©2020 by Barnet G. Levine.  Site built with Wix.com

Changed or established custody in a multitude of jurisdictions, including a state Supreme Court...

While certain terms have a governing effect, others are a reflection of rights...  Contact me to help you navigate past what many consider among  the most difficult times of their life.   




Michigan treats child support like a calculator function: the statute that governs it contains language that accounts for, among other things, the parties' income, child care or daycare expenses, health insurance for the child and the number of 'overnights' the joint or non physical custody parent exercises with the child during their visitation or parenting time.

Willful (un/under)employment, imputed income, and earning income potential (individual and industry marketability, including education, trade, skill, talent, experience, and previous salary, etc.) help start a discussion that exceeds the mere acceptance of volunteered information.  The platform's a little mechanical, but subject to dispute as much as any other litigated aspect.


Remember: Because child support is (supposed to be) for the child, it's not simply left to the parents to disclaim, despite plenty of practical steps taken daily by parents that to an extent, allow them to influence the amount of their child support payments.  For more information, call me to address your child support concerns. 

Property (real and personal), and debt distribution,  including accounts, pensions, etc.; spousal support and child custody are matters that can get addressed during  divorce proceedings.  

Divorce is not easy... But how you act during its course, can have an effect on your proceeding and on you...   

A more responsive approach:

The rebuttable presumption that equitable distribution should be equal, wasn't lost either in a sea of 50/50 jurisdictions, where my clients won more than half, or in the negotiating arena where the closer you account for things, the more you realize that parties often aren't disagreeing about the same thing...  


This opens the door to a greater degree of flexibility with the parties, and traditional approaches are replaced with more responsive methods that allow the parties to account for their property, debt and its distribution. 

A contempt hearing or a "Show Cause" hearing (the latter's simply an abbreviated version of the former) is not a typically structured hearing: Unlike virtually every other proponent/petitioner tasking hearing that commits to the traditional approach of requiring a petitioner/accuser to establish their allegations against the accused to a designated degree (having the legal burden to establish their cause), a "Show Cause" inverts that typical scheme: 


After a modest allegation by a petitioner (accusing party), the respondent (the accused) is rebuttably presumed to have inexcusably --as a legal matter-- defaulted on their obligation.  For instance, in the child support context, it would be the accused that is rebuttably presumed to have failed to pay the full court ordered child support amount at the time it (the obligation) was due; and therefore, the same (the accused) has the burden of proof of establishing that they either (a) didn't violate the court order, or (b) that there was a good reason for not complying with it --and therefore, they shouldn't be held in contempt.  Contrast this with the far more common case, where the party accusing another (rather than the accused) has the burden of proving or establishing their case (rather than the accused having to prove their "innocence"), and you'll see an unusual difference that requires the bulk of the work to be done by the accused, on the presumption that they are guilty and have to pull themselves out of that disposition (as opposed to the other way around...). 


What happens if those accused don't establish their case?

The effect of the accused not being able to establish their case is a finding of contempt, which can be sanctionable in a number of ways, but there are no shortage of things that can be done to rebut the presumption that the accused should be held in contempt, and there are various ways to (support, "prove" or less imprecisely) expose it.

To this end, there are several important elements within that statutory scheme that are often overlooked; and applying them, along with everything else that comes to mind during hearings has made the difference in clients' important matters (for an expansive review of show cause structures and contempt hearings, give me a call and/or view the news and resources page of this site and click on recent contempt trials link where my client was Blessed to prevail after asking one question where my clients prevailed...).  


 While trials can focus on how you ask questions, appeals turn on how you answer them...