The most important thing to understand about family law issues in Michigan, or elsewhere, is that these issues strike at the very foundations of your life and those of your loved ones. Decisions in these areas are not to be entered into lightly, without serious consideration of all of the consequences, nor for financial reasons only.

 Decisions made now will impact your future. Your soon to be ex- spouse’s future, those of your children and even those of your grandchildren will be affected too. Your parents, siblings and friends will all be drawn into the emotional storm with you.

 For these reasons, you need an attorney who will be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Mr. Barker is a trained Divorce Mediator. It is the growing trend to seek amicable resolutions of family law disagreements. Mr. Barker has 28 years of experience with all aspects of marital discord and the local courts. If you wish to end your marriage with a minimum of discord and emotional and financial expense, he can guide you through it.

 Unfortunately, sometimes the emotional breaches run too deep, and one side or the other is unwilling to be reasonable. In those cases, we have the experience and resources necessary to fight your case, through trial if necessary, to a successful conclusion. Remember, of course, that the cost of your divorce is dictated, to a large extent, by the nature of the areas of dispute, the reasonableness of the other side, and the need for the use of expert witnesses etc.

 Please feel free to contact us by E-mail with your individual questions, as each case is somewhat unique and different and you deserve better than cookie cutter answers.


 How is custody determined?

 Initially, both parents have equal custody until a court order has been entered saying otherwise, assuming that both parents are listed on the birth certificate. When custody is in dispute the Court will make a determination based on what are called the “best interest” factors which are defined by statute. If the Courts have previously made a custody determination and there is an “ established custodial environment,” there are thresholds which must be met before the Court will consider a change.

 How is child support determined?

Child Support is determined by using computer guidelines established by the State which factor in each party’s income from all sources, as defined in the guidelines, and the number of children, and the number of overnights spent with each parent. The amount of support may be modified by motion of either party, based on a substantial change of circumstances.

 Can I remain in the home during a divorce?

 Both parties can remain in the house during a divorce so long as they can co-exist peacefully. If this is not possible, either side can petition the court for exclusive use of the marital home. A party does not lose any property rights by leaving the home but this may have an effect on child custody considerations.

 Does fault count?

Yes. Fault still is a factor in the areas of property settlement (though to a lesser extent than in the past), spousal support, and in an indirect way to child custody.