Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Divorce is one of the most stressful ordeals a person may face in their lives. In 2007, there were 34,522 divorces in the state of Michigan alone. Of those divorces, nearly 3,000 were from Macomb County. This is only second to Wayne (5,509 divorces) and Oakland (3,899) Counties. During a divorce, many things may enter your mind such as what happens to the house, the car, the pets, and most importantly the kids. Michigan Law Services, PLLC in Sterling Heights specializes in getting the most favorable outcome possible for our divorce clients. Here is a brief overview of divorces in Michigan.

In order to get a divorce within the State of Michigan, you or your spouse must have lived in Michigan for at least the last six (6) months. The divorce must take place in the Michigan county where you or your spouse has lived for the last 10 days. Most people file where they live but you do not have to – you can file where your spouse lives.

There is no requirement in the state that you have to have a legal separation in order to file for divorce. You do not have to be separated for any period of time before you start your divorce. In actuality you can still be living in the same house with your spouse, as many of our clients do. Most have no choices in this because you may not have a place to go.

Michigan has a no-fault divorce system. This means that you do not have to prove adultery or cruelty or any other “grounds’ for divorce. In order to get a divorce, all you have to show is that your marriage has broken down and you cannot get back together. Which is really not much to show. No fault also means that even if you are the one who made your marriage break up, you can still file for divorce. No fault divorce also means that if you want to get divorced, your spouse can fight over other things involved in the divorce like child custody and child support and property. But if you want the divorce you can get it even if your spouse does not want it - and even if you made the marriage break up. But remember, the judge can look at fault in deciding how to divide up property or who should get custody of the children. For example, the judge may divide property with a favorable bias towards a non-cheating spouse over a cheating one.

If no children were born during your marriage and no child is expected, you still have to wait at least 60 days after you file for divorce before your divorce can be final. This is used as a “cooling off” period just in case you change your mind. If you have children from the marriage or one is expected, you have to wait at least six (6) months after you file for divorce before your divorce can be final. If you and your spouse are fighting over anything in the divorce, it can take a lot longer than the waiting period to get divorced.

When the divorce comes to court, the judge will also decide on child custody and visitation; on child support and spousal support; and on how property should be divided. This is where having a law firm such as Michigan Law Services becomes a huge advantage. Our divorce attorneys will fight for your rights and negotiate to get you the best possible outcome.

Remember, all divorce cases are different. There are many factors to take into consideration. Call Michigan Law Services, PLLC at (586) 991-1783 today for a free consultation and case evaluation. You have legal options, we can make them work for you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Your Rights and the Police

Many of our clients here at Michigan Law Services, PLLC ask us what do they have to do (or shouldn't do) when they are stopped by the police. Whether it is the Police Department, Sheriff Department, or any other local law enforcement agency, you have certain rights at that early stage of the criminal procedure. Here is a list of things you must do and things you shouldn't do.

If you are stopped by the police, you must show identification if you are stopped while driving or if you are in a place that sells alcoholic beverages, like a bar. If you do not, you can and will be arrested. At any other time, you cannot be legally arrested for failing to present identification to a police officer. However, a police officer may ask you to state your name, age, and address.

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or Resident Alien (RA), you must have your alien registration card with you at all times. Many LPR's or RA's forget to have their alien registration card with them and may have complications with the police because of it.

If stopped while driving, you must show the officer your driver license, vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance, but you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present.

If you are stopped, you can ask if you are being detained. If not, you are free to go. (However, you should never run from a police officer. It is better to be safe, and to contest the illegal stop later. It's always best to ask the police officer if you are free to go now, even if legally speaking, you are.)

If a police officer tries to detain you, never try to physically resist the police. This is never a good idea. Attorney Philip Vera of Michigan Law Services, PLLC have handled cases such as this, you can get into a heap of trouble for resisting and obstructing a police officer.

The police may search your body without your consent strictly for firearms or other dangerous weapons. You should make clear that you do not consent to a full search of your person. (Again, if they ignore you, do not try to resist them physically.) This may be a defense to your case. Macomb County Attorney Philip Vera have gotten defendant's cases kicked, even if the police find drugs or something else illegal on that defendant. If you aren't sure, make sure you call Michigan Law Services, PLLC for a professional opinion of your case.

Police may search your car, even without a search warrant, if they have "probable cause" to think the car or driver is involved in a crime. Probable cause can be something simple like the sent of marijuana emanating from the car. Just remember, this is another potential defense to your case, depending on the totality of the circumstances of your case. This determination requires a real professional eye. Call Michigan Law Services today for a free evaluation of your case.

Generally, police may not search your home without a search warrant. If the police tell you they have a search warrant, ask to see it. Make it clear that you do not consent to a search without a warrant.

If the police take things from you while searching your home or car, they must give you a receipt for whatever they take.

If you get a ticket, promptly call Michigan Law Services. If you fail to answer the ticket within the time allowed, you might be arrested or be found responsible for the underlying offense.

If the police suspect that you are driving while intoxicated (or under the influence of a controlled substance) and you refuse a breathalyser test, your driver license will be immediately suspended. Attorney Philip Vera has experience defending drunk driving cases. We will get you the best possible deal, even if you do blow over the limit.

If you are detained by the police, do not explain yourself to the police, or make excuses. If you do, these explanations may be used against you in court! Immediately ask to speak to an attorney at Michigan Law Services, PLLC. Make sure you tell the police you will not answer any questions unless your attorney is present.

Remember, at Michigan Law Services, our Attorney Philip Vera has the legal knowledge and experience to help you get through the criminal justice system with the best possible outcome. You will always get personalized services and some of the hardest working Lawyers in Macomb County. Call us at 586-991-1783 for a free consultation.