Family law is an area of law that includes divorce, separation, annulment, custody, child support, Friend of the Court hearings, paternity, parenting time, grandparent visitation, step-parent adoption, other adoption, and post-Judgment of Divorce issues.
Depending on the nature and purpose of representation requested, an initial retainer fee will range from $800 for a step-parent adoption to $1,500 for a no-children non-contested divorce proceeding and several thousand for a contested divorce or child custody contest. Our firm’s hourly rates are $185.00 per hour, and as work is performed on a client’s case, the attorney fees accrued are charged against the initial retainer. If the initial retainer becomes depleted to an amount set by the Retainer Agreement, additional advances will be required for the case to proceed.
Court costs and expenses are always the client's responsibility. A minimum deposit for Court costs, generally $250, must be paid at the time of retaining the attorney, and other Court costs and expenses as billed must be paid within 14 days of billing or, for large sums, in advance as required by the attorney.
If you need assistance with a separation, divorce, custody, parenting time, child support or post-judgment issue, please contact us.
A Divorce is when you ask the court (either with a negotiated settlement or through contested litigation) to dissolve the bonds of matrimony, divide the personal property and real estate, divide assets and debts, ascertain who will receive what percentage of any retirement benefits, assign custody, set parenting time, allocate child support expenses, and determine if spousal support is to be paid and if so, how.
There is a minimum two-month waiting period if no minor children are involved. There is a minimum six-month waiting period if there are minor children. There may also be other pre-trial motions or requirements, such as Court-ordered conciliation, Friend of the Court involvement, arbitration, etc., depending upon which county you reside in. You must reside in the State of Michigan for 180 days, and the county in which you are filing for 10 days, prior to filing the Summons and Complaint for Divorce.
If a marital relationship is suffering difficulties, then some couples may opt for a separation. This separation can take many forms, but most fall into three categories: Informal, Formal, and Legal.
An Informal Separation is when a couple agrees to live apart. This decision is not reduced to writing, usually involves one person moving out of the marital home, and does not involve attorneys or the courts. With counseling, there may be a reconciliation. Or one person, after experiencing separated living, may wish to formalize the separation or file for a divorce.
A Formal Separation usually involves the consultation of an attorney, but not the courts. It is the same as an Informal Separation; however, there is a contract signed by the parties to agree to the terms of the separation. The Separation Contract may include terms of custody, parenting time, support, who pays which bills, who retains which pieces of furniture, who drives which automobile, etc.
A Legal Separation is similar to the Formal Separation, but it involves the courts. Legal Separation is usually sought by people who, for religious or moral reasons, do not want a divorce. It is the same as a divorce in every way except that the bonds of matrimony are not dissolved.
An Annulment is the same as a divorce, only that the period of time that you have been married must be less than one year, and there is an allegation of fraud at the time of the marriage (alcohol, narcotic, physical, or emotional abuse; incarceration; infertility; fraud; or duress).
Legal issues regarding parenting time, custody, adoption, child support, and grandparent visitation have become more frequent in the past decade. Our society has evolved into a complex web of relationships – people get divorced, remarried, have children out of wedlock, lose a spouse, etc. These areas of law are still developing as our society is still evolving to deal with these issues. You will need the assistance of an attorney to appear in a Court or a Friend of the Court hearing to guide you through these issues.
After a Judgment of Divorce has been ordered, there may be issues of enforcement of its provisions, or appeals from the trial court's orders. There are strict time constraints regarding these areas of law. If you believe that you have such an issue, then you should contact us immediately for legal advice.