Court approved Mediator

Mediation is the process that occurs when the disputing parties meet with a neutral third party who is trained to assist the parties with effective communication. The mediator does not make decisions, or issue recommendations to the court.

Court Rule Mediation (MCR 3.216) was enacted by the Supreme Court to provide Domestic Relations Mediation to all cases that the court felt would benefit from the service.

  • This process is confidential but the court can order the parties to attend.
  • All issues can be mediated including custody, parenting time, property, debts, assets or spousal and child support.

Kent County

Ottawa County

Paternity Q & A

Q:  What if I am a child’s LEGAL Dad/Father and I find out that I am not his/her biological father?  Can I revoke my determination of paternity?

A:  The Revocation of Parentage Act contains the requirements for revoking paternity once a LEGAL Dad/Father has been established for a child. It has strict requirements that, if not followed, will result in an inability to revoke a determination of LEGAL paternity.  This means that even if the child is not your biological child, once you have established LEGAL paternity, you will most likely not be able to undo it.

Q:  Did you know that if your wife conceives or gives birth to a child while you are married to her the child is presumed to be your LEGAL child?
A:  In the Sate of Michigan, children conceived or born during a marriage are presumed to be the LEGAL children of the mother’s husband whether they are the biological children of the husband or not.

Q: Did you know that you may not be your BIOLOGICAL child’s LEGAL dad?
A: If you weren’t married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth-MAYBE NOT.  Until you ARE the child’s LEGAL DAD you have NO RIGHTS.

Spousal Support/Alimony in Michigan

This week I sat down with Courtney Quist with Quist Hansen PLLC to discuss whether it is “cheaper to keep her” if you are considering divorce in Michigan…..

Michigan Compiled Law 552.23 still authorizes divorce or circuit courts to award alimony or spousal support from one party to another in a divorce. There are many factors to use in deciding how much and how long. These include: the source and amount of property awarded, the length of the marriage, age of the parties, health of the parties, and fault in the breakdown of the marriage amongst others.

If you have questions about whether or not you will have to pay or can receive spousal support if you get divorced please call Carolyn Gaston of Carolyn Gaston & Associates PC @ 616-243-3331.


Guardianship and Grand Parent Rights in Michigan

I often receive inquiries about grand parents rights and how to obtain them. In Michigan, this is an ever changing area of the law. Suffice it to say that a statute has been enacted which specifically prescribes certain methods for grand parents to obtain custody/visitation rights over their grand children through the circuit court.  The statute is very limiting.

Another means by which grand parents can obtain access to their grand children is through guardianship. Guardianship is also contingent upon the grand parents meeting certain criteria. Guardianship, however is governed by the probate court.

For questions about either guardianship or grand parent rights please contact me, Carolyn Gaston at Carolyn Gaston & Associates, PC 616-243-3331.