The Michigan Marriage Equality trial started Tuesday in the United States District Court in Detroit. It is scheduled to continue for 8 days and is focusing so far on the ability and challenges for LGBT couples raising children. The Free Press summarized Wednesday’s testimony by University of Michigan law professor Vivek Sankaran, saying
“When a parent in a same-sex relationship dies, the surviving partner faces a quagmire of legal hurdles to gain custody of any kids.”
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on March 3, 2014
Michigan’s Revocation of Paternity Act (Revocation Act), which was passed in 2012, has reached the Court of Appeals, and the result has been a lot of judicial confusion and disagreement. The most recent appeals decision only added to the confusion with three separate opinions that gave no guidance to family law practitioners. (more…)
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on February 17, 2014
Michigan’s highest court is scheduled to hear the appeal of an opinion that shocked many family lawyers in the state. The question the state Supreme Court will decide is whether grandparents have visitation rights only through their children (the parents), or whether there is an independent right for grandmas and grandpas to spend time with their grandchildren. (more…)
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on January 30, 2014
There’s no question that divorce and custody disputes can raise emotions and create tension between a child’s mother and father. In particularly high-conflict cases counselors at the Friend of the Court will often tell parents “just treat him [or her] like you would a stranger.” But psychology suggests that that might not be enough. (more…)
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on December 30, 2013
As you gather up the wrapping paper and stack all the new presents under the Christmas tree, you may wonder what would happen to those gifts if you were to get divorced. Can he take back the diamond necklace you just unwrapped? What about the car you just committed to pay for over the next 2 years? (more…)
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on December 26, 2013
The holiday season can be a stressful period for anyone, but when you add to it a contentious custody situation, the result can be a very blue Christmas for you and your children. By the 12th day of Christmas, your experience may be: (more…)
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on December 23, 2013
“Man Carrying Question Mark” by hyena reality on freedigitalphotos.net
If you come in for a consultation at Schmidt Law Services, or most other lawyers’ offices, you’ll be asked to fill out a lengthy information sheet. It might seem like more information that an attorney could ever need to handle your matter, but there really is a reason behind all those questions.
Information Required by the Court
Some of the things the lawyer asks for go directly onto forms required by the court. For example, the Friend of the Court requires hair and eye color, height and weight on their initial Title IV-D Application. That information is used to issue bench warrants if child support is not paid. If the information is not provided it can cause problems when a resolution is reached and your lawyer is trying to close the case.
Writing Out Your Story
Other questions on the information form could seem redundant. Especially if you are filing out the information right after your initial consultation it could feel like the attorney should already know what is going on in your case. But these kind of narrative questions serve two purposes:
- It corrects misunderstandings between you and your lawyer early on and makes sure you are on the same page regarding the facts and your priorities.
- Writing out your story will help you put things together in your mind and will give you something to refer back to in preparing to testify.
If you skip these questions you could find yourself at odds with your attorney because she relied on her interpretation of events, which might not be your interpretation.
Getting to Know You
There may also be questions on the information form that seem irrelevant to the case at hand. You might be asked about your volunteer affiliations or who you live with. These questions are designed to allow your lawyer, and through him your judge, to get to know who you are. One of the dangers of busy courts is that you can become just another face. By incorporating these personal details, your attorney can inspire empathy and help distinguish you from the rest of the docket.
It may seem like your lawyer asks a lot of questions, especially at the beginning of the case. But the inquiries are likely based on the attorney’s experience, the kind of questions she knows to expect, or efforts to make your case important to the judge. Take your time and answer as completely as you can, so that you can help your lawyer help you.
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on December 19, 2013
A lot of stepparents look forward to the day when they can unify their families by adopting their stepchildren. But a Court of Appeals case from earlier this year could make that wait a lot longer. What’s worse, the court’s decision all depended on one little word: “the.” (more…)
Posted by Schmidt Law Services on November 21, 2013