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We frequently are asked if it is best to wait and let one’s spouse file the divorce first. There are many considerations we look at before making a recommendation but there is one reason that can strongly suggest that filing first would be beneficial. That reason is EX-PARTE Orders.

Ex-parte orders are orders the court enters without notice to the other party. The court can use this power to set custody, parenting time, and restraints on the use of assets including cars, homes, bank accounts and business assets. These orders are more common at the beginning of cases because it is more difficult to make contact with an unrepresented party.

The person that files first has two advantages. First, the person that files has the first opportunity to ask the court for an ex-parte order. Second, the court is less likely to issue an order against the person that filed first. This is particularly true when the person that files first is represented by an attorney.

If you fear that your spouse may do something drastic that will damage you or if you think your spouse is out to be as aggressive as possible, you should strongly consider the use of an ex-parte order. The ADAM attorneys at ARNSON VANTOL LAW can help you evaluate your case and determine your best course of action. Call us at 616 817-2326.

5 Things A Divorcing Dad Needs to Know

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  1. Your child needs you.  This is particularly true when parents aren’t getting along.  Separation from your wife might be a blessing to your children, but don’t leave them until you can be certain that they will have the time with you that they need.  If she leaves and is keeping them from you, you must act quickly for their sake.
  2. After custody is set, even on a temporary basis, it is hard to change.  Don’t get fooled by an attorney that tells you that you can always go back later and get more time with your kids.
  3. Do not be intimidated by the court.  The court may not be as fair to you as you deserve but it may be fairer to you than your ex-wife.
  4. Don’t take legal advice from your wife.  Even in the most amicable divorces, it is possible that she will lie to you for her benefit.
  5. The divorce process can start fast.  For example, in Kent County, in as few as 7 days, you could be standing in front of a Judge arguing about how much time you get to spend with your children.  If there is any chance that your wife will file for divorce before you do, you must plan ahead to make sure you are ready for it.

 If you are a dad and you want the best legal help for you, call an A.D.A.M attorney today.

Discrimination Against Men Because of Unconscious/ Implicit Bias

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Men have and will, at times, face discrimination in West Michigan courts when they assert their rights to pursue joint or sole physical custody.  The judges and friend of the court workers that perpetuate the discrimination often don't  realize that they are discriminating.  That is because many people are very susceptible to unconscious/ implicit bias.  At a recent seminar, Blind Spots: How to Avoid Poor Decisions and Bad Outcomes, the presenter, Kimberly Papillon, artfully demonstrated how people have unconscious/ implicit bias. She further made the case that those of us that rely on our biases are hurting ourselves and those around us.  Ms. Papillon's remarks mostly dealt with hiring decisions and she made a strong argument that those that use bias in hiring decisions limit their hiring pools in detrimental ways.  The manner in which men are discriminated against in family law cases is analogous.  When judges and friend of the court workers unconsciously/ implicitly see men as financial providers and women as care providers, then, of course, they generally decide that women should have primary custody and men should pay support.  But men in many custody matters are care providers and, frequently, should have joint or full custody.  Unfortunately, men must fight against the unconscious/ implicit bias that disfavors them and favors the woman.  When they do, they need a firm that will acknowledge that bias exists and has tools to fight it.  They can find the attorneys they need at Shaw Law Group, West Michigan's A.D.A.M. Firm.      


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As if it isn’t hard enough to sell a house it is even harder when you are doing so while going through a divorce.  Local Realtor Julie Grevengoed of JGR Real Estate and attorney Ivan Shaw of ADAM teamed up to come up with this list of tips for navigating the sale of a home during a divorce aimed at making sure the home sells fast and for the best price.

  1. Use the whole closet.  Some home buyers try to take advantage of the seller’s misfortune.  If a buyer suspects a divorce is a reason for the sale, the buyer may try to lowball the seller.
  2. Be picky about your realtor.  Divorce is not just hard on the husband and wife; it can also be hard on the people that come into contact with them.  That is particularly true if that person is the Realtor that must work with both of them.  Find a realtor both parties can trust and a realtor that has experience working with divorcing couples.   You will be most successful if your realtor is impartial, compassionate and patient.
  3. Make sure that the person who is occupying the home has the motivation sell it.  If the spouse that moved out is the one making the payments, which continue may continue until it sells, this can lead to an unmotivated person living in the home.  Selling a home requires a lot of logistics such as making time for showing, cleaning up before open houses and fixing little cosmetic flaws.  An unmotivated person is not likely to follow through with these details and may get fewer and smaller offers.  Consider some type of incentive for the occupying spouse, or a time frame on how long payments will be made.

You deserve the special attention of an experienced professional when facing a divorce or home sale.  The Realtors at and attorneys at are here to help you.  Please call us with any of your real estate or divorce needs.  

Arnson VanTol Law, PLC

As soon as you know you are facing a divorce or a criminal charge, you should seek competent counsel immediately. It may only require a quick call to an experienced lawyer at Arnson VanTol Law, PLC at (616) 827-ADAM (2326). Our attorneys focus on men's rights, and can help you determine if there are steps that you should take right away to protect your interests in any family law or criminal matter.

Contact Info

Grand Rapids 
4328 - 3 Mile Road, NW, Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49534

(616) 827-ADAM (2326)

5955 W. Main
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

(269) 301-2326