Skip to main content
Laurel Stuart-Fink
Avvo
Pro

Laurel Stuart-Fink’s Answers

1,621 total


  • Brother's ex threatening to take his cats

    Hi my brother was given two cats for his birthday by his ex girlfriend. She moved to another state to live with another man and now she is back and is threatening to take them away. Once incident was he had posted a picture of her dog that passes ...

    Laurel’s Answer

    This seems like a lot of drama to me. Doesn't your brother keep his doors locked? How is she going to take his cats exactly? Break in? Is she harassing or stalking him? Perhaps he should be concerned about his safety. Tell him to change the locks, ignore the girlfriend and get on with his life. If she harasses him, a complaint can be filed with the local police and a Personal Protection Order may be sought eventually if she continues to interfere with his life.

    By the way, are these breeder cats? How exactly are they in her "name?" Who are they registered to in her name that gives her an ownership claim? Just wondering. . .

    See question 
  • Will my husband get granted visits or custody of our daughter if I file for divorce?

    My husband has a criminal history (was in prison from 1990 to 2010). He got an OWI in April 2016. He comes home late after drinking about 3-4 times a week. He has actually said he couldn't handle our daughter for more than 30 mins (she is 6 months...

    Laurel’s Answer

    Based on the facts you have presented, you will want an experienced family law attorney to put together a strong case for supervised parenting time. As brother counsel pointed out, the normative approach to parenting time for an infant is more frequent, shorter visits to allow the baby and father to bond. The fact that father is not perfect does not mean is not going to have the opportunity to develop a relationship with the child. The fact that he has an apparently serious drinking problem does mean he may be subject to supervision, rehabilitation efforts, etc. That's where a good attorney advocating for you and the best interests of the baby will be invaluable. Good luck to you.

    See question 
  • What steps should I take to resolve my custody issue?

    I have a court order for sole physical and legal custody of my son, but he has been staying with his father in his grandmother's home while I was staying with my mother in a two-bedroom apartment. I now have my own home in a more stable neighborho...

    Laurel’s Answer

    I agree with my fellow attorneys that you should be able to simply pick up your son. However, I assume you do not feel the resulting confrontation would be in your child's best interests. Therefore, the only thing you can do is seek enforcement through your family court that issued you the custody order. Given the fact that you voluntarily relinquished physical custody for a period of time, you may have a real battle on your hands. Therefore, as has been suggested you really need a family law attorney to advocate for you in court.

    See question 
  • What do I do when my child asks me to keep quiet?

    I am the parent, I have always been the parent. My daughter has just started going to her moms, after 12 years her mom is half ass involved. She gets her for 8 weeks this summer. I just found out that she has filed for full custody claiming that i...

    Laurel’s Answer

    It is hopefully obvious to you that if there is a legal challenge to change custody, you will need the expert services of a family law attorney to assist you in determining what is the most effective evidence and the best way to present it in court. However, when you think about your specific question on this forum, it seems to me more a question for a counselor or therapist. That is, whether you use confidential information provided to you by your child, and in fact, whether it is healthy for your child to engage in "divide and conquer" tactics between her parents suggests the need for some guidance from a mental health expert, not from a lawyer. I hope you are able to successfully sort through both the legal and emotional issues you are facing and wish you all the best.

    See question 
  • What can I do/file when someone puts false information on a PPO in Michigan?

    I am going through a contentious divorce, and my soon to be ex-wife filed a PPO that contained information which was false (i.e. she lied in order to make it look like I did something I didn't). I have some evidence that shows she lied/made a fal...

    Laurel’s Answer

    No, you cannot have her charged with anything. But, if the court issued a PPO ex parte (without a hearing) you have 14 days to file objections and request a hearing to present your evidence.

    See question 
  • Is there a way we can sign or write a letter stating what money will be paid during our separation that is legal?

    My husband and I are separating,we do not want to file for a divorce yet but,will be moving out separately from our rental house. We both are agreeing on money to pay bills and to help support our child and that I will keep health insurance on my ...

