Personal Injury Lawyer and Divorce and Family Law: What You Will Need to Start a Case

What do you need to start a legal case? The answer to that would depend on the type of case you are talking about and what kind of attorney you would need. When you are looking at cases involving personal injury lawyer and divorce and family law, you are talking about the civil side of the law- which can sometimes be far less than civil. To start a case in any of these arenas, you have to consider this question first: do I really need to involve the courts with this? If the answer is yes, your case begins with the hiring of your attorney.

Once you have found the right attorney, you can then start building the case. For our example, we will use personal injury lawyer, Pete who is going to help Doug build a case against the trucking company that destroyed his minivan and nearly killed him in the process. To get started on his case, Doug will need the police report, the detailed accident report and any photographs that were taken at the scene. He will also need his doctor’s reports, x-rays, lab test results and the list of medications that he was prescribed at the ER. Doug will also be told to keep a list of any medical follow up appointments or treatments that he must make because of this accident. In addition, Doug will keep a diary about how he feels each day and what normal, daily activities that he finds himself unable to perform.

Pete will take all of the documents that he is getting from Doug and use them to compose an initial contact letter to the trucking company and their own attorneys and insurance agencies. From there, the need to proceed will be up to them. If they want to offer a settlement, Pete and Doug will decide whether it is fair and reasonable or if they would get more in a court case. If they accept the offer, the papers will be drawn up and signed and the case will be over with. On the other hand, if the settlement is not considered to be fair, they will refuse it and the case will continue to build.

During the course of all of this, Pete will encourage Doug to continue keeping up with his diary which he will mention to the other attorney whenever he contacts him. There may be a deposition, or a formal hearing that will allow the sides to meet face to face and get a feel for where the case is heading. After the deposition, another settlement offer will be made and if this one is refused, Pete will demand a trial date to be scheduled. At this point, the trucking company will probably make a bigger settlement offer and unless he really has something incredibly damning or he just likes the thrill of a trial, Pete will encourage you to take it.

This article is not to be construed as legal advice.

Additional Legal Pages: If you need further information on Family Law please visit


Divorce Law and Annulment

An annulment is different than a divorce in that it legally makes a marriage null and void. An annulled marriage is considered to have never existed. There are two types of annulment, legal annulment and religious annulment.

Legal Annulment

In order to have an annulment, it must be shown that the marriage was never valid to begin with. Some common reasons a marriage can be invalidated are:

  • One spouse was under the legal age to get married at the time of the marriage
  • One spouse suffers from mental illness, or was under the effects of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage
  • One spouse was already married to someone else at the time of the marriage
  • One spouse withheld important facts, such as a desire not to have children, inability to have children or having a serious illness
  • The marriage was never consummated
  • The marriage was between two people that are too closely related to be legally married, such as a parent and a child or aunt and a nephew

Religious Annulment

Religious annulments have nothing to do with legal annulments. They are granted by your religious institution, not your state. In some cases people obtain a divorce, and are later granted a religious annulment. Religious annulment requirements vary with each religion.

Differences Between Divorce and Annulment

The process of an annulment is very similar to a divorce. Similar papers must be filed and similar hearings are held. An annulment can usually be finalized much more quickly than a divorce. While annulments usually apply to short marriages, the duration of the marriage is not a factor in determining if an annulment is an option. For example, if two people were married for 30 years, but one of them was married to someone else first, it would qualify for annulment.

Because an annulment essentially means the marriage never existed, unlike with a divorce, there can be no claims for alimony or spousal support. Any children that were conceived during a marriage that was later annulled are considered legitimate children and child support, health care and visitation must still be determined for them. Some states are reluctant to grant an annulment for marriages that had children.

This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact an attorney in your local area for more information about divorce law.

Additional Legal Tools: Visit the law offices of Elan Wurtzel for more information on divorce law and annulments.

How Can No One be at Fault?

