Child Support Income Calculations

When it comes to trying to cheat the child support system, the Michigan courts have seen it all. They have seen drastic maneuvers by desperate parents eager to manipulate their income to avoid paying more support than they feel is fair. Unscrupulous ex-spouses may use tricky tactics to artificially reduce the income that is the basis for calculating child support. The thought process is that “I’m not giving my ex any more of my hard-earned money than is absolutely necessary.” The failure in that thinking is that the kids are the ones that lose. So the Michigan Child Support Formula Continue Reading…

Grandparenting Time Allowed Under Michigan Law

In Michigan, grandparents have the right to seek Grandparenting Time with grandkids after the parents’ divorce, legal separation or annulment if two very specific conditions are met, according to Michigan Legislature. Guidelines for Grandparenting Time Eligibility Number One – The Grandparent is only eligible for visitation time if he or she cannot have access to the grandchildren during his or her child’s custody time. To clarify, we’ll establish a common scenario using generic names. So let’s say the Grandparents are Arthur and Beatrice. Their child, Thomas, has a daughter, Anne. Arthur and Beatrice can only seek Grandparenting Time with Anne if Thomas is Continue Reading…

Embrace the Disneyland Dad (or Mom)

Disclaimer: Let us just say up front that we at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates know that the original term Disneyland Dad is sexist and cliché. We know moms are just as prone to spoiling their kids as dads. So for the purposes of the blog to follow let’s just be clear that we are not making a comment about the parenting priorities of an entire gender. The label simply rolls off the tongue better than “Unnamed Theme Park Parent of Unspecified Gender.” We have seen enough co-parent clients come through our office to know that all mothers and fathers, come Continue Reading…

Summertime Custody Considerations Should Include Best Interests Factors

Memorial Weekend and high-school graduations mark the start of summertime in Michigan. For many working parents, not much changes with the new season other than the weather. But for many lucky kids, summertime in Michigan might mean camps and S’mores, hiking trips Up North, sleepovers and softball games. For divorced families, all these activities can bring scheduling conflicts, parenting time questions and summertime custody considerations. “We handle a lot of parenting time conflicts at the start of summer because kids’ activities tend to be more spontaneous this time of the year,” says experienced South Lyon Child Custody Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler. “When Continue Reading…

Tips for Successful Parenting Coordination Process

The Parenting Coordination Process is a mediation arrangement where co-parents work with a coordinator to resolve child-custody related matters. QUESTION: Which parenting scenarios might be prime for Parenting Coordination Process? A: A parent is consistently late for child visitation exchanges. The parents repeatedly fight and return to court over drop-off and pickup arrangements. B: Ex-spouses disagree about a child’s mental health treatment plan. There is regular conflict regarding medications, supplements, vitamins, diet and exercise. C: A parent has a new job and wants a permanent, one-time alteration to the visitation schedule. D: Both parents generally work well together but dispute Continue Reading…

Children of Parental Alienation Suffer as Adults

As incidences of Parental Alienation Syndrome increase, therapy professionals are looking at the long-term impacts on the children of high-conflict divorces. Children of Parental Alienation Suffer Later in Life According to Edward Kruk, Ph.D., “Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept of “parental alienation syndrome” 20 years ago.” Now, decades later, the children identified as being the subjects of Parental Alienation are becoming young adults and encountering difficulties in the own marriages and parenting relationships. It manifests itself in narcissistic behaviors, addictions, and difficulty co-parenting. The term Parental Alienation is used to describe a perpetual pattern of one parent brainwashing the Continue Reading…

Drug abuse: 5 things I wish my family law clients knew

Dear Drug or Alcohol Abuser, I’ve been a family law attorney for more than 20 years now and I have seen families ripped apart by alcohol and drug abuse. I’ve also witnessed the positive, reaffirming and heartwarming tales of parents reunited with children after a scary bout with addiction. The path of alcohol and drug use->abuse->addiction-> ruin is not a certain one. Clients have recovered. So whether drug abuse or alcohol abuse is the primary source of legal trouble or compounding it, there are five items I wish my family law clients knew about drug abuse and testing that can prevent a bad Continue Reading…

Child Support After Parent Death

When negotiating divorce and child custody agreements, it’s important to prepare for all possible scenarios. In terms of child support and custody, unfortunately, one of those scenarios is the death of one of the parents. It’s tragic to imagine this scenario from a child’s emotional perspective. As uncomfortable as it is to speculate, the potential death of either the custodial or non-custodial parent should be considered. Death of Non-Custodial Parent In the case of the death of a parent paying child support, the custodial parent may wonder where funds will come from. “It’s unfortunate when a parent who was charged Continue Reading…

Established Custodial Environment Factors in Custody Decision

When challenging custodial arrangements, the courts will consider not only the 12 Best-Interest Factors but the existence of an Established Custodial Environment as well. Established Custodial Environment Important in Custody Fight In any custody challenge, the courts will first look to see if there is proper cause for seeking a change. The proposed custody change must be shown to not just be good for the child but sufficiently beneficial to warrant disrupting the existing situation. In establishing proper cause to revisit custody arrangements, according to M.C.L.A. 722.23(a-l), 722.27(1)(c), the relevant facts “must be of a magnitude to have a significant Continue Reading…

Michigan Custody Question Answered in Ask An Attorney

White Lake Custody Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler answers Michigan Custody Question Milford Family Law Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler was recently featured in a West Oakland County Spinal Column News feature answering a Michigan Custody Question about the child’s role in changes to existing custody orders. She discussed what goes into a court’s decision regarding a Michigan custody question and whether a child can contribute to the decision-making. Wayne-Spindler explains that the court can opt to hear the child’s preference privately. The child’s wishes are just one of 12 factors that determine custody and visitation orders in Michigan. The others include the mental, emotional, Continue Reading…