Divorce and Family Law

Comprehensive Family Law Representation

At The Smith Law Offices, P.C., we bring highly effective legal representation to people throughout southeast Michigan who are involved in family law proceedings, including divorce and child custody. We have built our practice on a commitment to personal service, professional legal advice, and attention. When you hire us to help you with a divorce or other family law matter, you will always meet face-to-face with one of our lawyers. We are committed to your success, and we will listen carefully to your needs and concerns so that we can formulate the most effective strategy to meet your goals in family court.

Because of our strong reputation for providing knowledgeable and attentive legal representation, many of our new cases come to us as referrals from former or current clients.

An Overview Of Our Family Law Practice

The Smith Law Offices, P.C., works with men and women at all stages of a litigation, whether they want to initiate divorce or custody proceedings, are dealing with domestic violence, need assistance with finalizing their matter, or want help with a post-judgment motion for modification of enforcement of a final order. We work to find the best solution to your family law matters, including legal services and issues involving:

Divorce – Our goal is to zealously, yet cost-effectively, represent you in your divorce proceedings. We represent individuals in divorces with and without minor children. Additionally, we frequently represent parties who reside outside the state and are defending a divorce action filed in southeast Michigan or those parties who wish to commence proceedings against an individual who resides outside Michigan or the country.

Uncontested Divorce – An experienced attorney can assist you in resolving your divorce matter or court order in a timely manner, without the financial and emotional hardship of litigation, while still ensuring that your best interests are being served during your legal issues in Westland, Michigan, and beyond.

Military Divorce – Military divorces, those involving a party in active military duty, differ from other divorce actions in the sense that there are more stringent standards and required compliance with unique military rules. We can assist you in navigating this unique area of law and successfully entering a Judgment of Divorce.

Annulments – An annulment is granted in very limited circumstances where a valid marriage is found to be void or voidable. Where an annulment cannot be granted, a divorce action is your next option. The Smith Law Offices, P.C., offers free consultations to determine if your present circumstances show grounds for an annulment.

Spousal Support (Alimony) – In your divorce action, we will help you determine whether spousal support (alimony) is warranted and, if so, how much should be paid and for how long. Additionally, we can assist you in enforcing the non-payment of spousal support and in modifying an existing spousal support order.

Child Custody – The Smith Law Offices, P.C., will help you put custody and parenting time orders in place, which are in the best interests of your children while protecting your rights as a parent. Additionally, we can assist you in the modification of current child custody orders.

Parenting Time – Our attorneys can assist you in the initial determination of parenting time, post-judgment modifications of parenting time, and in filing petitions to enforce your currently ordered parenting time provisions.

Child Support – The Smith Law Offices, P.C., will review all proposed and existing child support orders for compliance with state guidelines. Additionally, we can assist you in the filing of the proper petitions to modify current child support orders or to abate child support arrears.

Paternity – Our attorneys assist both mothers and fathers in paternity proceedings. Paternity actions are most commonly commenced to initiate child support for a minor child born out of wedlock. Once paternity is established, either voluntarily or through the use of genetic testing, the court will enter a judgment that establishes custody, parenting time, and child support.

Post-judgment matters – Following the entry of an Order or Judgment, our attorneys can assist you in modifying provisions regarding child support, child custody, and parenting time. Provisions in regard to minor children are always modifiable upon a change of circumstances or with proper cause shown. Additionally, although property provisions in a divorce proceeding are rarely modifiable, we can assist you in enforcement of property provisions that are contained within the Judgment of Divorce.

Divorce Mediation – Prior to any matter proceeding to trial, parties frequently attend mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution. Our attorneys frequently attend mediation with clients, where we assist them in reaching settlements while still protecting their parental rights and with the goal of an equitable property distribution so as to avoid the financial and emotional stress of courtroom litigation.

Change of Domicile – Following the entry of an order or judgment which governs the custody of a minor child, a parent cannot move that minor child more than 100 miles from their legal residence at the time of the initial court proceeding with permission of the court or the consent of the other party, except in very limited circumstances. The Smith Law Offices, P.C. can assist you in the filing of the proper petition to achieve your desired move in excess of 100 miles or from the State of Michigan.

Stepparent Adoption – Our attorneys can assist custodial parents and his/her spouse when the stepparent wishes to adopt his/her stepchild. Termination of the rights of the parental rights of the noncustodial legal parent, the putative (alleged) father, or the unknown father must occur before the adoption is granted, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis.

We understand your concerns about the cost of legal proceedings. We strive to provide affordable representation while always looking for ways to achieve your desired outcome in the most cost-effective manner.

Michigan Divorce & Family Law FAQs

At The Smith Law Offices, P.C., we know that divorce brings many questions about your future, your finances, and your children. When you hire us to help you with your divorce, we will meet with you face-to-face to discuss your legal options and create a plan for protecting your interests. Until then, continue reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked divorce questions

 In Michigan, you do not need to allege any of those “faults” or issues in order to file for divorce.

Michigan is a “no fault” divorce state, which means the courts don’t require a person to prove that their spouse’s “bad acts” or bad behavior was the cause of the divorce. (In contrast, in states where “fault” is allowed as a ground, people cite issues such as cheating/adultery, abandonment, substance abuse, etc.)

On average, no fault divorces resolves faster than fault-based divorces in other states. This is because neither party has to prove who is responsible for the divorce and dissolution of the marriage. A benefit to being in a no-fault state is that you do not have to have your spouse’s consent or agreement to end the marriage – you can file for divorce on your own and you can be the only party that wants it. Your spouse’s objection to the divorce or desire to stay married is not going to prevent the court from ultimately granting the divorce at the end of your case.

Without Fault, What do Courts Allow for Grounds?

The Michigan courts will find grounds (“a good reason”) to grant a divorce when one party asserts that there has been “a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” That language is specific to the Michigan statutes. In essence, it means that the spouses aren’t getting along and likely will not be able to repair the relationship.

Divorces are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. The main factor in the length of a divorce is the level of agreement on issues such as child custody and property division. Disagreements that cannot be resolved through negotiation result in litigation, extending the timeline and cost of the divorce.

Again, no two divorces are exactly alike. The main driver of cost is time and the involvement of attorneys. A couple that agrees on the major issues –an uncontested divorce –will save significant money when compared to a couple that disagrees on most issues and is willing to fight in court –a contested divorce.
No. Uncontested means that the couple agrees on the solutions for issues such as child custody, support, and the division of the marital estate. It is still advisable to have an attorney draft the divorce documents in order to obtain the approval of a judge
No. Many divorces can be handled amicably through negotiation or mediation. Intractable disagreements, however, will require going to court. It is important to have an experienced attorney on your side who is equipped to negotiate, mediate, and litigate divorce issues
Possibly, but annulments are rare. They are only granted under very limited circumstances where a marriage is found to be void or voidable. An attorney can help you determine if your situation qualifies for annulment. If not, pursuing a divorce is the next step

Contact Our Office For A Free Initial Consultation

The Smith Law Offices, P.C., offers a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Westland family law attorney, contact our office online or call us at 734-729-4465.