The attorneys at Woodford Sathappan McGee share a goal of supporting women through family law issues so that they can feel confident about their future. We believe that every woman deserves to live in security and stability, and we will help foster that by providing experienced representation.
Whether you are facing a difficult divorce, a child custody battle, property division, or post-divorce issues such as modification and contempt proceedings, we are here to help. We are also uniquely prepared to help women facing complex divorce and family law matters, such as high-asset divorce or high-conflict situations.
We will always prioritize negotiation and amicable agreements so that you can come to personalized arrangements that meet your needs. However, we are experienced trial lawyers and will always be prepared to represent your case before a Judge. If children are involved in your case, we will prioritize their best interests in every decision we make.
Parents have rights and responsibilities toward their children, such as ensuring that their child’s emotional and financial needs are met. When parents are not together or if they separate, it is important to have guidance on matters such as parenting time and child support.
When court orders are in place, it ensures that everyone’s needs are met, and the child has a stable routine that serves their best interests.
All family law decisions involving children must be made based on their best interests. Although both parents usually want that, they often disagree about how to achieve it. Your attorney from Woodford Sathappan McGee will help you negotiate with your spouse so that you can form personalized agreements that best serve your children.
If the child spends most of their time with one parent, the other parent could be required to pay child support. Child support payments are based on state guidelines, which consider both parents’ gross monthly income, the number of children, and other factors.
Child support payments can be used for anything supporting the child’s upbringing, including shelter, medical costs, and food. Payments continue to be paid until the child turns 18 or until the age of 19.5, depending on when they complete their full-time education.
However, there are exceptions to these rules. For example, in a high-asset divorce, a higher child support order might be issued that deviates from state guidelines. This could be done to meet the child’s unique needs, such as private education fees. Child support may also be paid indefinitely if the child has a mental or physical disability preventing them from being financially independent.
Once a child support order is in place, it becomes legally binding, and there is no statute of limitations on payments. This means that if the obligated spouse misses payments, they must pay back what they owe. If they continue to miss payments, they could be held in contempt of court, which carries penalties such as fines and a potential jail sentence.
The attorneys at Woodford Sathappan McGee can help you with all child support issues, including creating a new order, requesting an order that deviates from state guidelines, recovering missing payments, or modifying an existing order. We understand how important child support is for mothers who rely on it to meet their child’s needs and provide the best life possible for their children.
The child custody arrangement is often the most emotionally charged family law issue. The agreement must be in the child’s best interests. This usually means striking a balance between keeping both parents in the child’s life and fostering stability and continuity for the child.
There are two forms of custody in Michigan: legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody involves the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. For example, where they will go to school, where they will live, and whether they will take part in religious practices. Legal custody could be given to one parent who is the primary caregiver, or it could be shared equally. In a joint legal custody arrangement, parents will be expected to communicate to make important decisions on their child’s behalf.
Physical custody involves the right to spend time with the child as their primary caregiver. Physical custody could be split equally, allowing the child to spend equal time with both parents. Or, one parent could take on the role of primary caregiver while the other has visitation rights. Although an equal division of parenting time might seem fair, it might be in the child’s best interests for them to have a primary residence with the parent who has historically taken on most of the parental responsibilities.
Usually, a joint physical custody arrangement is ordered, as it is often in the child’s best interests for them to have a strong relationship with both parents. The only reason a Judge would approve a sole custody arrangement is if the other parent poses a risk to their child’s well-being. If you believe that you should be granted sole physical custody, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. They will help you find evidence you can present to the Judge.
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we have helped numerous women in high-conflict child custody battles. We understand the care and dedication these cases require, and we will work tirelessly to help you reach an arrangement that serves your child’s best interests.
If you are facing divorce, your top concerns are likely to involve your children. However, there are other important considerations that will have a big impact on your future, including property division and spousal support. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we understand how difficult divorce can be and we will strive to ease the stress by providing comprehensive support and guidance.
Property division in divorce is often a complex and contentious process. The first thing your attorney will help you do is to decide what property is separate and what is marital.
Any assets that you came into the marriage with are separate property. Separate property could also include anything that was gifted to or inherited by you. Separate property remains yours after the marriage has ended.
Marital property is any property or assets that you or your spouse gained while you were married to each other. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, meaning that shared property must be divided in a just and fair way.
Your family attorney from Woodford Sathappan McGee will work with you to ensure a fair division in property that considers factors such as who has primary care of the children, the contributions of each spouse, the amount of separate property each spouse has, and whether one spouse was largely responsible for any marital debt.
Our family law attorneys are highly skilled in all property division matters and are uniquely prepared to help couples divide complex and high-value assets, such as high-valued businesses, multiple properties, and high-value pensions and investments. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, we can help ensure that your rights are protected and your future is secured.
When spouses separate, one spouse may pay financial support to the other. However, divorce law is complex and spousal support is not always awarded. If spousal support is awarded, it is to ensure that one spouse can meet their financial needs. Often, the order is temporary and is designed to allow the receiving spouse time to become financially independent.
Our Novi family lawyers have worked with many women who sacrificed opportunities to care for children. We believe that this should be an important consideration in determining whether someone is owed spousal support. If we believe it is appropriate in your case, then we will advocate fiercely on your behalf.
