Caring And Compassionate Family Law Representation
Family situations frequently get to the point where legal intervention is necessary. If you wish to end your marriage, you must file for divorce. If you want the right to a specific time with your child, you need to file for custody or visitation. If your child’s other parent is falling behind in supporting your son or daughter, you must ask the court for a child support order. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, you may be forced to ask the court for a protective order. In all these situations and more, DeBruin Law, PLLC, is ready to provide help and guidance.
It may feel disheartening to call a lawyer to deal with a family situation. Lansing attorney Tiffany DeBruin understands the emotional, practical and financial challenges associated with Michigan family law cases, and she believes in treating every client with compassion and respect. You can be confident that she will guide you through every step of the family court process while fighting hard for the best outcome for you and your family.
We Are Ready To Help With Many Family Law Matters
DeBruin Law, PLLC, is available to help you through a wide range of family law matters including:
Divorce And Related Issues
When you and your spouse cannot resolve your issues and maintain your marriage, it is time to call a divorce lawyer. The purpose of hiring an attorney is not to make the situation contentious or to head into a long court battle. An experienced divorce lawyer will ensure you understand your rights throughout the divorce, that you are fully informed of your options and potential solutions to problems, and that you obtain a fair outcome in the division of property, custody battle and other matters.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. You do not need a specific reason to file for divorce. You merely have to claim that there has been an irreparable breakdown of the marriage. That being said, there are various fault grounds you can claim, which may influence the division of property, child support and alimony. During a divorce, you and your spouse – or the court – must decide the outcome of several legal matters including, but not limited to, the division of shared property, a co-parenting schedule and spousal support.
Child Custody Agreements
During a divorce or as a separate legal matter, you and your child’s other parent may need to determine a child custody schedule. Under Michigan law, you and the other parent can decide on a co-parenting schedule yourselves. You can decide how much time each of you will spend with your child, and when/how you will make parenting exchanges.
However, many parents have a difficult time creating a schedule themselves. Despite you and the other parent wanting the best for your child, you may disagree on how to give them the best. In these circumstances, a Lansing, Michigan, family law attorney can represent you during the mediation process or can fight for your desired outcome in court.
If a judge makes the child custody decision, then the judge will analyze what is in the best interests of the child to determine if one parent will receive sole custody or whether joint custody is appropriate. If you will share physical and/or legal custody, then the judge will decide how much parenting time you will each have.
At DeBruin Law PLLC, a family lawyer for Ingham County also can help you in regard to child custody order modifications. If you are currently following a child custody order and believe it needs to change because circumstances have changed, call us to discuss petitioning for a modification.
Child Support Orders And Related Legal Matters
If you have a child, then you and the other parent are both responsible for financially supporting your son or daughter. If you have primary custody and the other parent is not paying their fair share of your child’s expenses, you should contact a family law attorney about going to court for a child support order.
As a parent with sole custody or the majority of parenting time, you are typically entitled to child support until your child turns 18 years old, or until your child graduates from high school. The Michigan Child Support Formula determines which parent pays child support, and how much they must pay. The formula looks at each parent’s income, the number of overnights per year the child spends with each parent, the number of children, health care, child care and other expenses.
You should speak with an experienced family attorney regarding how much child support you may receive or may owe to your child’s other parent.
Guidance On Alimony/Spousal Support
If you are going through a divorce in Michigan, you may be in the position to ask for alimony, or your spouse may ask you to pay support to them. You should talk with a Lansing, Michigan, family law attorney about the likelihood of receiving or paying alimony as soon as possible. This is an aspect of a divorce that it is important to prepare for, whether you wish to receive alimony or avoid paying it.
Under Michigan law, spousal support is decided on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not a judge will order alimony depends on many factors, including the disparity between the spouses’ incomes, the likelihood of the less-paid spouse making more money in the near future, whether or not one spouse gave up educational and professional opportunities for the other, the length of the marriage and the health and ages of the spouses.
If it appears that one spouse cannot support themselves and maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed during the marriage, then a judge may award that spouse alimony. The judge may order a lump-sum payment or monthly or annual payments. The support may be permanent, or it may be for a specific number of months or years.
Additionally, you and your spouse can agree to alimony. If it is likely that a judge will award you or your spouse alimony, it may benefit you both to negotiate a spousal support agreement out of court.
There are various circumstances in which you may need to take care of and make decisions for another person’s child or for an incapacitated adult. In these situations, you should speak with a Lansing, Michigan, family law attorney about guardianship under Michigan law.
By becoming a child or an incapacitated adult’s guardian, you have the legal authority to act on their behalf. You can make decisions for them, including important decisions regarding their daily care, education, medical care and finances.
This is a very serious legal matter, especially if you wish to become the guardian of another adult. Guardianship may take away an individual’s freedom and rights. This is why it is a legal process that must be approved by a judge. DeBruin Law, PLLC, can guide you through the legal guardianship process and help you get to a position where you can take care of your loved one.
Domestic Violence And Personal Protection Orders
If you are the victim of violence or serious threats by a family member, spouse, romantic partner, household member, co-worker, classmate or stranger, you should contact a Michigan family law attorney right away. You may have the right to ask the court for a personal protection order (PPO), which you may have heard of as a restraining order.
Michigan has three types of PPOs: A domestic relationship PPO, a nondomestic/stalking PPO and a nondomestic/sexual assault PPO. You should talk with an attorney about which order is most appropriate for your circumstances.
DeBruin Law, PLLC, can assist you in seeking an emergency ex parte order, in which the abuser or stalker is not initially in court with you. We can help you complete the initial paperwork and appear in court as well. If you do not ask for an ex parte order or the judge denies an emergency order, you must attend a hearing that your abuser or stalker will be notified of and can attend. If the perpetrator files a motion to terminate the PPO, you may not be automatically entitled to representation. Because the initiation of a PPO and hearing process can be complex, you should seek the help of an attorney right away.
On the other hand, if you have been accused of abuse and a PPO is being asserted against you, then you may need defense. DeBruin Law, PLLC, can help you defend yourself against false allegations and protect your good name.
Speak To A Family Law Attorney About Your Needs
Attorney Tiffany DeBruin understands that heading to court is probably not your first choice when dealing with a family matter. You may have tried to resolve the issue between you and your spouse or child’s other parent without help. You may still have hope that you can resolve the issue without spending a lot of time in a courtroom. Whatever your circumstances, attorney DeBruin will advise you on your options, the next best steps and the possible outcomes of your case. She wants to help you and your family move forward and establish a happy, healthy and safe situation.
To schedule a consultation about your family law needs, contact DeBruin Law, PLLC, by calling 517-731-0353. You can also fill out our online contact form.