Detroit Family Law Firm for Women

Compassionate Family Law Attorneys Advocating for Mothers

The attorneys here at Woodford Sathappan McGee are dedicated to providing compassionate and holistic support to women facing family-related legal issues. We exclusively represent women, which gives us a unique ability to meet their needs and guide them toward a bright future.

Our Detroit family law attorneys all share a passion for empowering women with knowledge of their rights and helping them to feel secure and confident. We will guide you through issues such as divorce, child custody, property division, missing child support payments, divorce modification, domestic violence, and more.

We will help you and your former spouse negotiate where possible. However, we are skilled in the courtroom and will go the distance to protect your rights if necessary.

Arrange a free consultation with an experienced lawyer by calling our law offices today at 380-212-3731.

Child Custody Issues in Detroit, MI

Child custody issues are often very emotional for everyone involved. All family law decisions that involve children must be made based on their best interests. However, it is common for people to disagree about how to achieve that.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we always strive to ensure that children’s needs are prioritized. In most cases, that involves establishing a parenting plan that keeps both parents in the child’s life, while also fostering stability.

We will help you and your former spouse come to an amicable agreement that considers everyone’s needs and is personal to your family situation. If this cannot be achieved, then we will fight for you in a courtroom.

In Michigan, each parent may be granted legal custody and/or physical custody.

Legal Custody

When someone is granted legal custody over a child, it means that they have a legal right to make important decisions on their behalf, such as those involving schooling, religious practices, and medical care.

Legal custody could be granted to one or both parents. If it is shared, then parents will need to cooperate to make important decisions on their child’s behalf together.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangements. A child might spend equal time living with each parent, or they may live with one parent for a majority of the time (the custodial parent), and the other parent will be granted visitation rights (the noncustodial parent).

If one parent has taken on the majority of the parenting responsibilities in the past, then it may make sense for them to be the custodial parent, especially if the other parent has a demanding job. Often this type of arrangement creates more stability for the child who benefits from a primary residence and visitation rights with their other parent.

A common visitation schedule is every other weekend and one weekday evening each week. However, there are many forms that visitation can take, so long as it remains within the minimum state guidelines.

Sole Custody

Most custody cases will result in some form of joint arrangement. However, if you are concerned that your child’s other parent poses a risk to their wellbeing, then you can request supervised visitation or sole custody.

In order to be granted sole custody, you will need to present strong evidence to a Judge to prove that it is necessary. At Woodford Sathappan McGee we can help you gather evidence and will present your case to a Judge.

If you or your child are at risk we can also file for a protection order, which will keep your former spouse away from you and your child while a decision is made. We have helped numerous women in abusive situations and understand the care and dedication these cases require.

Michigan Child Support Orders

Child support is often a lifeline for single mothers and ensures that they can meet their child’s daily needs. Parents are required to provide for their children financially and so if you are your child’s primary caregiver, you may be owed child support.

Child support payments must be made in line with state guidelines, and if an obligated parent misses payments, they can face severe penalties. In Michigan, payments should be made until a child turns 18, or up to 19.5 if they are still in full-time education. However, if a child has an incapacity that prevents them from being financially independent, then child support payments may need to continue to be paid.

The attorneys at Woodford Sathappan McGee can help you with all child support issues, including issuing a new order, modifying an existing one, or recovering missing payments. We understand the importance of child support and will fight to ensure your child’s needs are met.

Property Division in Michigan

Over the course of a marriage, assets such as a home, vehicles, bank accounts, and investments build up and become shared property. Dividing these assets is one of the complex factors in divorce, and how it is approached will have a big impact on your stability moving forward.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we will learn what’s important to you and will fight to protect it. For example, if you are the primary caregiver for your children, perhaps it is justified for you to keep the family home.

Regardless of whether your marital estate is small or large or if it involves complex assets such as self-owned businesses, debts, or high-value assets, we can help.

The first thing you and your former spouse will need to do is to divide your property into separate and marital.

