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FamilyLaw

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1457592522204{margin-bottom: -50px !important;}”]What We Do

Gonzalez Law, PLLC is a boutique law firm that provides clients throughout the state of Michigan with exceptional legal services in all aspects of family law. Whether you are dealing with a divorce, complex financial matters, child custody, visitation, child support or spousal support (alimony), we are here to help.

Our approach is to work with you to develop a plan that meets the special needs of your situation so that your family and children are protected, and that your assets and wealth are preserved to the maximum extent possible.

Our formula is simple –compassion, experience, skill, creativity and hard work. It’s a winning formula that has led to victory in and out of court, and more importantly, accolades from our clients. We take pride in our work and will zealously advocate on your behalf.

DIVORCE

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A Divorce encompasses a great deal more than just the end of your marital relationship with your spouse.  The results of a divorce can have a very profound impact on the rest of your life and can effect all of those that you care for the most.  As such, you will have many questions…important questions such as: What is going to happen with my children? How will our assets be divided? How will our debts be divided? Will I receive or have to pay Child Support?

Because of these important issues that must be addressed, your divorce will have to be handled in the most precise fashion possible.  You will be provided with the peace-of-mind knowing that our divorce attorneys have vast knowledge of the divorce laws of the state of Michigan.  Bear in mind, that even in amicable divorce situations commonly referred to as “uncontested divorces,” also require the same level of detail and paperwork including a filing of the complaint for divorce, an equitable division of all of the parties’ debts and assets, in addition to highly organized and specific, child support payment plans and  parenting time schedules.

In more complex divorce situations, large assets often include inheritance, various investment vehicles, real property, stock options and often stakes in business ownership.  More importantly, matters of parenting time and child custody are usually the most highly contested areas in a divorce. This requires a high level of preparedness and superior representation. Gonzalez Law, PLLC’s law practice is encompassed around divorce and family law issues, offering the best representation for you and any of your divorce or family law needs.

The divorce attorneys at Gonzalez Law, PLLC provide their clients with expert advice and representation based on their experience and zealous advocacy. Divorce and family law matters vary from county to county which is why it is paramount that the divorce or family law attorney you choose to hire is familiar with each of the different County courts.  The divorce attorneys at Gonzalez Law, PLLC deliver the highest standards in legal representation specifically in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, as well as all other jurisdictions within the state in divorce and family matters.

We are skilled, experienced and benevolent divorce attorneys that have the ability to guide you in even the most sophisticated divorce or family law cases.  We will work diligently to make sure that your financial situation is handled in the most equitable way possible and also ascertain that you are being represented to the highest standards.

You undoubtedly have additional questions and we can provide you with additional answers.  Please contact us at (248) 990-2020 and ask for Juan Gonzalez to answer any of your questions at no cost.

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As a spouse and/or a parent, you have numerous rights in a divorce or family law related matter.  The Gonzalez Law, PLLC divorce attorneys are centered on maximizing your rights and zealously advocating on your behalf and will provide you with the aggressive representation that you are entitled to.

Our Family Law practice includes:

  • Divorce & Prenuptial Agreements
  • Division of Property & Debt
  • Protection of Separate Property
  • Child Support/ Spousal Support/ Alimony
  • Child Custody & Visitation
  • Paternity Parentage
  • Domestic Violence/ Personal Protection Orders

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[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_accordion][vc_accordion_tab title=”Grounds for Divorce”][vc_column_text]“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.”

The plaintiff may not include any other explanation of the grounds in the complaint. The defendant may admit or deny the grounds. The court may consider an admission but is not bound by it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Jurisdiction; Venue”][vc_column_text]On the filing date, one party must have resided in Michigan for at least 180 days and in the county of filing for at least 10 days. Residence means the place of a permanent home where the party intends to remain.

The 10-day county residency requirement need not be met if there is information that would allow the court to reasonably conclude that the parties’minor children are at risk of being taken outside the U.S. and kept in a foreign country by a defendant who was born in a foreign country or who is not a U.S. citizen.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Initial Filings”][vc_column_text]The initial filing for a divorce without children includes a summons, a complaint, filing fees, and a record of divorce or annulment (some counties require filing at the time of entry of the judgment).

If there are minor children or a request for spousal support, a verified statement must be served on the other party and provided to the Friend of the Court. The initial filing for a divorce with minor children must also include information about custody proceedings and the names and birth dates of the minor children.

