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There are a couple advantages to being the first to file for divorce or a change of custody with the Wayne County Circuit Court. First, you set the tone for the proceedings and will put the other side on the defensive. Second, this will allow you to get orders from the Wayne County Circuit Court Judge protecting your children and money before your spouse even knows you filed with the court. Third, if the other side tries to file something after-the-fact, it appears as though it was done in retaliation.
Having access to money and credit is an important issue with any divorce. Do not let your soon to be ex-spouse dictate whether you will have access to the necessary money or credit to file for a divorce. Try to secure the means just prior to filing. Otherwise, you will have to file a motion asking the Wayne County Circuit Court Judge to force the other side provide access to the necessary funds.
It is important to obtain and copy any useful information for your case. It may be social media posts, text messages with the kids or incriminating documents you come across. When there is a contested divorce or custody case, these pieces of information may be critical to getting the outcome you deserve.
Child support is determined by the Michigan Child Support Guidelines. It is based on each party's income and the number of overnights with the kids. Even if you are spending a lot of time with the kids, it does not count for calculating child support unless it is an overnight. In addition, if you suspect the other parent is hiding income, you will have to be ready to prove it in court. For the Michigan Child Support Calculator, click below.
For Wayne County Friend of the Court forms, click below.
Unless the parties opt out, child support payments are tracked through the Wayne County Friend of the Court. As a result, do not expect payments for additional expenses (i.e. school expenses, clothes, etc.) to count towards child support. If the parties opt out, then make sure you get a receipt for each payment.
First, Michigan provides for legal custody, which is the ability to have input into the important decisions for each child's life, such as medical and educational choices. Second, there is parenting time, which dictates the actual schedule of the child with each parent. The sole focus being what is deemed to be in the child's best interests. The Wayne County Circuit Court will generally require these requests to be heard by a Friend of the Court Referee for a recommendation. For Wayne County Circuit Court custody forms, click below.
In most circumstances, a child has a legal residence with each parent. However, in Spires v Bergman, 276 Mich App 432, 741 NW2d 523 (2007) the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision not to conduct a full hearing and granted the mother’s motion for change of domicile to Texas because mother had sole legal custody. Mother had been granted sole legal and physical custody with reasonable parenting time to father.
Where one party has sole legal custody even a potentially dramatic change to the non-custodial parent’s parenting time will not trigger a “D’Onofrio” hearing, that applies to change of domicile actions, pursuant to the factors in MCL 722.31(4).
Residence versus domicile
In Grange Insurance Company of Michigan v Lawrence, 494 Mich 475, 835 NW2d 362 (2013), Michigan's Supreme Court held that:
(1) a minor child of divorced parents could only have one domicile; and
(2) the child custody order determining domicile is conclusive for all purposes.