Call Now: 616.776.3902

Stacy L Van Dyken P.C. Law Blog

Stacy's practice is devoted to family law. Recognized as a premier family law practice in Michigan, Stacy has built her reputation on results and service. This blog is serves as an additional resource to obtain more information about family law related issues.

Subscribe to feed Latest Entries

Equitable Distribution of Marital Property

Posted by Stacy
Stacy
Stacy Van Dyken is well known throughout West Michigan for her dedication to her clients and her leadership ro...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 10 January 2013
in Divorce

Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means the division of property and assets is performed by placing value on what is “fair” to both spouses. The things to consider when dividing property equitably includes which property will be part of the distribution, the valuation of said property, and the actual division of the property. Property is classified in two categories: marital property or non-marital property. Usually, during a divorce, only marital property, or property that was bought or acquired during the time of the marriage, is included in the equitable distribution of property.

It is important for those who are working through or considering a divorce to have the support and expertise of a skilled family law attorney to assist them with the details of what constitutes marital and non-marital property, since the details of how property is categorized can sometimes be complicated. In some situations, property that was inherited by one spouse or was a gift while the couple was married can usually be treated as marital property, but can be excluded from equitable distribution.

For marital property to be divided and later distributed, the property must have evidence of value. Again, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with the equitable distribution laws of the state. Some equitable distribution laws vary on the date they use to determine value of a property. In volatile economic times, it is paramount to know what the date is that the court will use to determine value (the date the parties separated, the trial date of the equitable distribution, or the date of the divorce decree), especially if there is contention between the divorcing parties as to the value.

How is an equitable distribution executed after the value has been determined? Most of the laws take into consideration each spouse’s financial situation at the time of the division (including the amount and sources of income), the length of the marriage, and the desire to keep the marital home (should the custodial spouse express a desire to live there with the parties’ children).  

There are a number of differences in the factors that courts consider when division of assets is underway in a divorce. Because of each state’s laws and the decisions the family law courts in your area choose, it is imperative to have a family law attorney who is experienced with Michigan’s equitable distribution laws as well as the family law courts in your area. If you have questions or are just in need of consultation in regards to your case, call Van Dyken Law today.

 

Tags: Untagged
Hits: 3091

Parenting Time, West Michigan

Posted by Stacy
Stacy
Stacy Van Dyken is well known throughout West Michigan for her dedication to her clients and her leadership ro...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 02 January 2013
in Divorce

One of the most difficult things about a divorce often involves deciding on the terms of parenting time, formerly called visitation. This time is when the non-custodial parent will spend time with the child. This process can be made much less stressful if both parties focus on the needs of the child. The key to developing a parenting time schedule that works for all parties is communication. For a child-centered approach, where the child’s needs are placed first, it is important for the two parties to focus on what is best for the child’s education, health, and well-being. I encourage my clients to create a written schedule that will assist them in handling specific holidays and school breaks. Ideally, this schedule would accommodate the needs of each parent’s schedule. If the parties cannot agree on a schedule, the Court will determine the terms of parenting time. As an experienced family law attorney, I aim to keep these cases out of court so as to empower my clients with amiable, agreed-upon arrangements. But sometimes, two parties, no matter how much they may love their child, cannot agree on parenting time. When this happens, I will aggressively litigate parenting time issues in family court and pursue what is in the best interest of the child.

Should a case like this go to court, it is common in Michigan for the Court to give preference to the parent who can provide the most stable and supportive environment for the child's health, education and emotional well-being. The non-custodial parent is then typically (though not always) allowed to see the child one evening during every week, as well as every-other weekend, and on alternating holidays, and for 2 to 4 weeks during summer vacations from school. There is also a tendency for the Court to allow more expansive alternate weekend parenting time as well as more flexible vacation periods for both parents. We like to empower our clients and create forums for open, positive communication. Not many people want to have the court decide on a visitation schedule, and for the needs of the child, many parties will find the common ground of peaceful communication about visitation in order to find the best fit for the needs of the child or children.