The complaint must include the following:

  • The statutory grounds for divorce, without further explanation.
  • The parties’complete names and their names before marriage.
  • Residency information.
  • Whether a party is pregnant.
  • The required case caption language.
  • Whether there are minor children of the parties or minor children born during the marriage.
  • The complete names and birth dates of any minors involved in the action, including minor children of the parties and all children born during the marriage.
  • Whether there is property to be divided.
  • If a request for protection of property is made, facts sufficient to support the relief requested.
  • If spousal support is requested, a showing of the need for support and the other party’s ability to pay.
  • If there are minors or a request for child support, whether any Michigan court has continuing jurisdiction over the minor and, if so, the court and file number.
  • If custody of a minor is to be determined, the following must be included in the complaint or in an attached affidavit: (1) the child’s present address, (2) places where the child has lived within the last five years, (3) names and present addresses of persons with whom the child has lived during that period, (4) whether the party has participated in other litigation concerning the custody of the child in Michigan or elsewhere, (5) whether the party knows of a proceeding that could affect the current child custody proceeding, and (6) whether the party knows of a person who is not a party to the proceedings who has physical custody of the child or claims custody or parenting time rights.

 

Filing fees may be waived. Fees and costs must be waived or suspended for persons receiving public assistance and indigent persons. The judge may hold a hearing to determine if the person is indigent. If the affidavit of indigency is not disputed, the waiver is mandatory.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Sole or Joint Custody”][vc_column_text]Joint custody means that the parents have joint physical custody (the child resides for alternate periods with each parent) and/or that the parents have joint legal custody (the parents share decision-making authority on important decisions affecting the child’s welfare).

In a joint custody arrangement, the order determining custody or parenting time must contain a provision stating the parents’agreement on how they will handle a change in either of the child’s legal residences that is more than 100 miles from the child’s residence at the time the action was filed. If the parents do not agree on such a provision, the order must state: “A parent whose custody or parenting time of a child is governed by this order shall not change the legal residence of the child except in compliance with section 11 of the ‘Child Custody Act of 1970,’1970 PA 91, MCL 722.31.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Awarding Joint Custody”][vc_column_text]

  • In custody disputes, parents must be advised of the availability of joint custody.
  • If the parents agree on joint custody, the court must order it unless it finds on the record by clear and convincing evidence that joint custody is not in the best interests of the child.
  • At the request of either party, the court must consider joint custody and must state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the request.

The court determines whether joint custody would be in the best interests of the child by considering the statutory best interests factors and whether the parents will be able to cooperate and generally agree on important decisions concerning the child’s welfare.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Who Has an Obligation to Support the Child? “][vc_column_text]

  • Both natural (or adoptive) parents, unless the court modifies or terminates the obligation or the child is emancipated.
  • A father of an illegitimate child; the mother cannot contract away the child’s right to support.
  • Generally no obligation to support an unrelated child, unless (1) equitable estoppel applies (usually when there is an express or implied representation
    that a parental relationship exists) or (2) the person is an “equitable parent.”These doctrines do not cover situations where there is no marriage.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Equitable Parent Doctrine”][vc_column_text]Criteria

(1) the husband and the child acknowledge a father-child relationship or the mother cooperates in developing this relationship over a period of time before a divorce complaint is filed,
(2) the husband desires parental rights, and (3) the husband is willing to pay child support.

Once the criteria are met over a reasonable period of time, equitable parenthood is established and the criteria need not be met perpetually.

The doctrine does not apply when the parties were never married[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Jurisdiction to Order Support”][vc_column_text]The court may order child support (among other things) in actions for divorce, annulment, separate maintenance, paternity, child custody, family support (applies when the married parent is living apart from the noncustodial parent who does not contribute financially although able to do so; also applies when the custodial parent is unmarried if the children are legitimate, legitimated, or adopted).

The court must have in personam jurisdiction over the defendant to order child support.

  • Requires personal service and sufficient contacts with Michigan to justify the state assuming jurisdiction.
  • The Long-arm statute includes living in Michigan while subject to a marital or family relationship that is the basis for a claim for, e.g., child support.
  • In interstate cases, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act lists additional bases for personal jurisdiction.

The court may enter ex parte or temporary orders for child support. In ex parte child support orders, a specific notice regarding objecting to the order is required.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Amount of Support”][vc_column_text]

Support means payment of money for support of a child, including payment of medical, dental, and other health care expenses; child care expenses; and educational expenses. For enforcement purposes, also includes confinement/pregnancy expenses or genetic testing expenses ordered under the Paternity Act and the surcharge on past-due support payments.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Postmajority Support”][vc_column_text]The court may order support for a child between the ages of 18 and 191/2 if the child is regularly attending high school full time with a reasonable expectation of graduating and is living full-time with the support payee or at an institution. Such an order must include a provision that the support terminates on the last day of a specified month, regardless of the actual graduation date.

