Oakland County Family Law Firm for Women

Oakland Family Law Attorneys Dedicated to Helping Women

A group of attorneys working together.At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our attorneys are committed to helping women with family law matters. We focus solely on representing women, which allows us to understand their needs and provide comprehensive support. Our goal is to guide women toward a positive future that is stable and secure.

Many women do not realize what powerful constitutional rights they have. We believe that the first step in helping women is to empower them with knowledge of their legal footing so that they can make informed choices. We will guide you from the beginning to the end of your case while also being there to lend a sympathetic ear when you need it.

Regardless of whether you are facing a high-conflict custody battle, high-asset divorce, missing child support payments, domestic violence divorce, or any other family law issue, we are here to help.

Our family law attorneys will help you and your former spouse negotiate where possible. However, we are also experienced in the courtroom and will fight for your rights using litigation if necessary.

Arrange a free consultation with an experienced family law lawyer at 380-212-3731.

Divorce, Separate Maintenance, and Annulment

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we help guide women through divorce on a daily basis. Many women stay in unhappy marriages for too long because they fear how they will manage independently. We aim to support women through divorce and ensure that their rights are upheld so they can leave their marriages feeling confident about their future.

Our divorce lawyers will help ensure that a fair outcome is reached in all decisions relating to your divorce such as property division, child custody, spousal support, and child support. With the right measures in place, you will have what you need to build an independent life for yourself.

If you are thinking about leaving your spouse but are uncertain whether divorce is the right option for you, we can assist you in exploring your options. We will make sure you understand all the ramifications of each decision so that you can make an informed choice.

One option that could be available to you is separate maintenance which allows you to remain legally married to your spouse while seeking court orders on all the family law issues that would typically be decided in a divorce. You may be considering this option because you hope to reconcile one day, for religious reasons, to maintain insurance benefits, or for a number of other reasons.

Another option for some people is annulment, which would mean that you were never legally married. However, annulment is only available if you can show that your marriage was never legal. Justifications could include mental incompetence, fraud or force, bigamy, age, or the relationship of the spouses.

Whatever option is right for you, it is important to seek the help of an attorney who can protect your rights throughout the process. At the very least, you should seek a free consultation so that you can gain clarity on your next steps.

Temporary Orders in Michigan

Divorce can take many months to finalize, so temporary orders, also known as preliminary orders, are sometimes necessary to ensure stability for a family and minimize conflict. They could decide things such as who remains in the family home, what the temporary custody arrangement is, and how bills are paid.

Temporary orders will usually be in place until your divorce decree is finalized. Your divorce attorney can help you request temporary orders so that you and your family have guidance while you navigate your divorce.

Property Division in Michigan

During a marriage, assets such as real estate, savings, pensions, and investments slowly accumulate. Those assets are likely to be marital property, which means that they must be divided upon divorce. Which assets you retain will have an impact on your financial stability when you leave your marriage, and so the agreement must be made with due care and consideration.

Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is subject to just and fair division, while separate property continues to belong to each individual.

Separate Property

Plastic toy family with a gavel.All assets that belonged to each individual spouse before they were married are separate property, which means that they are not subject to division upon divorce. Anything that was inherited or gifted to an individual while they were married may also be kept separate.

Marital Property

All assets that were acquired by either spouse while they were married are marital property, which means that they are subject to equitable distribution. Dividing property in a just and fair way can be challenging, and many factors should be taken into consideration, such as:

  • The ability of each spouse to earn money.
  • The custody arrangement.
  • The ability of each spouse to earn money.
  • How much separate property each spouse owns.

Your attorney from Woodford Sathappan McGee will work with you to learn what’s important to you and will help you negotiate a property division that supports your future. No matter the size or complexity of your estate, we can help.

Spousal Support 

Spousal support could be awarded during or after the divorce process so that the receiving spouse can meet their financial needs. It is usually a temporary solution and is designed to allow time for the receiving spouse to undergo training or find employment so that they can become financially independent.

Spousal support is often especially important for women who sacrificed opportunities to care for a home and children. If it is justified in your case, then your divorce lawyer will help you fight for a spousal support order that gives you the time and space you need to foster stability and independence.

Although spousal support is usually temporary, there are situations where the order is indefinite. However, a permanent spousal support order is reserved for cases where the couple has been married for a long time, and the receiving spouse cannot become financially independent due to disability, poor health, or age.

Child Custody Issues in Oakland County, MI

If you have children, then child custody is likely to be one of your biggest concerns. In accordance with Michigan law, all family law decisions that involve children must be made based on their best interests. That goal is also shared by the attorneys here at Woodford Sathappan McGee.

Most child custody cases will result in some form of shared parenting plan that protects the child’s relationship with both parents while also retaining as much stability in the child’s life as possible. We will help you negotiate a right parenting plan for your family. Or, if negotiation is not an option or you and your former spouse cannot agree, we will fight your case in the courtroom.

There are two types of custody that can be granted in Michigan, legal custody and physical custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody relates to where the child lives and how much time they spend with each parent. Most of the time, parents will share physical custody. Physical custody could be split equally, or the child may have a primary residence with one parent while the other has visitation rights.

If one parent has historically been the main caregiver for their children, then it may be in the child’s best interests for this to continue, especially if the other parent works long hours. A typical parenting schedule for the noncustodial parent is every other weekend and one weekday evening each week. However, a parenting schedule can take many forms depending on the needs of your family.