Though divorce rates in the U.S. have been dropping, it is estimated that close to 50% of marriages will still come to an end. This is below a peak in 1981, but still double the rates held in the ‘50s. In Michigan, there are three ways to deliberately end a marriage:

Annulment – This legally states that a marriage never existed. Annulments are rarely granted. Conditions include:
• Biological relationship
• Mental incompetence at the time of marriage
• Being under age for marriage
• Being forced into marriage through threats
• Fraud
• Bigamy

Separate maintenance – Commonly known as legal separation, the couple remains married, but wants to keep separate residences, debts, entitlements, or obligations. Legal separations are commonly granted due to religious reasons or for financial benefits, such as taxes or health care.

Divorce – The marriage is legally ended by the court. Households and marriage contracts are severed, and each party is free to marry again. Reasons for divorce are as varied as the couples involved.

No-Fault Law
Like several states, Michigan has a “pure no-fault” divorce law. This means that the parties do not need to explain why they are seeking a divorce, except that one of them decides they don’t want to be married anymore. The party wishing to divorce must claim a “breakdown of the marriage, causing objects of matrimony to be destroyed such that there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” Furthermore, the party who did not consent to the divorce proceedings has no legal way in which to contest the divorce. In most other states with a no-fault law, if one of the parties contests the proceedings, the other must show that there are grounds for a divorce.

No-fault can seem like a pleasant way to end a marriage. With both parties consenting, they can get on with their lives, perhaps even in an amiable manner. But if there are issues of child custody, property division, or spousal support, a no-fault divorce proceeding can quickly turn ugly. In this case, the law may examine who is to blame and just where the fault lies, and the parties may wind up in court in a protracted case eating up time and money.

Recent Proposed Changes
Believing that no-fault laws create a higher incidence of divorce, and perhaps divorces for absolutely no reason, Michigan legislators are seeking to limit how this law works. For families with young children and marriages without children, and in which one party wishes to remain married, it may be harder to obtain a no-fault divorce. This law can open up an entirely new can of worms in which those who wish to exit their marriages may not be able to do so.

In the meantime, if you, or a loved one, are in need of an experienced divorce lawyer in the Detroit or Ann Arbor, Michigan area, please contact Robert G. Morrison & Associates, P.L.L.C.

Divorced Dads Tips – Christmas and Holiday Access Tips: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

If you have any questions feel free to ask us. Christmas and holiday day access is one of the biggest problems divorced dads face. The saddest thing are the number of calls we get at our offices from divorced dads for help to see their kids at Christmas.

It saddens me because I was one of those kids who did not see my dad during Christmas. My heart actually goes out to the kids. When you do not see your dad, you think you did something wrong as a kid. We all know that that is not the case. At Christmas time it even feels worse for the many kids who feel this way. My heart also goes out to these kids and their dads.

But here’s the problem the divorced dads face, they feel they are beaten before they even try. So many don’t bother trying. They are overcome with anguish and grief from missing their kids. For example, At least fully two-thirds of the fathers, grandmothers and grandparents that call us, not many of them have not really taken any action up to this point. That’s because they feel that it is totally hopeless and useless to do anything, because they have prejudged the outcome

Of course it is a difficult time. Here is the problem when you want to take action. What happens is the court system becomes a bottleneck and becomes even slower than it normally is, which is already slow, it is at a snail pace. It just makes the stress even worse that you are trying to rush things through and it is just not happening.

That’s why a lot of the people who called in to us are exasperated, frustrated because they don’t have a strategy or answers.

Many are very sad and angry with good reason: After they’ve spent tons and tons of money going through the legal system, they have still have not gotten to the solution that they are looking for, they are exasperated and do not really know what else to do. And now it’s Christmas.

Because these divorced dads are having a difficult time emotionally: They are not getting any kind of support from the system; they are not getting any kind of help from their lawyer that is effective, and as a result they are almost like lost souls. They just do not know what to do.

Most often, they have no strategy and that is huge part of the problem. With any problem in life, if you can sit down and try to actually map out a plan, that is always the best way of proceeding. It is not always easy to do because we are talking about our families here. It is hard to remove emotion, but helps to have a clear head and look at it strictly from a strategic point of view.