Agreements by the parties for postmajority support on the record or in the divorce judgment are enforceable, even if entered before the 1990 statutory amendments regarding postmajority support.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”The Michigan Child Support Formula”][vc_column_text]The amount of support is determined by the MCSF. See MCL 552.501 et seq.. The 2013 MCSF is available on the SCAO website. Please note that the 2013 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual Supplement, with the most current economic data and tables needed to calculate support, is also available on the SCAO website at http://courts.michigan.gov/Ad… .

A court may enter a support order that deviates from the formula if application of the formula would be unjust or inappropriate. MCL 552.605(2).

If the court deviates from the formula, it must set forth in writing or on the record all the following:

  • the support amount determined by the child support formula
  • how the support order deviates from the child support formula
  • the value of property or other support awarded in lieu of the payment of child support, if applicable
  • reasons application of the child support formula would be unjust or inappropriate in this case

 

MCL 552.605(2); 2013 MCSF 1.04(B).

The MCSF contains an extensive list of factors the court may consider in exercising its discretion to order a deviation from the formula. See 2013 MCSF 1.04(E).[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Role of Friend of the Court (FOC) and the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MISDU)”][vc_column_text]

The collection of most child support payments and the disbursement of those payments to the recipients are no longer the functions of the FOC. These functions are now conducted by the MiSDU.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Personal Protection Order (PPO)”][vc_column_text]Domestic violence occurs when a person chooses to use a pattern of physical assaults, threats of violence, and emotional abuse to maintain power and control over another. Domestic violence usually occurs between two people who are living together or who are in a dating relationship. All 50 states have statutes authorizing courts to issue orders of protection to domestic violence victims and requiring courts to give some weight to domestic violence in child custody cases.

In Michigan, a victim of domestic violence may obtain a personal protection order (PPO) to enjoin abusive behavior. PPOs may enjoin specific actions, such as assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, stalking, or wounding the petitioner. In addition, they may prohibit entering specific premises, usually including the victim’s home and place of employment. They may also prohibit the removal of minor children from the legal custodian, purchasing or possessing a firearm, and any other act that interferes with the victim’s personal liberty or that causes a reasonable apprehension of violence.

There are three types of PPOs that may be issued, depending on the relationship between the parties. A domestic relationship PPO enjoins certain assaultive and threatening behaviors when there is a domestic relationship between the parties. A domestic relationship exists if the parties are or have been married, have had a child in common, have lived together, or have dated. A stalking PPO enjoins stalking conduct and is available regardless of the parties’relationship as long as two or more incidents of stalking have occurred. A sexual assault PPO, new in 2010, enjoins assaultive and stalking behaviors when there is no domestic relationship between the parties and there have not been two or more instances of stalking. It is available when the respondent has been convicted of a sexual assault against the petitioner or has threatened the petitioner with sexual assault.

A PPO is effective when the judge signs it and is immediately enforceable by any law enforcement officer in Michigan. MCL 600.2950(7), (9), (21). The respondent is subject to immediate arrest for violating the order and if found guilty may be sentenced to up to 93 days in jail. A PPO must be served personally or as otherwise specified on the party to be restrained. However, failure to effectuate service does not affect the order’s validity or effectiveness. Either party may file a motion to modify, extend, or rescind the PPO after it has been entered within 14 days of issuance of the PPO. The court usually addresses motions to rescind or modify PPOs in an evidentiary hearing.

Divorce and custody actions present particular challenges in domestic violence cases. Although Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, fault is an element that can be used to structure arguments regarding domestic violence in property and spousal support disputes. In custody and parenting time cases, the court must consider domestic violence in making its decision. MCL 722.23(k).

Domestic violence is also a crime. In addition to domestic assault, an alleged batterer may be charged with a number of other criminal offenses, including stalking, criminal sexual conduct, home invasion, and malicious destruction of property. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), 42 USC 13931 et seq., created several federal crimes related to domestic violence, mandated full faith and credit for PPOs, and afforded specific protections for battered immigrants. Other remedies available to combat domestic violence are tort actions and civil rights actions.

 Aside from the practice areas described on our website, the lawyers at GKM have a wide array of experience in other areas.  Contact us at (248) 268-2723 for help.  If your matter is one which we don’t typically handle, we can help you find someone who does.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_accordion]
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