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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, which incidentally, lowers the cost of a divorce. 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.
We don't judge you. We protect and advise you.
    Frequently Asked Questions Regarding a Divorce
    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). Child support is usually not negotiable. 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.

Q: I was just served divorce papers and my spouse tells me I do not need to get a lawyer, that her lawyer will handle 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. Do not be bullied into accepting an agreement that is not fair. Hire a lawyer to protect yourself.
Other quick facts: 1) Giving $30.00 worth of clothing to your child(ren) is not a substitute for a $30.00 child support payment. 2)
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 may 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 "win-all" expectations. With
that said, almost always no person receives everything they want, but in the end, there is closure and your life moves
Call Attorney Derik Girdwood for a Free  Consultation
(586) 783-8095
Complete explanation of court procedures
Q: How is the marital estate (assets and debts) usually divided in a divorce? I made all the
money in our marriage so I am entitled to all of it, right?
A: No. The marital assets and debts are usually divided 50-50, including your retirement plan
built during, but not before, the marriage, regardless if one spouse worked and the other
spouse did not. A prenuptial agreement (made before the marriage), however, could change
the asset and debt division in the event of a divorce and we recommend a prenuptial
agreement when one person has substantially more assets than the other.
Q: What if my former spouse refuses to give me visitation of my child and constantly tells my child
that I am a bad person?
A: The court takes very seriously the refusal of a court order of parental visitation.
Your attorney should file a motion to show why the offending former spouse should not be held in
contempt of court with the possible remedy of a change in custody, a fine, or possible jail time.
Specifically: 1) apply a makeup parenting time policy established under MCL 552.642; 2)
commence civil contempt proceedings under MCL 552.644; 3) file a motion with the court under
MCL 552.517d for a modification of existing parenting time provisions to ensure parenting time,
unless contrary to the best interests of the child; 4) schedule mediation subject to MCL 552.513;
or 5 ) schedule a joint meeting subject to MCL 552.642a.
The answers given above are intended to give you general guidance but it is always necessary to consult an
attorney regarding your specific circumstances.