If you face emotional and sensitive divorce or family law issues, the family law attorneys at Kreis Enderle offer a steady hand, sound guidance, and compassionate counsel to help you navigate day-to-day challenges and resolve long-term concerns. Our lawyers understand that divorce and other contentious disputes between family members aren’t just legal matters. They are deeply personal and impact every aspect of our clients’ lives and involve the things they care about the most.
For over 50 years, men and women throughout Michigan have turned to Kreis Enderle when facing difficult transitions and important life changes. We recognize that closing one chapter of your life and turning the page to a new one can be a scary and unsettling experience, even if you and your spouse are ending your marriage on relatively amicable terms. That is why we take the time to listen to your story, understand your concerns and priorities, and answer all your questions. By doing so, we can craft an approach best suited to protecting your interests and those of your children while minimizing acrimony and unnecessary conflict.
Of course, the emotions involved at the end of a marriage and consequential issues like child custody, support, visitation, and the division of assets do not always lend themselves to reasoned, negotiated resolutions. In such circumstances, Kreis Enderle’s family law attorneys stand ready to use their formidable advocacy skills when needed to vigorously advance and defend our clients’ interests in court. Whether in the courtroom or at the negotiating table, our goal is always to obtain a fair, equitable outcome that puts our clients in the best possible position as they move forward with their lives.
Regardless of your specific circumstances, we can help. Our lawyers bring the perfect balance of personal care and seasoned representation to give you clarity, confidence, and peace of mind.
Experienced Representation in All Family Law Matters
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Child Visitation and Parenting Time
- Spousal Support
- Asset Valuation and Division
- Enforcement and Modification of Orders
- Protective Orders
- Pre- and Postnuptial Agreements
- Step-Parent Adoptions
- Indian Child Welfare Act Child Protection Matters
Family Law FAQs:
Does it matter who files first in a Michigan divorce proceeding?
While a Michigan divorce proceeding is a lawsuit involving both spouses, the person who files the initial divorce petition will generally not be at an advantage or disadvantage in the proceedings. However, sometimes, it may be advisable for one spouse to initiate a divorce. For example, filing for divorce gives that party a forum for seeking immediate relief from a judge if their spouse engages in threats or violence or engages in other behavior that puts the filer’s health, safety, finances, and well-being or that of their child at risk.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. What does this mean?
In Michigan, as in most states, one spouse doesn’t need to prove the other is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. As long as the party filing for divorce establishes, through testimony, that the marriage relationship is broken to the extent that it cannot be repaired, the Court will grant a divorce. However, fault may come into play as it relates to alimony (spousal support), the proportionate division of assets awarded to each party, and various child-related issues.
How are assets divided in a Michigan divorce?
While spouses can reach their own agreement about the division of their assets, a judge will do it for them if they fail to do so. First, the judge and the parties will determine which assets are “marital property” and which items are “separate property.” Subject to very limited exceptions, a judge will only divide and distribute marital property in a Michigan divorce proceeding.
Separate property are those assets each spouse had in their possession when they tied the knot. Separate property can also include any gifts or an inheritance a spouse receives during the marriage. Marital property is everything else that either or both spouses acquire during the marriage, including any appreciation or increase in the value of separate property while married.
Once the parties or a judge determine the marital property, a legal principle called “equitable distribution” controls who will get what. It is important to understand that “equitable” is not the same thing as “equal.” Instead, a Michigan judge will consider several factors in determining how to fairly and equitably distribute a couple’s assets.
Will a judge consider what my child wants regarding custody and with whom they want to live?
As in most states, Michigan courts make child custody determinations based on what is in the child’s best interests. Judges will consider several statutory factors when making custody decisions, including “the reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age and maturity to express a preference.”
As any parent knows, every child is unique. Two children of the same chronological age may have wildly dissimilar levels of maturity, thoughtfulness, and rationality. That is why Michigan law does not set a specific age for when a judge may consider a child’s preference. Regardless of a child’s preference, the judge will base the decision on the child’s best interests.
Is mediation required in Michigan divorce cases?
With some rare exceptions, yes. Before the court schedules a trial, the spouses usually must try to resolve outstanding issues through mediation following an extended period of discovery and disclosure designed to ensure that both parties have a complete picture of their respective finances and other matters.
Does my child’s other biological parent have to consent to a step-parent adoption?
Not necessarily. While gaining the consent of the noncustodial biological parent makes the process much faster, the law does allow for an involuntary termination of parental rights. To obtain an involuntary termination of parental rights, the noncustodial parent must have failed to substantially support and failed to visit or contact the child for a period of at least two years.