Typically, family law attorneys assist people in making and breaking family relationships. This might include marriage and relationship planning, divorce, paternity, child custody, and child support. Some family law attorneys even provide assistance in the area of adoption.
When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of a family law attorney, like those at Mark F. Haslem PC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, often proves crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome of your family law matter.
Family Law Definition
Family law is the term applied to the laws and rules developed regarding family relationships. Family law rules define not only the relationships between members of a family but also between a family and society as a whole. More than any other area of the law, family law reflects the values society shares regarding how people who are related should treat each other.
All Child Support calculations, including for interim orders, must begin with application of the Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF). There is a presumption that the amount of Child Support recommended is appropriate.
According to the Friend of the Court, the formula is to be based on the needs of the child as well as the actual resources of the parents. Numerous other factors include: number of overnights for each parent, family size, other dependants, child care, dependant health care coverage costs and other criteria. The ages of the children are not taken into consideration.
Additionally, the gross income of each party must be calculated. The MCSF addresses the many complexities that may be involved in the calculation, such as perks and in-kind income, capital gains, tips and gratuities, gifts that replace income, imputed income, and obligations to children from other relationships.
Michigan Family Law, Sixth Edition, I.C.L.E., §13.16 (2010).
Deciding to pursue divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional decisions you will ever make, particularly if you have children.
To end a valid marriage, there must be a Judgment of Divorce. In a Divorce Complaint, the only allegation of the grounds for divorce the statute permits is the no-fault ground, i.e., “there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” MCL 552.6(1).
If the statutory standard is met, the court must enter a judgment of divorce; thus, one party will inevitably be able to obtain the divorce even if the other spouse objects.
Michigan Family Law, Sixth Edition, I.C.L.E., §6.5 (2010).
Custody and Visitation
When parents divorce, it is important to learn about the child custody and visitation options that are available and the legal standards that apply. In many cases, divorcing couples can ultimately agree on custody and visitation issues without the need for a court order. When an agreement cannot be reached, knowledgeable advice and representation from a family law attorney can often make the difference.
In establishing custody or modifying existing custody arrangements, the court must consider each of the statutory factors outlines in MCL 722.23 and make specific findings on the record.
If an established custodial environment exists, a change may be made only on clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child; otherwise, a “preponderance of the evidence” standard is sufficient to change custody. Whether an established custodial environment exists is a question of fact for the trial court.
Michigan Family Law, Sixth Edition, I.C.L.E., §12.1 (2010).
Marriage is a voluntary, private contract between two adults. While it is a personal and emotional commitment, it is also a legal relationship that changes the legal status of both parties. A family law attorney at our firm can help you to understand the legal technicalities of marriage.