Another part of the problem is that most of the people who had called in have been provoked beyond reason, And that they are having a very, very difficult time too, especially when they are suffering all of the above symptoms of discrimination in Family Court.

So what’s the solution?

Coaching and solution focused mentoring that points a divorced dads in the right direction: Finding a father who has been successful in solving this particular problem is crucial, because then he can show what has already worked in his situation.

The important point is this exasperation won’t solve your problems, nor will frustration, nor anger. The # 1 thing successful divorced dads have in common is an open mind and a creative spirit. When there is seemingly no way possible, you must make a way

Like their children when they want something badly they never take NO for an answer. Neither should a divorced dad, no matter the obstacles or challenges. That’s the best present a divorced dad can give their child their can-do spirit the one that overcomes all odds.

That’s a gift a child can take with them all the days of their life.

Danny Guspie – Executive Director of Fathers Resources International can help you learn the successful strategies of fathers who have won in Family Court. Join us on our weekly calls at where we will share with you what works for successful divorced dads.

Divorced Dads Tips: Why We Offer Free Help For Divorced Dads Every Week

DISCLAIMER: The following is NOT legal advice, nor is it a substitute for legal advice. If you are in Family Court you will need legal advice, so please see a lawyer.

Heidi Nabert and I have been working on integrating new technology into building community amongst divorced dads worldwide. It’s interesting and rewarding work when we actually can help a divorced dad turn his situation around.

As part of our outreach programs for Divorced Dads around the world we conduct weekly Free teleseminars. We are also looking at offering future group training and coaching sessions.

Our promise and commitment to divorced dads is that if you begin the process of learning everything that you can, your situation will turn around. We have seen it happen countless times.

We have been doing this kind of work for over 14 years. Plus we have an added advantage when it comes to the insights necessary to begin unraveling these problems from a child’s perspective:

My own personal situation goes back to when I was 5 years old. I am happy to say I am 49 today, I have learned a tremendous amount about how you can turn the situation around. Unfortunately, it did not turn around for me, as a kid but I want to share with you how you can turn your situation around for the sake of your kids.

That is why Heidi and I do this work with divorced dads We are here because our hearts go out to your kids, having been one of those kids many years ago, we want to help their fathers understand the issues at stake for their kids from the child’s perspective.

I am sure that a lot of you know at least one other dad that might be going through this and going through a really difficult time. If you can reach out to someone when they are going through a difficult time, it helps them through the process and stay positive.

In the meantime here’s some ideas for you to consider in your situation:

You want to try and minimize some of the drama that is going on and obviously the children are very perceptive. They pick up on all the tension and start something up and stressing about — they are picking up on the stress. That is the last thing in the world that you want. So, just try make your time with the kids as enjoyable as possible instead of as perfect as possible.

Next with your Family Court situation: You can observe the action in the courtroom and, all kidding aside, I would definitely recommend if you are not available to go to a local court to watch what was going on, watch out Judge Judy. Again, I think it will teach you quite a bit about the law and how judges make decisions that might help you understand better what is going on with your own case.

Finally, stay focused, healthy and strong while learning the value of flexibility. We teach specific strategies to keep you at your best for the stressful situations you will face. Burt you must be ready to implement what we teach you.

The thing is this: Almost 20 years ago I was in your situation. And now today with Heidi, we help men around the world solve their problems. I could never have know that being a loving dedicated father to my children would result in the work I’m engaged in today.

You never know where your choices will lead you.

I do know this “I was not about to be steamrollered into a non-existent role in our children’s lives by an uncaring bureaucratic system designed by lawyers.”

Not that I have anything against good lawyers. Its just finding them is very difficult if you don’t know how?

The thing is this: I discovered just how little value was placed by society in my worth as a father to the children. That’s just plain wrong and bad public policy. The foundation of all civilization is the family, the first group of people we learn how to belong with. When you destroy that foundation, you erode the basis of a functioning society that has decided to band together for the common good, which is the noblest of human aspirations.