Legal Custody

Legal custody relates to the right to make important decisions on your child’s behalf. If a parent has legal custody, it means that they can make decisions such as where their child goes to school and what medical care they receive.

Legal custody could be shared by both parents, who will need to communicate with each other and make joint decisions. Alternatively, one parent could be granted sole legal custody, even if physical custody remains shared.

Could I be awarded sole custody in Michigan?

Although most custody cases result in a joint arrangement, you could be granted sole custody if the other parent poses a risk to their child’s wellbeing. Justifications for a sole custody arrangement could include a history of abuse or neglect, substance misuse, or an inability to meet the child’s needs.

In order to secure a sole custody arrangement, or if you believe that visitation should be supervised, you will need to present strong evidence to a Judge. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we will help you evidence your claims and fight for a custody arrangement that protects your children.

Domestic Abuse & Protective Orders in Michigan

Sad little boy with parents arguing at home. If you’re a mother facing a custody battle, the divorce attorneys for women’s needs are here to help and support you.Our law firm’s commitment to helping women and meeting their needs allows us to support those that are facing difficult situations such as abuse. If you have experienced any type of domestic abuse from your ex-partner, then we want to help.

We know how difficult it is to take those first steps, which is why we will get to work right away to file a protection order and keep your spouse away from you and your children. This will give you the space you need to work with your attorney to gather evidence and make sure the Judge is aware of your experiences and considers them in every decision.

Child Support in Michigan

Child support in Michigan is based on a formula that considers the parent’s income, the child custody arrangement, and other factors. The amount awarded is usually based on this formula, but it can also deviate if the Judge deems the formula amount to be inappropriate in your case. Possible justifications for a child support award that deviates from state guidelines could be a divorce involving high assets, or additional needs of the child.

Support payments are usually paid to the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MISDU), which then forwards the payment to the reviving spouse. Often child support is taken directly from the payers’ wages.

Child support can be used for all expenses associated with raising children, such as clothing, shelter, food, healthcare, and entertainment. The receiving spouse does not need to trace or justify how the payments are used.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we can guide you through all issues relating to child support, such as issuing a new order, recovering missing payments, or modifying an existing order. We understand that child support can be a lifeline for mothers and will fight for an outcome that enables you to meet your child’s needs.

Are Family Law Decisions Enforceable?

A court order such as a child support order, or a divorce decree is legally binding. That means it must be adhered to at all times unless there is a reasonable excuse for not doing so. Therefore, if your ex-spouse ignores the terms of an order then you can hold them accountable by filing contempt proceedings.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we can help you file contempt proceedings if appropriate in your case. If for example, you are missing child support payments, we will first try and negotiate an agreement with your ex-spouse to pay back what they owe you. If this fails then we will file contempt proceedings. A Judge could size assets, or even issue a jail sentence to enforce compliance.

It is important that you do not try and get back at a spouse who is ignoring the terms of a court order without following the proper legal processes. If, for example, you refuse visitation because of missed payments, then you could also be guilty of contempt.

Changing The Conditions of Your Michigan Court Order

A court order is legally binding, which means that if something is no longer working for you or your family, you cannot simply stop adhering to its terms. Instead, you should seek a modification.

If you and your former spouse both agree to the modification, and the change is in the best interests of your child, then a modification will be relatively straightforward. However, if you do not agree, then you will need to show that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances that justifies the modification, such as the changing needs of the child, a new job, or a new child.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we can help you with all post-divorce issues, such as modifications and contempt proceedings.

Oakland County Family Law FAQs

The cost of legal representation is dependent on the details of your case and the legal services you require. We offer a free consultation so that you can have all the information you need before you make a decision. Although most people are responsible for their own attorney fees, if your former spouse earns significantly more than you, then the Judge could order them to cover some of your costs.

In Michigan, child support usually ends when a child is between the ages of 18 and 19.5, depending on how old they are when they finish high school. However, if a child is unable to become financially independent due to an incapacity then they may require ongoing financial support.

Many law firms, including ours, offer free consultations so you can find out if your potential attorney is a good fit. Some things that are good to ask about include:

  • Can I see reviews from previous clients?
  • How much of your time is spent on family law?
  • Have you helped people in a similar position to me?
  • Do you have trial experience?
  • What is your availability like?
  • How will you support me?
  • What does a good outcome look like in my case and how will we get there?

Find Out More About Oakland County Family Law Services at WSM Today

Family law concerns are often highly emotional, and it is important that you have the support of an attorney who is dedicated to your needs. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, each of our attorneys shares a goal to support women to achieve their best possible future while also prioritizing the needs of their children.

We will help you and your ex-spouse negotiate the terms of your court order where possible, but we will always be prepared to present your case to a Judge if necessary. If you’re a mother in Oakland County, Michigan searching for a family law lawyer, you want someone who understands your unique needs and challenges. 

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we specialize in family law for women, and our experienced attorneys are dedicated to advocating for mothers in all areas of family law, including divorce, child custody, and domestic violence. Regardless of the complexity of your family law case, we can help. We have helped women with high-conflict custody battles, divorcing a narcissistic spouse, high-asset divorce, and other complex issues, and we always approach every case with the dedication they deserve. 

We understand that being a mother is a full-time job, and we work tirelessly to provide our clients with compassionate, effective, and efficient legal representation so they can focus on what matters most – their families. Our website provides comprehensive information on our services and team of attorneys, and we invite you to contact us today at 380-212-3731 to schedule a no-cost consultation and take the first step towards achieving the best possible outcome for you and your family.