Deciding to leave your spouse is never easy. Many women stay in unhappy marriages due to concern for how their children will cope with the divorce as well as how they will manage financially as a single woman. However, with an experienced divorce attorney by your side, you can have the guidance you need to make decisions that support your future.
Woodford Sathappan McGee is a family law firm that exclusively represents women. Our goal is to support you through the divorce process so that you can transition to a bright future. You may not realize what powerful constitutional rights you have, but with our guidance, you will know exactly where you stand so that you can make informed decisions.
When you secure representation from Woodford Sathappan McGee, you will benefit from an attorney-client relationship built on trust and empathy. We will create a space where your voice is heard, and where you are kept informed and engaged throughout the entire process.
Through our in-depth understanding of Michigan divorce law, thorough discovery process, creativity, and dedication to women, we will do everything we can to support you. We will minimize court involvement where possible, but we will always be prepared to advocate on your behalf in front of a Judge.
All divorce proceedings in Michigan typically follow a similar structure, although some details may differ depending on the individual case.
An attorney from Woodford Sathappan McGee will help you navigate the entire divorce process, ensuring that all paperwork is filed correctly and deadlines are met. We will keep the process moving forward at a steady rate without ever compromising your rights.
In Michigan, the divorce process takes at least six months when there are minor children involved. But, it often takes longer due to contested issues or complex matters that need resolving, such as property division and child custody matters. Therefore, it is common for spouses to need guidance while they wait for the final court orders to be issued.
An attorney from Woodford Sathappan McGee can help you apply for temporary orders, which could give you and your spouse guidance on matters such as the child custody arrangement you follow, who stays in the family home, and how bills are paid. These orders are usually in place until the divorce is finalized.
If you have children, their well-being is probably your biggest concern. In Michigan, there are two forms of custody: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody gives parents the right to make important decisions on behalf of their child, such as what school they go to, where their primary residence is, and the medical and dental care they receive. It is possible for legal custody to be granted to one parent, or parents may be required to share legal custody and work together to make these decisions.
Physical custody gives parents the right to spend time with their child as their primary caregiver. Physical custody can take many forms. It could be divided equally, so the child would spend an equal amount of time with both parents.
However, it is also common for one parent to take on the role of primary caregiver while the other has visitation rights. This may help create more stability for the child who will have a primary residence with one parent while still having regular contact with the other. A common visitation schedule in Novi is visitation every other weekend and one weekday evening each week. However, there are many forms that visitation can take.
All child custody decisions in Michigan must be made based on the child’s best interests, and it is usually in the child’s best interests if both parents share physical custody. The only reason this would not happen is if one parent poses a risk to their child’s well-being, such as evidence of abuse, neglect, a history of substance misuse, or a criminal record.
If you have concerns for your child’s well-being with your spouse, contact an attorney as soon as possible so that they can help evidence your claims to a Judge. The Judge must be presented with clear and convincing evidence to consider when making decisions about child custody.
Although everyone wants what is best for their children, it is common for spouses to disagree about what this means. However, your attorney from Woodford Sathappan McGee will facilitate negotiations and help you come to an amicable agreement that considers everyone’s needs while prioritizing those of your children. If negotiations fail or if they are not appropriate in your case, then we will be prepared to go to court on your behalf.
Parents have rights and responsibilities toward their children. Their rights include the right to spend time with their child as their primary caregiver. Their responsibilities include a duty to care for their child and meet their needs, both emotionally and financially.
Therefore, if one parent becomes the primary caregiver, the other parent will usually be required to pay child support. Child support can be used to pay for anything that meets the child’s needs, such as food, shelter, and medical costs.
The amount of child support that must be paid is often based on state guidelines, which consider the monthly gross income of both parents, how many children the spouses share, and the parenting schedule.
Once the child support order is in place, payments must be made. If the obligated parent fails to make payments, they will need to pay back what they owe, and they may be held in contempt of court if they repeatedly fail in their obligations.
Child custody is often one of the first things that people are desperate to resolve when faced with divorce. Once that has been dealt with, property division is the next complex issue that needs to be navigated. How your property is divided will greatly affect your financial security, so it is important to have the support of an attorney who can advocate for your rights.
The first job of your attorney will be to decide what assets are separate and what are marital. Separate assets are anything that you or your spouse came into the marriage with. These remain separate and continue to belong to each individual after divorce. If you own anything that was gifted to you or inherited, this may also be considered separate property.
Marital property is anything that was acquired by either party during the marriage. In Michigan, marital property is subject to equitable division, which means just and fair division. This is in contrast to some other states which divide marital property equally.