When we remove Dad from the equation, we remove the natural protector of the family from the mix. And look at the results after the failed social experiment divorce has become.

Every time you take a look at the anger of today’s youth, you are looking at the underbelly of divorce.

And that concerns me deeply someday I hope to be around to enjoy my great-great grandchildren. It’s my job and our collective responsibility to leave the world better than we found it.

If those of us of character and ability don’t stand up and do something, we will have failed our children and their children and their children’s children miserably by leaving behind a legacy where there is no meaningful experience of family left.

We owe it not only to ourselves, but to each other to turn that around before we pass the torch to the next generation. That is our war: World Peace Begins at Home.

You can’t expect a peaceful world to emerge, when we can’t even have peace on the home front.

Think about it.

Danny Guspie – Executive Director of Fathers Resources International can help you learn the successful strategies of fathers who have won in Family Court. Join us on our weekly calls at where we will share with you what works for successful divorced dads.

Divorced Dads Tips: The Difference Between Parental Alienation Syndrome & Mommy Manipulation!

DISCLAIMER: The following is NOT legal advice, nor is it a substitute for legal advice. If you are in Family Court you will need legal advice, so please see a lawyer.

We’ve seen a number of cases over the years of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) over the years. To be clear: It is not a recognized medical syndrome. And, it is often overused and inappropriately by divorced dads, it can torpedo their case fast simply because it is a simplistic overstatement of the true facts.

It’s a phrase now that is embedded into the legal speak that goes on in Family Courtrooms everywhere when access/visitation denial by anything from a mildly angry to an extremely malicious mother. And therein lies the problem. By not characterizing the seriousness of the problems appropriately and accurately, a divorced dad loses credibility when he doesn’t distinguish between:

(a) Manipulation and/or alienation;

(b) Moderate, severe, extreme, fanatical forms of manipulation;

(c) Moderate, severe, extreme, fanatical forms of alienation.

Accurately portraying through evidence which pigeonhole your child’s symptoms seem to suggest tends to demonstrate reasonableness on the fathers part, which naturally confers credibility on that evidence because it does not come across as a distortion or exaggeration of the facts.

When a malicious mother ramps up her campaign of hatred to the point that the children are seized with an OVERWHELMING irrational fear of the father following separation and/or divorce PAS becomes a distinct possibility, but it is unlikely beforehand.

So what is overwhelming fear?

It does not include any fear that is superficial. The typical kind displayed by many children who either can and/or can’t explain their fear, but don’t act in a manner consistent with those fears.

Here’s an example of consistency that borders on fanatical: A child who is cowering in the corner, even when fully protected in a supervised access center with social workers, still refuses to try and have a relationship with their dad.

Usually children such as these have been so poisoned by a mother ingratiating the child into their world view through parentification: The process where a child is made a confident of a mother and where sharing of how dangerous daddy is takes place in a sophisticated and subtle way that is far beyond a child’s abilities to understand, appreciate and fend off.

At the simplest level, manipulation that is not constantly sustained lacks depth, because it lacks consistent reinforcement at every opportunity possible. I would characterize this as the typical tactic of an overwrought mother not necessarily wanting revenge, but who is venting inappropriately through involving their child in their tirades and rants.

Malicious Mommy Manipulation Syndrome begins here and ends when a mother is including hatred and anger with sufficient force to influence a child towards PAS.

I’ve used the above framework to discern for myself what level of manipulation and/or actual alienation is taking place. Alienation always relies upon some form of HUGE lie told to frighten the child such as: your Dad will kidnap you and you will never ever see me again. Then when Dad is tired of you, he will abandon you God knows where. Then some stranger will find you and kill you.

That would terrify any child. And that is where real PAS begins from my perspective.

I remember a conference we had for the National Shared Parenting Association about 10 years ago where there was a young woman, she was about 21 years old, came to speak with us after we did our opening remarks. She was in absolute tears. Her mother had told her that her father was a monster.

