Grand Rapids Family Law Attorneys

Family Law Attorneys

With over 50 years of combined experience, a distinguished reputation and a dedicated approach, our family law attorneys are more than capable of handling complex divorce and family law legal issues. We offer individualized attention and dedicated service to each and every client. An experienced family law attorney will take charge of your case personally and keep you informed and involved in the process at every step.

Whether it's a divorce issue or a child custody matter, hiring the right Family Law Attorney with experience in these legal issues is key. Family law can involve family related issues or domestic disputes.  Some examples of family law include, but are not limited to, marriage, divorce, child support, custody, abuse, and visitation rights.

Learn about family law related issues that we provide representation for below:

Divorce

When it comes to divorce, our attorneys will listen to you and discuss your desires and goals. After all, only you know what is best for you and your family.  Our Grand Rapids divorce attorneys will educate you on the law, counsel you on the specific issues in your case and advise you every step of the way.

After talking with one of our divorce lawyers at a free initial consultation, you will have a better understanding of the divorce process and how you want to proceed.  We will be able to answer questions for you and help advise you so that you can make informed decisions regarding your divorce case.  Learn more about divorce here.

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Abuse & Neglect

Many attorneys in child protective proceedings are randomly drawn and assigned by the court system.  The legal protection of a child warrants expertise.  At Peterson Paletta Balice, we are uniquely situated to expertly address all aspects of the child welfare system.  The firm has one of only two attorneys in Grand Rapids recognized by the National Association of Counsel for Children as a Child Welfare Law Specialist.  With over 20 years of experience representing children and parents in all aspects of child protection, Attorney Terese Paletta is often called upon by courts to represent children at risk for emotional and physical abuse. Attorney Terese Paletta has also assisted numerous parents in reuniting with their children.

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Adoption

The idea of expanding a family is very exciting, however the laws and court requirements in achieving permanence can be quite confusing.  Whether you are contemplating or are involved in an agency, direct placement, stepparent, or relative adoption, the attorneys at Peterson Paletta Balice will explain the various resources available to assist you and will review your risks, options, and potential costs.  We have the experience to assist in completing an adoption as quickly as possible while ensuring permanence so you and your new family can enjoy all the benefits of being a happy, complete family.

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Child Support

Michigan’s guidelines for determining child support are updated annually.  The factors affecting child support amounts are varied and complex – salaries, wages, shift premiums, overtime, bonuses, pensions, unemployment benefits, and social security, just to name a select few.  Eligible deductions and expenses must also be determined.  The attorneys at Peterson Paletta Balice are trained in the nuances of the Michigan Child Support Formula and can assist in ensuring you are treated fairly by the court system.

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Child Custody

It is easy to agree that children are the most important thing in every family.  However, once a marriage dissolves, parties often disagree on what is best for their children.  Our child custody attorneys are trained not just in the legal issues of child custody, but in many of the other disciplines that affect the best interest factors the court reviews – child development, parental alienation, abuse, and stepparenting.  We are diligent in staying abreast of the changes in this area of the law, as it is constantly evolving in federal, state, and local courts.

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Guardianship

Whether it is a minor child, a developmentally disabled individual, or legally incapacitated adult, our attorneys can assist you and your family in protecting the welfare of your loved ones who are not able to protect themselves. We have the expertise to walk you through the court procedures so you can focus on providing for those you care for and not on the confusing forms and requirements of the court.

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Mediation

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a rapidly growing area of our legal system.  More and more lawsuits are filed in our courts every year and trial is not necessarily the best way to resolve them.  Family matters, especially, are best resolved without the acrimony that flows out of an adversarial process. Mediation is flexible and confidential.  It gives parties a way to settle conflict in a non-combative way so that cooperation with one another as parents can continue after the divorce is final.

At Peterson Paletta Balice, our mediation attorneys have the training and experience to assist in resolving issues between parents or between parents and children.  Regardless of the issues or individuals involved, preservation of family is worth attempting conflict resolution through mediation. Call Peterson Paletta Balice for the various options we provide.

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Parent Coordination

Parent coordination is an alternative dispute resolution service available to parents who recognize the damage done to their children by conflict.  It is often inherent in the divorce or separation process that parents disagree about what is in the best interest of their children.  It is not necessary however that these disagreements become courtroom battles.  Parent coordination offers parents an opportunity to resolve these issues in a child-centered process that is less expensive and much quicker than the court process.  More importantly, it is individually tailored to each family, to meet its unique needs and issues.

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Separate Maintenance

We get many inquiries about “legal separation.” Although this is a rarely used device in Michigan law, it is possible to obtain a court order for separate maintenance. There are circumstances under which a couple does not wish to legally divorce, but the objects of matrimony have to be destroyed and parties wish to lead separate lives. For example, the financial implications of a divorce can be such that both parties agree to stay married for a period of time to preserve the full extent of their estate. Our Grand Rapids family law attorneys will discuss with you the best options for you and insure that your goals are met.

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Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements

These devices are becoming more and more requested. Michigan law provides that contracts relating to property made between persons in contemplation of marriage shall remain in full force after marriage takes place.  Prenups are used for various reasons: inheritance rights of children from previous marriages, keeping property separate, avoiding controversy over spousal support, or disposition of property in the event of death or divorce. Postnuptial agreements have the same general purposes of prenups, but are made after the parties have entered into marriage.

Our Grand Rapids & Ionia attorneys have been specifically trained in the drafting of these agreements and can ensure you the protections you seek with such agreements.

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Non-traditional | Non-marriage Relationship | Co-habitation

More and more couples are choosing to join one another in their own form of committed union.  These couples that choose to live together without the benefit of traditional marriage find themselves with unique legal issues upon separation.  At Peterson Paletta Balice, our attorneys stay on the cutting edge of developments in this evolving area of the law and can assist in advising parties of their rights before, during, and after these co-living arrangements are made.

For all your family law related needs, contact us today for more information.