Separate Property

Separate property is a property that belonged to each spouse individually before they were married and therefore continues to do so upon divorce. Any assets that were gifted or inherited by an individual over the course of the marriage may also remain separate.

Marital Property

Marital property covers all assets that you or your former spouse acquired while you were married to each other. Michigan is an equitable distribution state which means that marital property, including any bank accounts, real estate, investments, and self-owned businesses, is subject to just and fair division.

Diving your marital property in a just and fair way can create a lot of hostilities. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we will help you and your former spouse negotiate an agreement if possible. We will ensure that factors such as who the custodial parent is, the ability of each spouse to earn money, and the needs of each spouse are all taken into consideration.

Michigan Spousal Support 

When a marriage ends, one spouse is sometimes ordered to pay spousal support to the other. They are not always awarded, and if they are, then it is because the receiving spouse requires support to meet their financial needs.

If spousal support is awarded, it is usually temporary. It could be awarded during the divorce process and then stopped, or it could be awarded upon divorce for a set amount of time so that the receiving spouse can undergo training or find employment. The goal of temporary spousal support is to give the receiving spouse the time and space they need to become financially independent. This could be especially important for mothers who sacrificed opportunities to care for their children.

Permanent spousal support is reserved for cases where spouses are separating after a long marriage, and the reciting spouse is not able to become financially independent due to poor health, old age, or a disability.

Your divorce lawyer at Woodford Sathappan McGee will review your case, and if you have a right to spousal support, then we will advocate on your behalf. This is one of the ways that we can support women in creating a better future for themselves.

Domestic Abuse in Michigan

If you are experiencing domestic violence, it is important to take action to protect yourself and your children. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Reach out for help: You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for immediate assistance. They can provide you with resources and help you create a safety plan.

  2. Seek medical attention: If you have been physically injured, seek medical attention immediately. It is important to document any injuries for future legal action.

  3. Contact the police: If you feel threatened or in danger, call 911. The police can help protect you and your children.

  4. Obtain a restraining order: A restraining order is a legal document that prohibits an abuser from contacting or coming near you. Contact a family law firm that specializes in domestic violence cases to help you obtain a restraining or protective order.

  5. Gather evidence: Keep a record of any incidents of abuse, including dates, times, and what happened. This can be useful in obtaining a restraining order or in future legal proceedings.

If you have suffered any form of domestic abuse from your ex-spouse, then we want to help. We know that taking those first steps isn’t easy, and we will get to work quickly to file a protection order and keep your spouse away from you and your children. We can help you obtain a restraining or protective order, file for divorce or custody, protect your legal rights, and provide you with resources and referrals to other services, such as counseling or support groups. It is important to work with a law firm that has experience in handling domestic violence cases and understands the unique challenges faced by victims of abuse.

If you are navigating family law issues such as divorce or child custody, we will work with you to gather evidence and to ensure that the Judge is aware of your experiences and takes them into consideration in every decision.

Our law firm exclusively represents women, which has enabled us to create a safe space where they feel heard and supported. Our attorneys share a passion for helping women and meeting their needs, which gives us a unique ability to support them through even the most difficult situations, such as those involving abuse and violence.

We understand that it can be a very scary and difficult situation to navigate. It is important to know that you are not alone, and that there are resources available to help you and your family. Our team is here to provide you with the advocacy and support that you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. We are committed to helping you obtain the legal protections that you deserve, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that your voice is heard and your rights are upheld. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance or guidance.

 Changing the Terms of Your Court Order

Once you have a court order for child custody, child support, or the terms of your divorce decree, you will probably feel a deep sense of relief. Now you have the guidance you need to move forward with your life. However, sometimes life changes, and the terms you once agreed to may no longer work for you or your children.

An attorney from Wooford Sathappan McGee, can help you file for a modification. In order for your modification to be successful, your attorney will help you provide evidence for a substantial change in circumstances. Examples could include job loss, changing needs of your child, the discovery of hidden assets, or a change of income.