Time spent with one’s child is one of the most valuable things a person can have, and dealing with an uncooperative other parent can be frustrating, overwhelming, and at times, even scary. We take pride in our ability to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts so that the child will ultimately be the focus and benefit from a clearly thought out, well-negotiated visitation schedule. When it comes to sharing moments with children, it’s best to choose an experienced family law attorney whose approach is child-centered and compassionate. 

Tags: Custody
Hits: 1946

Michigan Child Custody

Posted by Stacy
Stacy
Stacy Van Dyken is well known throughout West Michigan for her dedication to her clients and her leadership ro...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 04 December 2012
in Uncategorized

Michigan custody laws state that child custody can be granted as legal and/or physical custody. These can each be granted jointly or separately, depending on the circumstances. Whichever party obtains legal custody of the minor will be responsible for the major decisions including financial and medical decision as well as educational ones. Both divorced parents can share these legal rights, depending on negotiations and amiability of the parties. Physical custody occurs when the child is in the presence of one parent. This can be shared, also, per the terms of shared or joint custody. While many couples agree to negotiate the terms of child custody out of court, and without the help of an attorney, an attorney’s counsel and fees are minor compared to the emotional turmoil that a non-enforceable, not legal agreement could do to harm a family. 

It is important to find a divorce attorney who will work with clients to directly address their child custody needs and negotiations. It is important to find a compassionate, skilled divorce attorney who has a family-centered approach to assist each party in these negotiations to find a legal, binding, enforceable agreement that will benefit all parties while keeping the needs of the child paramount. 

One thing to look for when seeking the counsel of a child custody attorney is to find someone who has extensive experience representing clients in seeking child custody modification. Some reasons for custody modification could include: a substantial increase in the child’s age, dramatic change to a parent’s income level, one parent relocating to another state, evidence that the current living arrangement puts the child at risk of physical or emotional harm, or the custodial parent refusing visitation by the non-custodial parent.

It is wise to consult with an attorney when arranging or modifying a child custody agreement in order to protect your relationship with your child and make the agreement legally-binding. 

Written on behalf of Stacy L Van Dyken

Tags: Custody
Hits: 1948

Division of Assets in Divorce

Posted by Stacy
Stacy
Stacy Van Dyken is well known throughout West Michigan for her dedication to her clients and her leadership ro...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 15 November 2012
in Divorce

When dividing assets during a divorce, I encourage my clients to ask the following questions: What do I really want? What would I really like? What can I do without? What does my spouse really want? What would my spouse like to have? What can my spouse live without? 

The division of assets can be broken into two categories, which are marital property and non-marital property. Anything that was owned before marriage in non-marital and anything owned after marriage or given to a spouse during a marriage is considered marital property. Total assets can be compiled by compiling a list of mortgages, credit card balances, car loans and other debts. Negotiations are important when dividing assets, and often times, a skilled divorce attorney is necessary to mediate these negotiations to ensure that each party is content with the results. 

One of the primary reasons that VanDyken Law specializes in the Holistic approach to divorce law is how we help our clients navigate through the division of assets in divorce. I attempt to ask questions with positive responses, such as, “What can we do to make this work well for everyone?” Or, “How can we make this better for everyone?” 

I believe that my clients have a right to an attorney that will manage their case and resolve legal issues as harmoniously as possible. It takes expertise and skill to circumvent conflict or resolve it when necessary. Avoiding conflict ultimately helps my clients by reducing legal fees and minimizes the stress that unnecessary conflict would bring. 

As a divorce attorney specializing a compassionate approach, if I can get my clients to focus on the positive aspects of their history when they were together (what worked well or what went right in their daily routines), then I can extract that to find positive solutions for the clients’ division of assets, which also includes the discussion of child custody.

 

Written on behalf of Stacy L. Van Dyken 

 

Tags: Untagged
Hits: 2063

At the Grand Rapids law office of Stacy L. Van Dyken, P.C., we conveniently serve clients throughout West Michigan, including the cities of Holland, Muskegon, and Grand Haven; and throughout Kent County, Ottawa County, Allegan County, Barry County, Newaygo County, Montcalm County, and Ionia County.