Family Law in Michigan

Domestic Relations, or Family Law, is the cornerstone of Longton Law Offices. Through the years, Longton Law Offices has emerged as the number one family attorney in Southeast Michigan because of our courteous and dedicated service.

While there are a lot of resources to help one going through the different aspects of family law, the laws are governed by the State but the procedure and expectations in each county can vary. Longton Law Offices’ years of experience will help you navigate this process so you can focus on moving forward.

Family Law is about more than divorce. There are a lot of different aspects that can be covered under “Domestic Relations.” At Longton Law Offices, we understand that there are many people involved in the process, and that it can be stressful and difficult for you.

Change of Domicile / Relocation

In Michigan, a change of domicile is required when a custodial parent wishes to move with a child more than 100 miles away from their current legal residence or outside of the state of Michigan.

According to Michigan legislature (Section 722.31) and the Child Custody Act of 1970, the court shall consider each of the following factors, with the child as the primary focus in the court’s deliberations:

  1. Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent.
  2. The degree to which each parent has complied with, and utilized his or her time under, a court order governing parenting time with the child, and whether the parent’s plan to change the child’s legal residence is inspired by that parent’s desire to defeat or frustrate the parenting time schedule.
  3. The degree to which the court is satisfied that, if the court permits the legal residence change, it is possible to order a modification of the parenting time schedule and other arrangements governing the child’s schedule in a manner that can provide an adequate basis for preserving and fostering the parental relationship between the child and each parent; and whether each parent is likely to comply with the modification.
  4. The extent to which the parent opposing the legal residence change is motivated by a desire to secure a financial advantage with respect to a support obligation.
  5. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

The court will make the final decision regarding a change of domicile so its important that you have the expert legal representation of Longton Law Offices in these matters.

Child Custody & Child Support

If the parents are married, child custody and child support are issues that automatically get determined through the divorce. However, for unmarried parents, they can work out these issues separately through the court. When children are involved, the Friend of the Court becomes the avenue that helps the court determine the best solution.

A Complaint for Divorce will begin a child support/custody case, but also, so can a Complaint for Child Support or Complaint for Child Custody. There are two types of Child Custody, legal and physical. Each of them can be awarded to one party or jointly. In Michigan, parties are typically awarded Joint Legal custody, and physical custody can go either way. Legal custody is the ability to make decisions the impact the child’s life, like what religion they grow up in, where to go to school, etc. Physical custody is literally, where the child spends the night. Sole physical custody means the child spends the night more with one parent than another. Joint physical custody means the child spends the night relatively equal with each parent. In practice, these details can vary based on the intricacies of each individual case.

Child Support is widely determined by a formula that includes each parent’s income and the number of nights the child(ren) spends with them. These formulas can include incidentals like education or childcare costs and also provide percentages for how much each parent must cover of the child’s healthcare expenses.

These two issues can often be a point of contention long after a divorce has been finalized or when something changes in a given parent’s situation. Longton Law Offices can provide ongoing services to resolve your custody/support concerns today and will stand ready to assist if they arise again in the future.

Child Protective Services (CPS)

If you find yourself the target of a Child Protective Services investigation then you need to call a lawyer immediately.

Everything you say and do can and will be used against you.

When interacting with CPS workers its very important to be aware of how you are acting and the things you are saying because they will be documented by the social worker for use in the investigation.  An experienced lawyer will help you know what to say, when to say it and most importantly, what not to say.  Longton Law Offices has the experience needed to help you through any CPS investigation.

Visitation & Parenting Time

When a parent is not awarded physical custody over a child, they are granted parenting time. This is simply the time that the court sets aside for the non-custodial parent to have time with their child. Many courts have a recommended parenting time schedule that determines which holidays a parent has the child(ren), school breaks, and weekends. However, the specific parenting time schedule can vary drastically from case-to-case.

Like child custody and support, parenting time is another issue that can be revisited by the courts if something changes in a parent’s situation. Longton Law Offices is here for you to make sure you get the time you need with your child.

Personal Protection Orders (PPO)

Personal Protection Orders, or PPO’s are legal documents that help to protect you from a person who is harassing or threatening you. There are two types of PPO’s, Domestic and Stalking PPO. A Domestic PPO can be obtained when the person one is seeking protection from is a spouse or former spouse, someone with whom they have a child in common, someone they are dating or used to date, and someone who now lives or has lived in the same house as the petitioner. A stalking PPO is for protection against someone that has engaged in a pattern of two or more non-continuous acts that made a person feel threatened, harassed, frightened, or molested.

The person who applies for a PPO is called the Petitioner and the person they are seeking a PPO against is called the Respondent. In order to be effective, a PPO must be properly served on the Respondent. Once it is, it take immediate effect. The Judge will mark on the PPO what the Respondent is not allowed to do under the PPO, which can include presence on the Petitioner’s home or place of employment, communication, etc. Also, a Respondent must relinquish all weapons when served with a PPO.

PPO’s are effective for a specific period of time, which is written on the PPO itself. Once served, a Respondent has time to challenge the PPO by filing a Motion to Dismiss/Terminate and the Judge will decide at a hearing. If the Respondent violates a PPO, they can be arrested at the police’s discretion. The Petitioner also has the option to file a Motion to Show Cause, where the Judge will decide if the Respondent has violated the PPO and if they should serve time in jail and/or impose a fine.

PPO’s can be an important proactive line of defense for a person who has been threatened but it can also be a damaging tool if used improperly. Whether you have a PPO and need to defend it against a Motion to Dismiss/Terminate or you have been served with a PPO and need to know what to do, Longton Law Offices stands ready to help you determine how best to move forward.

Give us a call today for to schedule your consultation!