This lady was in her mid 20s and for most of her childhood into early teenage and early adulthood, she was told her dad is a monster. I guess when she went out on her own she mustered up enough courage to try and find him and she did. Here was the real shocker. He is a wonderful man, which basically means she was betrayed by her mother. We told her: “You know you are very brave and good for you that you mustered up the courage to go and find your dad and you are reconnecting with him.”

The biggest challenge she is going to face now is learning how to forgive her mother, if that is even still possible. She might not be able to. This is the cost of what happens in divorce. Sometimes children are forced to make a choice between their parents. No child should ever have to do that.

It is not appropriate to wage war over your kids but it is appropriate to wage peace. The best advice that we can give you is to choose happiness over perfection. You and your kids will have a better time for it and likely a better person as a result.

When you face a really difficult situation that seems as if your kids are manipulated or alienated remember this formula when describing it to the Family Court Judge:

Is what you are seeing exhibited in your child:

(a) Manipulation and/or alienation;

(b) Moderate, severe, extreme, fanatical forms of manipulation;

(c) Moderate, severe, extreme, fanatical forms of alienation.

And match your evidence closely to what you describe.

Remember all manipulation and alienation is wrong, but the key to resolving it in Family Court is vigorously exposing it accurately. That’s the beginning of any Family Court Game Plan where these are the main issues facing your children.

Finally, be patient. This form of abuse is difficult to detect, and to prove. It takes time. However having a management system for the diagnosis of the problem will often lead to its solution.

Danny Guspie – Executive Director of Fathers Resources International can help you learn the successful strategies of fathers who have won in Family Court. Join us on our weekly calls at where we will share with you what works for successful divorced dads.

Divorce and Family Law Case Update

Evidence presented to the trial court indicated that the cost of supporting a child had substantially increased and that defendant’s income had substantially increased so as to enable him to pay this additional amount; in light of this evidence it was error for the trial court not to order the defendant to pay modified amount plaintiff sought for child support.

Death of Obligor Subsection (c) of this section provides that the obligation to support, unless otherwise agreed in writing or provided in the judgment, will survive the death of the parent obliged to provide child support and seeks to protect the dependent child of divorced parents from loss of support through disinheritance, a loss from which a child of non-divorced parents is indirectly insulated.

An order under 750 ILCS 5/513 for education and maintenance of a child, whether of minor or majority age, is intended to be included within subsection (c) the same as a support order and is not terminated by the death of a parent obligated to pay for these expenses. An order of support for a non-minor child, although only to be granted under special circumstances under 750 ILCS 5/513 is the same as any other order of support and does not terminate upon the death of the parent obligated to pay the support unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the judgment. Subsection (c) authorize modification of child support, when a parent obligated to pay support dies, “to the extent just and appropriate in the circumstances”; however, no modification of a support order is warranted where the decedent has adequately provided for the children.

No modification of a support order is warranted where the person obligated to pay support has adequately provided for the children in a testamentary device. Subsection (c) of this section seeks to protect the dependent child of divorced parents from loss of support through disinheritance, a loss from which a child of nondivorced parents is indirectly insulated; a divorced parent is still free the disinherit a child of his divorced marriage, subject only to the limited obligation of support. Since an original decree made no provision for support of the minor children by the father, the former wife’s petition filed after the father’s death constituted in effect an effort to enforce a claim against plaintiff’s estate for child support unrelated to the divorce decree, and, since the death of the plaintiff rendered it impossible for the trial court to enter any personal decree against him, there could be no basis for granting relief provided by an amended decree under former Ill.Rev.Stat., ch. 40, para. 19.

Delayed modification

Where at the time the petition for modification was filed, the defendant was receiving his full salary, he had incurred additional expenses because of a heart attack, but he had also recently received an inheritance, the trial court properly found that reduction of his alimony and support payments was not justified at the time of the filing of the petition, but that a modification was justified effective six months later.


Support should be determined by accommodating the needs of the children with the available means of the parties.

San Antonio divorce and family law firm handling divorce and family law cases throughout San Antonio and the surrounding areas. Results driven law firm with experience and skill to handle the most difficult cases. Divorce San Antonio