Divorce is one of the most stressful life events that a person can go through. Not only are you dealing with the emotional fallout of the end of a relationship, but you also have to navigate the legal process of divorce. This can be a daunting task, particularly if you don't have any experience with divorce law. That's where a divorce lawyer comes in.
A divorce lawyer in Ann Arbor can help you understand the divorce process, protect your rights, and advocate for your best interests. If you're considering divorce, then it's important to find a divorce lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about Michigan divorce law.
Ann Arbor divorce lawyers at Francie L. Novar, PLLC have over 18 years of experience handling divorce cases in Michigan. They have a deep understanding of Michigan divorce law, and know how to navigate the divorce process in a way that minimizes stress and maximizes results. If you're facing divorce, then contact Francie L. Novar, PLLC to schedule a consultation.
After being in the center of a shaky marriage, the last thing you want is complicated and emotionally draining divorce proceedings. The very thought of family law issues like property division, custody, and alimony can make you fail to sleep at night. You need good legal advocacy, and you need it fast. Our firm can help.
Why Francie L. Novar, PLLC, Is Your Best Choice for Divorce Representation in Ann Arbor
At Francie L. Novar, PLLC, we have substantial experience representing both men and women in divorce matters.
We understand the stress and anxiety often associated with divorce. When you hire our Ann Arbor, MI divorce lawyer, we will take the time to listen carefully to your concerns and help you understand all your options.
In every divorce, whether contested or not, we will work closely with you throughout the process, from the decision to file divorce to negotiated settlements or trials to post-judgment requests for modification or enforcement.
Don't just take our word for it, click here to see reviews left by our previous divorce clients.
Francie L. Novar, PLLC is here to help. Schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options. We serve clients in Washtenaw, Livingston, Wayne, and Jackson Counties.
We will skillfully handle all matters in your Ann Arbor divorce, including:
- Child custody and visitation: Attorney Novar will help you reach an agreement that is both in the best interests of your children and also protects your rights as a parent.
- Child support: Whether you will pay support or receive support, Francie L. Novar, PLLC will review any child support orders to ensure compliance with Michigan guidelines and that all relevant income is included in the calculation.
- Alimony/spousal support: Attorney Novar will work to determine a fair resolution, whether you are paying or receiving support.
- Division of marital debts and assets: Attorney Novar will help you to equitably divide all marital debts and assets of your marriage, such as real and personal property, retirement accounts, investments and bank accounts, and business interests.
Any spouse can file for divorce in Michigan. Michigan is a "no-fault" divorce state, so a petitioning spouse does not need to prove that their partner caused the fallout of the relationship. The only ground, or reason, required for divorce in Michigan is that there has been a breakdown of the marriage and there is no reasonable likelihood that both spouses will reconcile.
- However, if a spouse did engage in bad behavior (e.g., domestic violence) that lead to the breakdown of the marriage, a party may ask the judge to consider the behavior when deciding spousal support/alimony and property division.
- The main requirement that Michigan spouses must meet to file for divorce is residency. To obtain a divorce in the state, either spouse must have lived in Michigan for the last 6 months, and a spouse should file for divorce in the circuit court in the county where either spouse has lived generally for 10 days.
Spouses can pursue several methods to settle their divorce. Spouses who mutually agree to divorce may pursue an uncontested divorce and settle their disputes in mediation or negotiation with the help of a divorce attorney in Ann Arbor, MI. Spouses who do not agree to divorce or the related disputes will pursue a contested divorce and, if mediation or negotiation is not successful, they will proceed to trial.
Who Can Receive Alimony in a Michigan Divorce?
Either spouse can ask for spousal support in a Michigan divorce. Spousal support is equitable in nature and a Court will determine what is fair based upon a number of factors. Michigan allows for permanent and transitional spousal support.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support is available to a spouse in a long-term marriage, who is unable to support themselves at a level they had become accustomed during the marriage due to years of financial dependence. However, even permanent support may decrease or end after retirement.
Transitional, or rehabilitative support, is typically awarded to a spousal who has been financially dependent during the marriage, and who will need support while they are gaining education and/or job skills so that they can enter the job market. Rehabilitative support will vary in the term (number of years) and amount. Support in Michigan is either modifiable or non-modifiable.
Support can also be paid in a lump-sum in cases where one spouse can afford to pay the entire support award in one single payment. Supporting spouses might prefer lump-sum support because they will not have a continuing obligation to make monthly or annual payments to an ex-spouse.
Which Factors Are Considered When Determining Alimony?
Some factors the court will consider when deciding on alimony include:
- the parties' past relations and conduct;
- each spouse's ability to work;
- the source and amount of property awarded to the parties in the divorce;
- the age and health of each party;
- the financial situation of each party;
- the needs of each spouse;
- the prior standard of living of the parties and whether the parties support other dependents;
- each parties' contribution to the marital estate;
- whether a spouse's conduct caused the divorce;
- how cohabitation affects a party's financial status; and
- any other general principles of equity.
Settling Child Custody
Child custody is another important and often contentious divorce matter. Parents may either create their own custody and parenting time plan or, if they cannot agree, defer to the court’s final decision. Above all, remember that the court will order or approve a child custody and parenting time arrangement that best meets the child’s interests.
According to the Michigan Child Custody Act, these best-interest factors for determining child custody include:
- the love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;
- each parent's ability and willingness to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue the education and raising of the child in religion or creed (if any);
- the ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs;
- how long the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
- the permanence of the family unit of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes;
- each parent's moral fitness;
- the parent's and the child's mental and physical health;
- the child's home, school, and community record;
- the child's reasonable preference;
- each parent's willingness and ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
- domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child; and
- any other factor the court deems relevant.
Are you looking for divorce forms or Michigan trial court information? Click here to find our resources.
Francie L. Novar, PLLC regularly represents parents, usually mothers, who have not worked outside the home during the marriage. If your spouse was the primary breadwinner in your marriage, you may be concerned about whether you can afford an Ann Arbor divorce lawyer.
Under Michigan law, if you can show that you are unable to pay for legal representation and that your spouse is able, the court must order your spouse to pay your attorney fees.
Or, you may need to defer your payment until you receive the proceeds from your property settlement. Do not hesitate to call me, and we can discuss payment options.