To ensure a just and fair division of property during a divorce, your attorney will ensure that the following are considered:
A high-asset divorce results from a marriage involving a large estate. If you and your spouse own significant assets, such as high-value investment rents, retirement accounts, multiple properties, or self-owned businesses, then your case will be particularly complex.
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we are uniquely prepared to help clients navigate high-asset divorce. We can help ensure that no assets are hidden and that you receive your fair share of marital property.
High-asset divorce cases may also result in a child support order that differs from state guidelines. This is because a standard child support order may be insufficient to meet your child’s needs. For example, if they attend private education, then this should continue, and you may need extra child support to facilitate this.
Spousal support is sometimes paid to one spouse during or after a divorce. It is only awarded in limited circumstances and is usually a temporary solution that could begin during the divorce process or afterward.
Spousal support is only awarded if the receiving spouse requires it to maintain a standard of living. It is usually a temporary order which gives the receiving spouse enough time to undergo training or find employment so that they can become financially independent.
There are also situations where a permanent spousal support order could be awarded. However, this usually only happens if the marriage lasts a significant amount of time and the receiving spouse cannot become financially independent because of caregiver responsibilities or because they have poor health, disability, or old age.
If you believe you should receive spousal support, we will help you fight for a fair agreement. For example, if you have sacrificed opportunities to care for children and a home, we will make sure this is considered. No woman should be left unable to leave a marriage due to fear of financial hardship and we will strive for an outcome that supports your future.
A high-conflict divorce usually results from a marriage that was dictated by abusive patterns. Fortunately, our divorce attorneys’ dedication to women has enabled us to create a space where women feel supported and heard. If you think your divorce has the potential to be high conflict, or if you have suffered any abuse, such as domestic violence or emotional abuse, then get in touch as soon as you can.
If necessary, we will file for a protection order that will keep your spouse away from you and your children while you decide on your next steps. We will help guide you through the divorce process, and we will help ensure that your spouse cannot manipulate the situation to get what they want. We will help you put firm boundaries in place and ensure that you have the space you need to make decisions from a place of clarity.
If you have suffered abuse, then we will work with you to gather evidence to ensure that the Judge understands the extent of your experiences and considers them in every decision. We know how difficult it is to take those first steps, and we want to help.
You have a right to divorce without legal representation. However, the decision to do so should be made with great care and consideration. The outcome of the divorce decree will have a huge impact on your future, so it is important that your rights are protected and that you have the support and guidance you need to protect your future.
If you have no significant assets and no children, then you may be tempted by a do-it-yourself divorce. However, you should at least seek a free consultation with our family law firm.
Separate maintenance allows you to seek court orders on all key issues that you would typically decide in a divorce, such as child custody and property division. However, you remain legally married and can reconcile at any time.
Some people choose this option because of their religious beliefs, to maintain insurance benefits, or because they hope to reconcile one day.
If you are considering separate maintenance, you should speak to an attorney so that they can advise you based on the specific circumstances of your case. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we can help you decide if separate maintenance is right for you.
In Michigan, you can divorce on the grounds that there has been a breakdown in the marriage and that the relationship cannot be preserved. Michigan is a no-fault state, which means that you do not have the option of making accusations in the initial filing. However, if there are important issues that need to be addressed, such as abuse, these can be brought to the Judge’s attention later in the proceedings.
Child support payments cease either when a child reaches 18 years of age or completes secondary education (up to the age of 19.5 years). However, if a child is incapable of achieving financial independence because of mental or physical incapacity, child support may be required to continue until the court determines otherwise.
Once your divorce has been finalized, it places legal obligations on all named parties. However, the court also understands that life changes, and sometimes terms that worked for you and your family, are no longer viable. When this happens, you can file for a modification.
If you and your ex-spouse both agree to the modification, then the process is relatively straightforward and you may not need to go to court. However, if you do not agree, an attorney can help you file for a contested modification. To be successful, you will need to provide evidence of a substantial and material change in circumstances such as job loss, illness, or a new child.
If you are a woman in Novi, Michigan, facing a divorce or other family law matter, Woodford Sathappan McGee is here to empower you with knowledge of your rights and the tools you need to secure a better future for yourself and your family.
Our law firm is dedicated to representing women exclusively and providing them with the support and guidance they need to navigate through the legal process successfully. Our Michigan managing attorney, Abby Richards, has a Juris Doctor degree, belongs to the Oakland County Bar Association, and belongs to the Family Law section with the Michigan State Bar Association.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Novi divorce attorneys, who will work tirelessly to protect your interests and help you achieve stability and security. Let us help you move forward into a brighter future with confidence.