Nelson Mandela’s Legacy

As everyone knows, Nelson Mandela died recently. As some news reports mentioned he was an attorney by profession. Mr. Mandela surely was one of the most impressive attorneys of our lifetime, perhaps of all time. He has to rank up among the most honored of our profession. Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. United States Supreme Court Justices come to mind: Thurgood Marshall, Oliver Wendel Holmes Junior, William O. Douglas, Benjamin Cardozo and I would add Harry Blackmun although I suppose there is some room for debate about Justice Blackmun. Read more


A recent article in the Grand Rapids Press involved the mother of a son who was killed by one of his friends. The death was accidental, although a direct result of some poor choices and “horse play” by the young men. The article discussed how the deceased boy’s mother had forgiven her son’s friend for her son’s death. In a somewhat ironic twist, she was not allowed to visit her son’s killer as it is violated prison rules since she was not a relative of the prisoner. Read more

I thought I’d be divorced in six months?

You file for divorce, your spouse files a response. Then what? Do you just sit around for six months and wait for a court to, well, “divorce” you? The Michigan law requiring divorcing parties with minor children to wait six months is often hard for unrepresented litigants to understand. The six-month waiting period, in the most simplest terms, means that the court cannot grant a divorce (cannot grant a final order on custody, cannot order the division of your “stuff”) until the expiration of 180 days from the date a case is started. Read more

Prenuptial Agreements: Wave of the Future or Not Worth the Paper

Perhaps it is just another sign of the times, but requests for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements seem to be on the rise in recent years.  In an era where divorce is more common than it is not, the days of hoping for the best has securely been replaced with planning for the worst.

With this pre-planning comes a misconception that a future divorce will be less complicated and cheaper when a prenuptial agreement has been executed. Read more

Be Careful on Social Media

In my last blog, the three of us take turns; I talked about how it is possible to learn a lot about opposing parties in divorce cases by using social media. It is a dilemma for us and our clients as to how much time and effort (i.e. attorney fees) to use in cases researching social media. We try to have a discussion with our clients regarding the pros and cons of investing time in that issue. The flip side of that question is what social media content says about our clients. Read more

The Double-Dip: What does it even mean?

A common issue in divorce cases revolves around business interests, often held by one spouse and not the other. Business interests are marital assets, divisible upon divorce. The tricky part is determining what the business is worth and how the owner spouse compensate the non-owners spouse for their interest?   The so-called “double-dip” scenario involves whether or not the value of a business, and the excess earnings derived from same, can be considered when valuing a business and when considering spousal support. Read more

Social Media and Other Information Sources

In a recent article in The Lawyer’s Weekly, a magazine for attorneys, talked about the terms of social media and other means to collect information. The article was not focused only on family law, but since our firm specializes in family law it is the area that our firm spent its’ time to discussing. Read more

Is Our Agreement a Legal Contract?

Often, agreements between spouses are the result of what attorneys sometimes call the “kitchen table” approach. Husband and wife know their separation and divorce is inevitable, so they sit down, without attorneys, and decide how they want to divide their assets. Many times, these “kitchen table” agreements result in a formal, signed document, which then leads to a final judgment of divorce. Read more

Damages Available in Show Cause Proceedings

One frustrating part about domestic relations judgments and orders has to do with the enforcement of them.  If one party to a case is ordered to do something and fails to do it, the aggrieved party must file a motion to enforce the order.  The result: another court order ordering the party to do what he or she has already been ordered to do! Read more

Child Support Options in the Collaborative Process

Whenever there are minor children one issue that must be addressed, whether a case is collaborative or not, is child-support. Obviously it costs money to raise children.

In the litigation realm generally the information requested by the Michigan Child Support Foundation (i.e. incomes, tax status, overnights, medical insurance for children, and childcare) is put into the state approved software and a for child support number is generated. This number reduces as each child reaches age eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Also there is a formula for paying children’s medical expenses. Read more