Lynn D‘Orio, JD, PLC

Family Law: Divorce

Couple sitting by door

Unfortunately, divorce is common and everyone knows a story or two about a friend, relative or even themselves who went through the process. The lives of everyone involved in a divorce will change. Lynn will work to prevent her clients from being traumatized by the process and to get the most equitable settlement the law will allow.

Lynn will use the services of mediators, therapists, psychologists and parenting time coordinators to help reach her clients' goals. She always advises her clients: "The more you and your spouse respect each other and your children, the less traumatizing the divorce will be. On the other hand you can fight, cause your children, if not yourselves, to need therapy and pay me and some other attorney a whole bunch of money. It's your choice."

Gay gals As for "non-traditional divorce", Lynn is aware of the many problems gay and lesbian couples face in the State of Michigan. Michigan law invalidates a marriage contract between individuals of the same sex. MCLA 551.1. Michigan law also defines marriage as "a civil contract between a man and a woman". MCLA 551.2. In 2004 Michigan voters amended the Michigan Constitution to add section 25 to Article 1 stating that:

To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose. Gay guys

The Michigan Court of Appeals concluded that the word "recognized" as used in the amendment "is in a legal sense, i.e., to acknowledge the legal validity of something." National Pride at Work et al v Governor of Michigan et al, 274 Mich App 147,160; 732 NW2d 139 (2007), affirmed 481 Mich 56 (2008). The Court rejected the argument that a domestic partnership agreement "is a mere formality having no legal consequences beyond the recognition of the relationship for insurance purposes." The Court stated, "The 'public proclamation' nature of a domestic partnership agreement grants a same-sex couple the status to hold themselves out as a publicly recognized monogamous couple, i.e. a union." Id.

The Court stated a relationship between two same-sex partners cannot be consideration because legal recognition of such consideration would validate the relationship contrary to the Michigan Constitution, section 25, Article 1. National Pride at Work, supra at 164. The Court of Appeals went on to hold that the amendment bars Michigan public employers from extending same-sex domestic partnership benefits. Id at 165

In the face of the draconian laws the gay and lesbian citizens of Michigan must live with (for now, any way), Lynn will work creatively to find agreements and contracts that will be upheld by the courts. She will also work with her clients to protect their interests up front - before there is any thought of separation or divorce.

Lynn is committed to serving her clients and her community. She will listen to you first.