Disclaimer: Laws change, so consult attorney for updates.
Family Law issues include:
- Divorce and Legal Separation with issues such as
3. Domestic Violence
4. Third-party custody
We represent clients in the Mid-Michigan area.
The decision to end a marriage can be a difficult and painful one. Often a couple will struggle for months or years before deciding to end a marriage and move forward. While a couple can decide themselves to end a relationship, only death or a court of law can end a marriage. Van Epps & Van Epps has a combined fifty-five years of experience help Michigan couples though these difficult periods.
In addition to ending the marriage, the court also must also resolve other matters that are intertwined in the existing marriage including custody and visitation rights, child support, division of property, spousal support, and restraining orders.
Custody is the charge and control of a child, including the right to make all major decisions such as education, religious upbringing, training, health and welfare. Custody usually refers to a combination of physical custody and legal custody.
Custody and visitation disputes are perhaps the most emotionally stressful aspect of a divorce. At the Van Epps & Van Epps, we know that it is usually in the best interests of children for both parents to be involved in their lives and actively responsible for their well-being. We have had great success in helping to find reasonable solutions to child custody issues.
Child support is a payment made to a by one parent to the other parent to help pay for part of the children's living expenses, i.e. food, clothes, etc., and any other related debts. The obligation to support minor children cannot be waived by either parent and is a right enjoyed by the child, not the parent.
Michigan has child support guidelines that determine the of child support. These guidelines are complicated and take into account such factors as the amount of time each parent spends with the child and the income of both parents.
The guidelines also allow certain expenses to be deducted from each parent’s income. If you have questions about whether you are paying or receiving the right amount of support, the attorneys at Van Epps & Van Epps can give you an answer.
Michigan is an equitable distribution state which means that judges must order a property division that is fair and equitable under all of the circumstances of the case.
Family Court judges look at several factors to arrive at a “fair and equitable” property division. How judges weigh these factors vary from case to case but the factors include the past relations and conduct of the parties, the length of the marriage, the ability of the parties to work, the source and amount of property awarded to the parties, the age of the parties, the health of the parties and other general principals of equity.
In addition to the property that the parties own, the judge must also divide up the debts of he parties. The judge will consider the same factors to determine what is fair.
Many clients don’t realize that a pension is a marital asset which the court must consider in the overall division of marital assets. The present-day value of the pension may be considered and the non-pensioned spouse may receive the value of offsetting property or the pension may be divided by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or an Eligible Domestic Relations Order which will preserve the pension’s tax deferred status.
Spousal Support (Alimony):
Alimony is temporary or permanent financial support paid from one separated spouse to the other, either in one lump sum or in installments. Alimony is designed to provide the lower-income spouse with money for living expenses over and above the money provided by child support. Alimony differs from child support because it is at the discretion of the judge.
There are several factors a judge considers when deciding whether to grant alimony. These involve things like the parties' relative ability to earn money, both now and in the future; their respective age and health; the length of the marriage; the kind of property involved, and the conduct of the parties. As a general rule, the longer the marriage and the more economically dependent one spouse has been on the other spouse, the greater the likelihood that alimony will be granted.
To help ease the stress of choosing the attorney best for you, we offer a free 15 minute consultation. Call Van Epps & Van Epps today at (989) 723-6777, or complete the contact form provided on this site to arrange for your free consultation.
Contact us for your free consultation today.