You can request a child support order review every 36 months in Michigan, and payments may change in line with up-to-date guidelines.

What Happens If My Ex-Spouse Ignores An Order Made By The Court?

A court order, such as a child custody order, child support order, or divorce decree, is legally binding. That means that if your former spouse ignores their obligations, you can take action against them.

For example, if your former spouse has missed several child support payments, then they will owe you for every payment they have missed. Missed payments never disappear, and they will need to pay you what they owe eventually.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we believe in protecting family dynamics wherever possible. Therefore, we will first try to negotiate an agreement with your former spouse. Perhaps they have a good reason for missing payments and can pay you back in installments.

However, if they refuse to cooperate, then we can help you file contempt proceedings with the court. A Judge could garnish their wages, seize assets, take away a professional license, or even issue a jail sentence to enforce compliance.

It is important that you follow the proper legal process and do not try to take matters into your own hands. For example, if you refuse visitation with your child because you are missing child support payments, you would also be guilty of contempt. Visitation and child support are separate issues, and you must continue to facilitate visitation even if you are missing payments. We understand how frustrating this can be, and we will get to work quickly to recover what you are owed.

Divorce, Separate Maintenance, and Annulment in Detroit, MI

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we offer honest family law advice. If you want to leave your spouse but are unsure about whether divorce is the right option, we can help you explore your options. We will ensure that you understand all of the ramifications of each decision so that you can make an informed choice.

In Michigan, there are two alternatives to divorce. Separate maintenance, which is referred to as legal separation in some other states, is an option for some people. Separate maintenance means that you remain legally married but separate and can seek guidance on key issues such as child custody and property division. Some people choose this option due to their religious beliefs because they hope to reconcile one day, to maintain health insurance, or for other personal reasons.

If you are considering separate maintenance, then it is important that you understand all of the implications based on your specific circumstances. We offer a free consultation so that you can get the information you need.

The second alternative is an annulment. When a marriage is annulled, it means it was never valid, and therefore you were never really married in the first place. Justifications include age, the relationship of the parties, mental incompetence, bigamy, or marriage through fraud or force.

Detroit Family Law Firm For Women FAQ

At Woodford Sathappan McGee we are proud to be female-led. We have worked with many women who have a preference for working with other women, and we are always prepared to meet their needs.

In Michigan, there is a six-month waiting period for divorce. However, it is common for divorce to take longer, especially if there are a lot of contested issues. At Woodford Sathappan McGee we understand that you want to get your family life settled as quickly as possible, and we will strive to keep the process moving forward without compromising your rights.

The cost of representation depends on the details of your case. We offer a free consultation so we can assess what your case could cost so that you can make an informed choice. We strive to offer affordable legal services to women in Detroit, and although each spouse is usually responsible for their fees, if there is a significant wage disparity, the court may order your former spouse to cover some of your costs.

If you need guidance on key issues such as child custody, who remains in the family home, and how bills will be paid, while your divorce is being finalized, your attorney will help you file for temporary orders. The court could issue temporary orders which will be in place until your divorce decree is issued.

Speak to One of Our Family Lawyers for Mothers in Detroit, MI 

Most women facing family law issues have never needed an attorney before and finding the right one can feel overwhelming. Considering the long-lasting implications of the outcome of family law matters, the choice is an important one.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our law firm solely represents women in family law issues, which gives us a unique ability to meet their needs. Your attorney will become your advocate and guide, and will always act with one goal in mind – for you to move forward with your life in confidence and stability.

We will help you and your former spouse negotiate where possible. However, we are skilled litigators and will present your case in court if necessary.

Regardless of the complexity of your family law matter, we have the skills, resources, and experience necessary to help. If you’re in need of legal representation for a family law matter, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a no-cost consultation. We’ll take the time to listen to your story, understand your concerns, and provide personalized legal solutions that meet your individual needs. With Woodford Sathappan McGee on your side, you can have confidence that your voice will be heard and your interests will be protected.

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