At Thacker Sleight, we are family law lawyers, negotiators, litigators, and problem solvers. We have a reputation of being fearless, meticulous, and thorough in our approach of life’s unexpected challenges. We never stop, it’s how we work, and why we get results.
Serving Clients Throughout St. Joseph, Kent County, Ottawa County, Montcalm County, and Beyond
Thacker Sleight’s Grand Rapids family attorneys have devoted their entire careers to delivering successful outcomes for spouses and parents facing the most challenging times in their lives. With over 50 years of combined experience, our attorneys produce outstanding results by leveraging our negotiation skills to mediate and resolve problems, not combat them, bringing about healthier, more sustainable results. Helping our clients be proactive and look ahead also saves them time and money, preventing future issues down the road.
No matter the complexity of your family law case, Thacker Sleight provides our full attention. Legal work is first and foremost about people, not documents, cases, or numbers. This is especially true for family law cases when the consequences directly affect you and your family. Our firm is dedicated to providing exclusive, highly professional service that is also personal and approachable.
Getting a Divorce in Michigan
To get a divorce in Michigan, you must meet the residency requirements as a couple:
- Either you or your spouse must have resided in Michigan for 180 days prior to filing the divorce complaint; and
- either you or your spouse must have resided in the county where the complaint is filed for at least 10 days prior to filing.
Michigan offers “no-fault” divorce, so you are not required to provide a reason (“grounds”) to obtain a divorce. However, you may choose to cite a ground in your divorce complaint that the court can consider later during the property division discussion.
If you and your spouse mutually agree to divorce, you may consider the collaborative divorce process, which allows you to settle your divorce issues without having to go to court. Collaborative divorce is like a combination of mediation and negotiation, and you and your spouse will have the chance to discuss an agreement (in one or more sessions) without having to battle it out in court. We have significant experience guiding spouses towards an amicable divorce outcome through the collaborative process.
Child Custody and Parenting Time
Divorce can affect children in many ways, depending on their age, personality, and coping skills. As a result, we understand your desire to manage your divorce issues as smoothly as possible to protect your children, especially in the context of child custody.
Both parents may be awarded legal and/or physical custody, and the judge will decide on the custody arrangement based on what meets the child’s best interests.
This includes factors like:
- The ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and meet their other material needs
- The ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with the love, affection, and guidance they need
- The ability and willingness of each parent to support the child’s educational needs
- The love, affection, and emotional ties that exist between each parent and the child
- The moral fitness of each parent
- The desirability of maintaining continuity and stability for the child
- The child's home, school, and ties to the community
- The permanence of the family unit in the existing or proposed custodial home(s)
- The mental and physical health of each parent and the child
- The child's preference (if they are of mature age)
- Each parent's ability and willingness to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
- Any history of domestic violence, whether directed against or in the presence of the child
- Any other factor deemed relevant to child custody
At Thacker Sleight, we will work closely with you to set goals, utilize other professionals in the legal process as necessary, and help protect your child’s best interest.
Child and Spousal Support
Other important family law issues our firm handles are child support and spousal support. Typically, the noncustodial parent is expected to provide some form of child support, and the amount and frequency are based on each parent’s net income and parenting time. Michigan has a child support formula that calculates a base amount of child support (subject to adjustment, if necessary) for meeting the child’s best interests.
Either parent can also request spousal support if they demonstrate a financial need, and the other parent has the financial ability to pay. There is no formula for calculating the amount of spousal support, and the ultimate support award will depend on various factors like the length of the marriage and both parents’ financial situations.
The aftermath of any family law decision can seriously impact your future. We understand the importance of fighting for the outcome you want, and we will take an assertive approach to protect your interests.