Your divorce lawyer will also fight for a permanent spousal support order if it is justified in your case. A permanent spousal support order could be possible if you were married to your spouse for a long time and you cannot become financially independent because of age, disability, or poor health.
If you have suffered any type of abuse from your spouse, whether it be physical, emotional, financial, or neglectful, we want to help. We exclusively represent women, which has allowed us to create a space where they feel supported and understood. We understand the importance of acting quickly in these situations and, if necessary, we will help you file for a protection order that will keep your spouse away from you and your children.
We will help ensure that your spouse cannot manipulate negotiations to get what they want and will help you put firm boundaries in place. We will also work with you to gather evidence so that the Judge is made aware of your experiences and can consider them when deciding on aspects of your case.
We understand how difficult it is to take those first steps. When you contact us, you can be assured that you have the support of someone who has your best interests at heart and who is committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive support.
If you are considering leaving your spouse, but you are not sure whether divorce is the right option for you, then we can help you explore your options in a free consultation. It is important that you understand all the implications of your decision before moving forward.
In Michigan, there are two potential alternatives to divorce. The most common one is separate maintenance, which you may have heard referred to as legal separation. If you proceed with separate maintenance, you remain legally married, meaning that you can reconcile at any time.
Under separate maintenance, you can seek court orders on all issues that you would typically decide in a divorce, such as child custody and child support. Spouses may decide on separate maintenance because of their religious beliefs, to maintain insurance benefits, or because of future reconciliation.
The second alternative is annulment. However, annulment is only available in certain situations. Some justifications for an annulment include bigamy, mental incompetence, or marriage through fraud or force. When you seek an annulment, it means that you were never legally married.
Divorce and other family law matters are some of the most difficult things that a person faces in their life. So, when it is over, you may feel relieved to finally move forward. However, sometimes issues arise. For example, your former spouse may not adhere to the terms of the divorce decree, or the terms you agreed upon may no longer be viable for you and your family. When this happens, you may need an attorney to help you take appropriate action.
If a court order, such as a divorce decree or child custody order, is no longer working for you or your children, then you can file for a modification. Although these orders are legally binding, the court also allows for changes, where appropriate.
If you and your spouse agree the changes are necessary and agree on what these changes should be, then you can jointly apply for a modification and you may not need to go to court. However, if your spouse does not agree to the changes, then you will need to file for a contested modification. This involves providing evidence of a substantial and material change in circumstances. A Novi family law attorney from Woodford Sathappan McGee can help you gather the necessary evidence and present it to a Judge.
With child support, you can apply for a review every 36 months. If the amount that would be ordered under up-to-date guidelines differs from your current order, then it may be modified.
If your former spouse repeatedly ignores the obligations laid out in the court order, we can help you. We will first try to negotiate with your ex-spouse in order to protect important family dynamics. However, when negotiations break down or where they are not possible, then we will help you file contempt proceedings with the court.
A Judge could issue fines, remove professional licenses, or even issue a jail sentence to enforce compliance. Ignoring the terms of a court order may also be a justification for a modification. It is important to know that child support payments never disappear. So, if your former spouse has repeatedly missed child support payments, then they will eventually need to pay you what they owe you.
Divorce is a legal process and the time it takes varies widely depending on the number of contested issues. These issues include whether you have children, the complexity of your assets, and the quality of your representation. There is a six-month waiting period for divorce in Michigan when minor children are involved and a sixty-day period without minor children. However, the process usually takes a lot longer than sixty days. We will help you keep the process moving forward at a steady pace.
Because divorce can take a long time to finalize, it is common for spouses to struggle to cooperate during the process. Your attorney can help you file for temporary orders so that you can gain legal guidance on things such as how debts are paid, who remains in the family home, and what the parenting schedule looks like. Temporary orders will usually be in place until the divorce has been finalized.
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we are proud of our team of male and female attorneys who are all committed to the needs of women. However, we are female-led and we understand some women feel more comfortable working with another woman. Some of our female attorneys have shared experiences of motherhood and divorce, and if this is something that is important to you, then we will happily accommodate.
The cost of an attorney depends on the details of your case. However, we are committed to supporting women to make informed choices that will impact their future. Therefore, we will give you an idea of how much your case will cost and what your options are before you sign up for representation. It is also worth knowing that if there is a significant wage disparity between you and your spouse or if you have suffered abuse of any kind, the Judge might order them to cover some of your fees.
For many women dealing with family law issues, the prospect of finding the right attorney can be daunting, especially if they have never required legal assistance before. Since the outcome of family law matters can have long-lasting implications, it is crucial to make the right choice.
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we specialize in representing women exclusively in family law issues, which sets us apart and allows us to address their specific needs effectively. Our attorneys will serve as your advocate and advisor, always prioritizing your ability to move forward with confidence and stability.
We will explore negotiation options with your former spouse where possible, but if litigation becomes necessary, we are skilled and experienced litigators prepared to represent your case in court.
No matter how complex your family law issue may be, we possess the skills, resources, and experience required to provide you with the necessary support.