Many people who get divorced, whether they have an attorney or not, believe that once the divorce judgment is entered, the case is over. If you don’t have children, many times that is true, but in family law, nothing is forever. Many Courts won’t tell you that, and many attorneys who practice family law won’t advise clients about the fact that custody, parenting time, child support, and failures to comply with the terms of a judgment of divorce, along with a list of other potential issues, are all reviewable by a Court and can change, if one party can prove to the Court that a change is necessary. Other than child and spousal support, the most common post-judgment motion for modification of a judgment in family law cases involves custody of a child or multiple children. When these motions are filed by unrepresented persons, or by lawyers who are not familiar with family law, they are often unmerited or aren’t really requesting a change in custody, but rather, are seeking to increase or decrease one party’s parenting time.
There are a lot of misconceptions about child support held by people who don’t deal with family law issues.
First, the notion that only fathers pay child support is not true, at least, not under the rules in Michigan, and in many other states.
A second misconception is that Courts don’t account for all parts of a person’s income. While the Court can only make decisions based on the information that is actually provided to it, supported by documentation at a hearing, it is the individual’s job to make sure they are presenting evidence to accurately show their income.
In family law cases, and in other civil matters in general, the Courts generally require the parties to try and work out their differences without needing to go to trial. The Courts use a number of different methods to try and resolve the disputes between parties, without he need for Court intervention. Those various methods are universally referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution. The methods used are commonly referred to as facilitation, mediation and arbitration. Whether you have a divorce, child custody case, child support, spousal support or other family law issue, odds are good you will be ordered to participate in alternative dispute resolution by your Judge.
The Michigan Court of Appeals issued a published opinion on December 5, 2017 regarding child custody and parenting time, where the parties have an Acknowledgment of Paternity, but no subsequent written agreement or Court Order regarding custody and parenting time. In Natassia T. Sims v. Danny Darney Verbrugge, the Court of Appeals addressed the procedure by which an acknowledged father can gain custody or parenting time after an acknowledgement of paternity is signed. You can read the opinion by clicking here.