in the marriage and whether one party is more at fault for the breakdown of the marriage;
- How the marital property was divided;
- The ability of the parties to work and how much money they earn; and
- The financial needs of the parties and their living arrangement.
A spousal support award can be modified or canceled based on an appropriate change of circumstances for the parties involved.
As with child support, it is important for parties to obtain good legal counsel regarding possible spousal support awards.Post-judgment Modification
Certain provisions in a Michigan divorce judgment may be modified after the judgment has been entered.
These include provisions relating to spousal support/alimony, child support, and visitation for non-custodial parents. However, changes to these provisions can be very difficult to obtain, depending on the circumstances of a particular case.
Generally speaking, there must be substantial good cause or change in circumstances before a Michigan family court will reconsider and change a Michigan divorce judgment. The assistance of a competent family law attorney is essential in this area.
It is essential for parties to obtain good legal counsel regarding possible post-judgment modification of their divorce judgment.Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements may be a good idea for many couples contemplating marriage. Prenuptial agreements are legal in Michigan and will be enforced by Michigan courts so long as certain requirements are followed.
For example, to be legally enforceable, a Michigan prenuptial agreement must be reduced to a written document and signed by both parties.
Also, both parties must be represented by legal counsel and the agreement must be entered into freely and fairly, and without duress.
Michigan law gives wide latitude to the subjects that can be included in prenuptial agreements in the event a marriage dissolves because of a divorce or due to the death of one of the parties.
Michigan prenuptial agreements may address all aspects of a divorce, except for child support and custody. Michigan prenuptial agreements may even govern how a couple will handle their money during their marriage.
A Michigan postnuptial agreement can address the same subjects as a prenuptial agreement, but is entered into after the parties are married.
Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are closely scrutinized by Michigan courts if there is a dispute over their enforcement. As such, it is critical that both parties to these agreements are represented by competent family law counsel when contemplating and entering into these kinds of agreements.
Please feel free to contact Oakland County, Michigan divorce attorney Michael J. Hamblin for more information on how he can help you with your family law issues.