With more than 25 years of family law experience, including her knowledge of crisis counseling, Jessica Woll is expertly qualified to guide her clients through the tumultuous experience of divorce and custody disputes. Her finesse at combining knowledge of the many facets of the law, with equal parts compassion, creativity and tenacity, has made her a formidable champion for her clients. Jessica is also a fierce advocate for the well-being of children and her mantra for divorcing parents to “remain child-centric at all times” has helped her clients to remember to keep the best interests of their children in the forefront.
In addition to her law degree from Wayne State University, Jessica holds a degree from the University of Michigan in International Relations and Economic Development, and has lived abroad in England, Japan and Thailand. Her love of travel and experiencing the many cultures of the world has given her a unique perspective both professionally and as an active member of the diverse community that makes up Metro Detroit. These skills have propelled Jessica to the forefront of her field.
I have noticed a trend lately, in which divorces are instigated by educated individuals in their 40’s. The profile of the 40-something I am describing looks something like this: – Got married in their 20’s, sometime after completing college; – Focused on career development after marriage; – After becoming established in a profession, began to have children in their early 30’s; – Gave primary attention and focus to their young children through early adolescence (typically the wife/mother) but may also have continued to focus on career advancement; -If one spouse is the primary wage earner, they will have focused on […]
On the eve of the recent surge of states legalizing gay marriage, I was featured in a Detroit Legal News “Asked and Answered” article, where the discussion focused on the struggles that married, gay couples face when they want to divorce. Issues like the division of the marital estate, custody and support are challenges that many divorcing couples must face but same sex couples, living in a state that does not recognize the legality of their marriage, must confront these issues without the support of the family law court system. Gay marriage is not legal in Michigan but there are […]
In most counties, all court filings are now available on line. In this blog I will explore the impact of this on divorcing couples with minor children. As most people know, you begin a divorce action by filing a complaint for divorce. Once you file the complaint, your case is assigned to a judge and the information, meaning the contents of the documents you file with the court become available to purchase on line shortly thereafter. Since the information is public, the first encounter one may experience as a result of filing is that the non-filing spouse will receive a […]
He or she was once your sweetheart, but that bond has been legally broken through divorce. Still, is it possible to stay friends with your ex? In my experience as a divorce and family law attorney for 20 years, I think it depends on the couple and whether children are involved. When there are no children from the marriage, former married couples sometimes remain friends, but usually go their separate ways, often not seeing each other again or letting years pass. However, it’s a different story with children involved. When ex-spouses are co-parents, they remain in contact with each other […]
Usually around the holidays I write about survival tips for divorced parents and how to ensure that your children enjoy the season with as little post-divorce drama as possible. But for this December posting, I was thinking about how many people wait until after January 1st to file for divorce. So, if divorce is on your mind during the holidays, let’s take a look at what a best case scenario looks like. Understand that I do not take the issue of divorce lightly under any circumstance. I know the pain that is involved in making the decision to end a […]
When we think of the holidays, we would all like to think about peace, harmony and good will. Holidays are times for our children to have a ball and create lasting memories. Unfortunately, over four million divorced parents in the United States may not feel happy when it comes to thinking about the holidays. But regardless of how you feel about facing this year’s holiday season, I am sure that you want the holidays to be a good time for yourself, but more importantly for your children. Here are 7 quick tips that I hope will make the season a […]
Your spouse is a no good cheater so you decide to file for divorce. How will your spouse’s bad acts impact your settlement? I received a call from a man seeking a divorce. He informed me that he had been working overseas on a job assignment for the past year. During his time away from home, he supported his wife of 22 years by sending her money on a monthly basis to cover all of the household expenses. After completing his work assignment, the husband returned home. The husband finished his work assignment a few weeks ahead of schedule and […]
MYTH ONE: “I will get a better settlement if I file first.” This is not true. In Michigan, judges do not care who files for divorce first. Michigan law is not designed to reward one party for beating their spouse to the court house to file for divorce. However, there are certain circumstances in which it may be in your best interest to be first to file. Here are some examples of when it may be a good idea to file first: If you are afraid for your safety or the safety/well-being of your minor children. If you are afraid […]
I recently saw a billboard advertisement for an attorney next to the highway on my way downtown last weekend which said, “In god we trust – all others we sue.” I saw another one of this particular attorneys billboards a few days later that said, “Everyone hates a lawyer until they need one.” Of course like many of you who might have seen these ads and others like them you felt disgusted and even outraged. You may have thought “who in their right mind would hire an attorney so vile?” But the attorney, who boldly put himself out there for […]
I cannot tell you how many of my clients want to fight over matters of principle rather than take a cost verses benefit approach to their divorce. Okay, so you are getting divorced because your spouse is a real @#$%^&*%&*8! YOU CAN FILL IN THE BLANKS HERE. If the above definition describes the state of your marriage, then I say the best revenge against a cheating, lying and/or abusive spouse is to live well in the aftermath. But how can you live well during a state of marital turmoil? Start by following some simple guidelines during your divorce: Do not […]
I am often asked the question of what age can a child actually chose which parent they want to live with. The answer in the Michigan Family Courts varies from courtroom to courtroom. When one parent seeks a change of custody and the court finds that the requesting parent has proper cause to request that the court conduct a hearing on the issue, the Court’s focus will be on the child’s best interest as outlined in the Michigan Child Custody Act (MCL 722.23). The Act considers twelve (12) factors in determining what custody and parenting arrangement are in a child’s […]
Okay, so you have been married for a while and have endured years of injustices at the hands of your evil husband or wife. The following types of scenarios often lead a divorcing party to seek retribution from the court: You are the major bread earner in the family and your spouse ran up massive credit card debt in your name. You received an inheritance from your aunt and took your spouse on a lavish 5 star trip to Tahiti with the money, only to return home and learn that your husband/wife has been having an affair with his/her yoga […]
At times, I receive calls from clients wherein they confide in me that they are afraid their spouse might lie and claim they are physically abusive in order to get them removed from the marital home during the pendency of a divorce. Typically, both parties have a right to continue to live in their residence during a divorce proceeding. The exception of this rule is when one spouse has physically assaulted their partner and the police remove the offending party from the residence. When I have a client that is living in constant fear of being falsely accused of domestic […]
Addictions, to such things as alcohol and drugs, are a contributing factor in a high number of divorce cases. (I reference alcohol in this Blog, however, all of the points also apply to a person with a drug addiction.) ALCOHOL: Proving someone is an alcoholic, when they say they are not, might be difficult. If you know your spouse has a drinking problem, but he or she is going to deny it, what can you do to prove it in order to protect your children? COURT ORDERS: Usually the burden is on the accusing parent to prove that the other […]