If you’re getting married, divorced, or planning on expanding your family through adoption, then how you proceed will be determined in great part by the laws of the state of Michigan.
Divorce and family law disputes can threaten everything you hold dear: your relationships, your financial well-being, and your peace of mind. At Paul S. Kowal, P.C., we understand how overwhelming a family law dispute can be, and we will help you navigate the challenges you face and protect what matters to you.
For over thirty years, attorney Paul Kowal has represented clients in Macomb County, Oakland County, and Southeastern Michigan in divorce, custody, support, and other family law matters. Experienced in both litigation and alternative dispute resolution like mediation and Collaborative law, Paul Kowal helps you resolve your dispute in the way that best meets your needs.
When a divorce or other family law matter makes life seem out of control, choosing the right attorney and law firm can make all the difference to not only the outcome of your case but your experience. We invite you to learn more about Paul Kowal and our practice, and to contact Paul S. Kowal, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.
Family law encompasses all legal matters which pertain to a family. Lawyers help to draft important legal documents to aid in adoptions, court petitions, pre-marital agreements, the end of marriages, property allocations, and agreements affecting children. This may sound like these are run-of-the-mill cases, and they can be. But often, divorces and child custody agreements become battlegrounds between two or more people. When emotions and anger run high, civility and common sense go away, making the simplest of tasks difficult. Every lawyer knows that the more contentious people become their legal fees increase drastically. Further, when someone is incapable of coping with their feelings, their reactions can be dangerous. Family law also encompasses what to do in potentially dangerous situations, such as stalking, child kidnapping, and domestic violence. Family law is designed to protect and safeguard children during difficult times in addition to helping the parties end their marriage peacefully in everybody’s best interest.
Divorce has been described simply as the change of your legal status from married to single. Anyone who has been through a divorce knows that divorces are extremely more complicated.
What you thought was a lifelong commitment is ending, which makes divorce difficult. Divorce involves substantial changes in your personal life. If you want the divorce, how do you tell your spouse? It’s worse if you did not want the divorce. It seems so unfair and often the feeling of being blindsided paralyzes you. If you have children, what will happen? You know that due to visitation you will not see your kids every day as before. You see this as a terrible loss. How will this drastic change affect your children? Will you have to sell your home? How will you support yourself or your children? Will you have to get a job? Should you get a job? What about paying the bills? Will you have the support of your family, your in-laws and your friends as you did in the past?
In addition to getting through these valid concerns, you also must deal with the court system and the law, which are totally unknown to you. What are your legal rights? What do you do to get started? Do you need a lawyer? Do both you and your spouse need lawyers?
Remember, not all divorce cases are the same and there is no one size fits divorce. Every person divorcing faces different challenges. Is the divorce amicable or contested? Are the assets simple or complex? Are both parties even aware of what the assets are and their assets values? Does your case involve minor children or not? Have the parties fully discussed how they will co-parent and support their children? Will I receive or pay alimony?
Paul S. Kowal has been practicing family law in Macomb County for over 30 years. Paul S. Kowal has the experience and legal knowledge to help provide the answers you seek. After handling hundreds of cases, he knows what will work best for you and your present situation.
In the state of Michigan, there is a residency requirement. Before filing for divorce, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Michigan for 180 days and resided in the county where you are filing your divorce for at least 10 days.
Michigan is also a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that the Court does not have to determine who caused the marriage to end. You need only tell the Court that the marriage is over and that there is no chance of reconciliation to get divorced. Even if your spouse disagrees, they cannot prevent the divorce. For this reason, Michigan does not require that the parties be legally separated for any time before they file, nor is pre-divorce marriage counseling necessary.
There are options other than divorce that may be better for your situation. These options include an annulment or legally separating from each other. Paul S. Kowal, a Michigan family lawyer can look into your specific situation and advise you further as to whether these other options are available and whether they would save you time and money in the long-run.
In Michigan, although very few divorce cases go to trial, most people hire litigation attorneys. In a traditional litigated divorce, attorneys use positional bargaining. In other words, each side argues for their position claiming they are right. How did proving that you were right, and your spouse was wrong work during your marriage? It most likely led to prolonged arguments and bad feeling toward the other. The result is the same in litigated divorce cases whether they go to trial or not.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers people who wish to remain amicable a different negotiation technique through divorce or facilitative mediation or through use of the collaborative divorce process. Trained divorce negotiators help couples examine the issues (or problems) exploring the parties’ interests and needs and allow the parties to achieve solutions that work for their family. Through these negotiations, clients don’t always get everything their way, but they usually get everything they need. These negotiation techniques avoid costly litigation and help people reach longer lasting agreements.
Child custody laws are very similar across states because of the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA). Michigan follows the UCCA in the way custody cases are handled. Generally, Michigan will have jurisdiction to resolve custody if the children have resided in Michigan for 6 months before the action is filed. If the residency is met, the Michigan would be the “home state” for the child.
In Michigan, there are two types of custody: “legal custody” and “physical custody.” Legal custody concerns all important decisions that affect the child’s health, education, and overall well-being. While physical custody focuses on the amount of time the child resides with each parent.
All divorce cases involving minor children in Macomb County must address custody and decide legal and physical custody, parenting time and child support matters in the divorce action itself. If you never lived with your child’s father or mother, or if you lived together but the relationship has ended or is not working out, then you must file for child custody in a separate action when you and the other parent cannot agree on how to co-parent or support your child.
Otherwise known as spousal support, alimony may be awarded to either spouse for “suitable support and maintenance.” Determining if one will pay or receive alimony depends on several factors. These factors include the differences in either parties’ income, contributions during the marriage, the parties’ work history; health of the parties and how long they were married. Payments may be for a set number of months or years or can be modified over time if the financial situation of one-party changes. Deductibility of alimony ended with the Trump tax changes so other alternatives to achieve a tax-free transfer should be explored with you family law attorney.
Let’s face it family law matters involve issues that are most important to us: our families, our children, our assets and retirement benefits. Most people are unfamiliar with the laws concerning prenuptial agreements, marital agreements, custody and divorce. Choosing to do it yourself or go it alone is not the right choice in these situations.
You need a skilled family law attorney, one who understands what you are going through, knows the law, has the experience and is dedicated to working hard for you and your family. Paul S. Kowal employs a commonsense approach to your case, he does not fight for the sake of fighting or running up your fees. At Paul S. Kowal, P.C., you only pay for the services you need to protect yourself, your children and your assets during this uncertain time. Make the right choice for you and contact us now.