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|We know that a divorce is never easy. It affects both parties financially and emotionally. We strive to minimize
hostile and negative issues by providing you with straight-forward answers and encouraging you and your spouse to
agree on as many issues as possible. If your goal is to "destroy" your spouse then we are not the law firm for you.
We pride ourselves on being fair, honest and offering you the very best legal representation without compromising
your legal rights.
Q: How long does it take to get a divorce?
A: If the parties have no minor child or children then the divorce can be completed in 60 days.
If the parties share a minor child or children then the divorce can be completed in six months
from the date of filing for divorce. If the parties agree on issues of property division and
custody then the divorce is less expensive and is usually finalized in the time period stated
above and sometimes even sooner.
Q: Is there an advantage to filing first for divorce?
A: Under some circumstances, the answer is yes. If the parties are not living together and share minor children then the party
to file first may get a court order granting temporary custody and child support. Further, the party filing first may request that
the spouse pay a portion of his or her attorney fees, temporary spousal support and that both parties be ordered to continue
to pay the marital bills and not deplete, destroy or hide any marital assets.
Q: Do I have to state why I want a divorce and what if my spouse refuses to let me divorce?
A: In Michigan, we have "no fault" divorce so the court will not ask why you are getting a divorce and the court documents
prepared by your attorney will most likely not include fault issues of either party. All that needs to be said is that there has
been a breakdown in the marriage and no possibility of reconciliation. A spouse cannot refuse you a divorce. Even if the
spouse refuses to recognize or participate in the court proceedings the divorce will go through.
Q: How is the amount of child support determined?
A: The amount of child support paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent is usually determined by the Friend of
the Court who looks at the number of minor children, the gross incomes of both parties and whether day care services are
needed if both parents work. Your attorney should be able to estimate child support depending on how many over-nights you
will have with your child(ren). For more information, click on Macomb FOC.
Q: What is the difference between physical and legal custody and can both parties share these?
A: Both parties can share physical and legal custody of the children; however, in most cases one parent will have physical
custody and the other parent will have reasonable visitation rights. Physical custody is where one parent has the children
most of the time while the non-physical custody parent has a minimum visitation of one evening a week, every other weekend
and alternating holidays. Usually both parents share legal custody which means that both will share equally the children's
school, religious and medical concerns. Recently, the terms physical custody are not used in a divorce judgment because
many think that a parent is then a "winner" or "loser", depending upon which parent received physical custody. Consequently,
many courts permit the wording "joint custody" with the "residence of the child or children with one parent" and the other
parent has reasonable visitation and most likely pays child support. If the parents cannot agree on custody and/or parenting
time then the Court will decide by using these factors: click on Determining Parenting Time. For more information, click on
St. Clair FOC and Oakland FOC.
Q: Do I need an attorney for a divorce and how much can I expect to pay?
A: Of course you need an attorney because you want it done right and a fair distribution. Too many persons attempt to do a
divorce themselves only to find that they have not prepared or filed legal documents correctly resulting in their case being
dismissed. Lawyers charge different amounts depending upon their experience and the complexity of the divorce. A divorce
can cost between $1200 and thousands of dollars. The more you and your spouse agree on issues of custody and marital
asset and debt division the less expensive is the divorce. Fighting over who gets the refrigerator magnets or special visitation
rights of the family pet hamster can be very expensive.
everything. Is this a good a idea?
A: Generally speaking, it is not a good idea and you should seek your own legal counsel. If you do nothing with the
complaint for divorce and more than 21 days has past from the time that you were served then your spouse's attorney will most
likely enter a default against you, which simply means you may be unable to defend yourself in court. It is a conflict of interest for
one attorney to represent both parties in a divorce.
Child support is calculated using both parent's income. Incomes of other (new) spouses are not used. 3) Failure to pay child
support may result in reporting to the credit bureau, passport denial, various licenses (driving, professional, hunting) may be
suspended and even a felony warrant. 4) The Friend of the Court will review child support orders once every three years or upon
written request. 5) Bankruptcy does not discharge child support arrears or obligations. 6) The residence of the minor child may not
be moved from the State of Michigan without consent of the other parent or permission of the court. 7) Missed parenting time must
be reported to the Friend of the Court within 56 days or it will be deemed waived. 8) Both parties may agree to opt out of the Friend
of the Court. 9) It is not advisable to go into a divorce with unrealistic demands and expectations unless you are willing to throw
"gobs" of money at your lawyer. With that said, almost always no person gets unrealistic results in a divorce, but in the end, there is
|Call Attorney Derik Girdwood for a Free Consultation
Complete explanation of court procedures
|Law Office of Derik R. Girdwood
Serving Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair Counties Video
Call for a free consultation (586) 783-8095