    Laurel’s Answer

    You and your husband can agree to bind each other to a contract. However, I always tell people that it is not worth the paper it is written on, because if one of you decides to sue for divorce before the contract is up, s/he cannot be legally prevented from doing so by a contract between the parties. Additionally, once a divorce is filed, the court is required to follow the Michigan Child Support Formula and other applicable laws pertaining to the support of children. Having said that, I will return to my first statement. You are free to make a contract; just understand you cannot enforce it if he decides to sue for divorce instead.

    See question 
  • How do I get rid of my husband of six years that is a achololic verbally abusing.

    My husband of six years one common child now 26yrs old, would rather work for the temp agency for ten dollars ,and keep drinking and calling me ugly names, than tho be skilled traded for twenty-eight dollars and be Nice living in the local motel...

    Laurel’s Answer

    It seems rather obvious that you need to seek a divorce. I would suggest interviewing several on AVVO who practice in your county, and select one you feel is a good mix. You will not be entitled to child support, as you have an adult child, and it does not sound as if he will be able to afford spousal support, but at least you can, as you put it "get rid of him" in the sense that you will no longer be legally bound to him. Good luck to you.

    See question 
  • My child is in a "shelter" for mental illness, it is a crisis center. If I refuse to discharge her what will happen?

    My daughter is 17. She has been in and out of mental hospitals and in outpatient treatments and on meds for a few years. She was on suicide watch last week and I am being told there is no way to get her long term treatment because her insurance wo...

    Laurel’s Answer

    I recommend that you seek to have yourself appointed as her guardian, which would allow you to make medical decisions for her. Given the circumstances you have described, this will not be simple and will require preparation for a contested hearing. I would also point out that unless a guardian is appointed who keeps your daughter institutionalized, just having yourself appointed as guardian will not guarantee that you can keep her off the streets and drug-free. A guardian will not obviate the need for insurance to pay for services, nor will it give you the physical wherewithal to detain her. Therefore, you would be best served by scheduling a consultation with an attorney who is experienced in contested guardianships involving incompetent adults to assist you in protecting your daughter.

    See question 
  • Can my daughter be charged with child abandonment and lose her son?

    I am taking my daughter to Vegas ( we live in Michigan) for her 25 th birthday . My daughter has asked her husband for divorce . She is a stay at home mom per her husbands request. He doesn't allow her any $ and verbally abuses her . He doesn't ta...

    Laurel’s Answer

    Mr. Ceci is absolutely correct. I agree with everything he has said. What kind of marriage requires a woman to find a caretaker for her children while she takes a brief vacation? Their father should be caring for them!

    I would only add that your question points out the real need for divorce planning. There are many questions that your daughter needs answered while she plans her escape strategy from this failed marriage. I would recommend that after her fun birthday vacation, she schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney so that she can plan effectively and prepare for the big step of divorce.

    See question 
  • Can I get alimony changed in Michigan?

    I was divorced in 2014. I agreed to pay my ex $3500 in alimony and $300 in child support per month. I based this thinking that my ex would need to buy a house and car. After we were divorced, my ex's parents bought her a new house and car. The...

    Laurel’s Answer

    Whether you can request a modification of alimony depends on whether the judgment permits modification or whether it is non-modifiable in nature. Assuming for the sake of argument that it is modifiable, your request to lower your support obligation must be supported by facts demonstrating a significant change of circumstances. If, for instance, your income is reduced by more than a nominal amount, that might be sufficient. If, as you state, your ex is receiving a monthly stipend of $2500, that can be counted as additional income for her and may well constitute a change of circumstances that would support a reduction of income.

    Your first step is to have a family law attorney review the judgment with you to determine the scope of your right, if any, to reduction of alimony. Your second step would be to plan a strategy to ensure the most effective means for your attorney to present the issue to the court.

    There are many fine AVVO attorneys you can interview to find the one that is right for you.

    See question