Family Law Attorney Susan E. Cohen
Susan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, was selected by her peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, recognized by Super Lawyers as a Top 100 lawyer, a Top 50 woman lawyer, and a Top 25 woman lawyer in Michigan, was provided a Best Lawyer and Best Law Firm designation by US News and World Report, and is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.
During over twenty years of practice, Susan has guided her clients through the often complex legal and practical questions and processes which encompass the area of family law.
Susan addresses issues which may arise before, during and after the conclusion of complex divorce cases, contested custody matters, preparation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, property disputes, business or professional practice valuations, parenting time concerns, child and spousal support issues, mediation/arbitration, change in domicile, same sex marriage, and other family law matters.
Personal, Practical Solutions That Bring You Peace of Mind
Susan recognizes that despite the legal basis for these issues, there is also a significant personal component attached, which must be individually addressed with each client. Therefore, her representation is personal to your needs and knowledge to provide the confidence and strength, as necessary, to move forward.
She derives great professional satisfaction from helping her clients solve complex matrimonial problems while making challenging decisions. Her master’s degree in counseling allows her to assist families with conflict resolution through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation, when necessary.
Susan practices primarily in the tri-county area of Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, but also handles cases in surrounding counties, and in Northern Michigan, including Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.
Contact attorney Susan E. Cohen online or call her at 248-644-5600 to schedule a consultation to obtain information, have your specific questions answered and learn more about your own personal situation in a private and confidential setting.
Experienced Family Law Representation Customized to Your Unique Situation
A consultation with a divorce lawyer can help answer many questions. It may also assist with divorce planning and establishing a timeline for the actual filing. The decision to initiate a divorce can be difficult to make. Understanding the legal process itself, determining the financial information necessary to obtain, how to best prepare, reviewing child-related issues, and identifying potential problems can help clarify the best manner, and when, to proceed.
Michigan has a no fault divorce law, which means that a divorce case may be filed without alleging a reason or fault by either party for the divorce. The initial complaint must state only that “there has been a breakdown in the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved”, rather than ascribing a reason or blame to either party.
However, based upon the facts in a particular situation, the issue of fault may be relevant to the issues of spousal support of property division and distribution.
Each case is unique and requires expertise in specific legal areas. These legal areas can include:
In a divorce case with a minor child or children involved, the statutory period waiting period for concluding the case is customarily 180 days from the date the case was filed. In certain cases where the parties are able to reach a resolution on all issues pertaining to their child, including custody and parenting time, in addition to all other matters in their divorce case, a judge may waive the full 180 day period depending on the specific facts and circumstances in their situation.
Generally, parties address their respective legal and physical custody rights to their child during ongoing negotiations. If an agreement cannot be reached on these these issues they will be decided by a judge at trial.
Legal custody relates to the right to make those major decisions regarding the child, such as their health, education, religion, and similar matters. In certain circumstances where parties truly cannot communicate with one another, a court can and will determine that only one parent shall be the legal custodial parent for the child.
Physical custody is often provided jointly to the parties, regardless of where their child spends the most time, unless the parties are unable to communicate effectively with one another regarding the child’s day to day needs and activities. Our Family Wizard is a website that has been utilized at times to facilitate non-verbal communication between parties to assist with co-parenting their child.
However, in certain situations a sole physical custodial parent is best for the child based upon the established custodial environment in existence leading up to the time of the divorce filing, the relationship between the child and each parent, the physical and emotional environment present in the home or homes and other factors. This will usually be determined by a Friend of the Court referee or a judge.
A parenting time schedule is one that can and should be negotiated between the parties so as to best meet the needs of their child, and based upon their age and grade in school. If parties are unable to do this through negotiation, parenting time will be determined by a referee or a judge, who is much less likely to understand your child or your family history and traditions.
During the school year, a child’s parenting time schedule reflects the child’s school schedule, activities, and at which parent’s home they sleep each night. Be mindful and practical relative to each party’s own schedule along with the child’s so that the new parenting time arrangement can best meet the child’s needs as well as they were met prior to the divorce filing.
Summer, holiday and vacation parenting time is established with different schedules to accommodate the varying situations presented.
Michigan is an equitable distribution state with respect to property division. This does not mean that all assets are split equally, but instead that assets and debts are divided fairly based upon the specific facts and circumstances of each case.
Once an action is filed it is important to begin developing a marital balance sheet which reflects all of the property, assets, and liabilities accumulated during the marriage. Equally important during this process is determining the origin of each asset acquired, and whether the asset acquisition occurred prior to or after the marriage.
Assets acquired by either party prior to the marriage through earnings, inheritance, gift, or otherwise are separate property and remain that way during the marriage if they are kept separate during the marriage. However, in certain circumstance, if a separate asset is commingled during the marriage, that separate property become marital and may be subject to marital distribution.
Whether all or a portion of an asset was acquired by inheritance or before the marriage, this must be identified in addition to whether any such asset was commingled with marital assets.
Marital property, assets and liabilities are those which have been accumulated by either party during the marriage. Therefore, whether one or both party contributed earnings, retirement or investment accounts, pensions or other assets to the estate during the marriage, customarily these are marital and subject to division in a divorce.
Professional practices, closely-held or family businesses or other assets will likely require a valuation to determine the entity value and the income the entity produces for spousal or child support as appropriate.
The ultimate determination and allocation of property, assets and debt can be a complicated and ongoing process. It begins shortly after the case is initiated and continues through discovery until both parties are satisfied that all property, assets and liabilities have been identified for division and distribution.
To: Susan E. Cohen
Super Lawyers: Potential Client Inquiry
Admitted 1992, Michigan
Professional Webpage: http://www.susancohenlaw.com/
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40900 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Last Updated: 4/3/2017