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Laurie Schmitt

Laurie Schmitt

Offering highly personalized, attentive and affordable service
  • Family Law, Divorce, Domestic Violence
  • Michigan
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&AResponsive Law

I am a graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Michigan State Bar and U.S. Western District Court licensed attorney specializing in family law.

Since establishing my own practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I have represented clients with their family law-related cases including divorce, collaborative divorce, child custody, visitation, paternity, change of domicile, child support, spousal support, and post-judgment issues.

I focused my practice on family law after spending over two decades immersed in the court system as a paralegal. I assisted attorneys and their clients in navigating the difficult, and often painful process that came with changes in family structure and responsibilities.

Because I understand how difficult family law issues can be, I am committed to educating my clients on all of their options available to them and their families, as well as on the process.

I always begin each case with the intent and hope that we can settle your case without the need for delayed and expensive litigation. I am a certified civil mediator, certified domestic relations mediator, and have been certified in the practice of collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce can provide fair and reasonable outcomes for everyone involved in the divorce, including the children, and reduce unnecessary conflict in the process.

However, I have a track record of providing aggressive representation in Michigan's family court system if a settlement cannot be reached. Regardless of the road your case takes, I will always provide you with personalized, quality, and affordable representation.

Serving the following counties: Kent, Allegan, Newaygo, Ionia, Ottawa, Montcalm, Muskegon and Barry

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School
J.D. (2012)
Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Logo
Professional Experience
Attorney, Mediator, and Collaborative Lawyer
Schmitt Law, PLLC
- Current
Family Law Certificate
Institute of Continuing Legal Education
Basic Interdisciplinary Collaborative Training
Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan
General Civil Mediator Training
The Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan
Professional Associations
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
- Current
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Collaborative Divorce Professionals of West Michigan
- Current
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Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan
- Current
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State Bar of Michigan
- Current
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Grand Rapids Bar Association
- Current
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • Free Consultation
    One-half hour free
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    Visa and Mastercard
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    LIMITED SCOPE SERVICES There are times when you simply do not require the services of an attorney throughout your entire case. It may be that you need to know the relevant law regarding a specific subject matter, or simply need assistance with drafting documents. With Limited Scope Services, you are contracting for specific services, rather than hiring me to take over the entire case. And you pay for only those services you need. These services are offered on an hourly basis, and are paid when the legal assistance is provided. Therefore, there are no future invoices or hefty retainers to be paid up front. You simply pay as you go, and only pay for the services you really need.
Practice Areas
Family Law
Adoption, Child Custody, Child Support, Father's Rights, Guardianship & Conservatorship, Paternity, Prenups & Marital Agreements, Restraining Orders, Same Sex Family Law
Collaborative Law, Contested Divorce, Military Divorce, Property Division, Same Sex Divorce, Spousal Support & Alimony, Uncontested Divorce
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, Victims Rights , Victims Rights
Additional Practice Areas
  • Mediation
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Limited Scope Representation
  • English: Spoken, Written
Legal Answers
Q. How difficult is it to petition the court to move out of state with my 16 year old?

Are you contemplating moving out of town or out of state with your child? Will this move be more than 100 miles from the child's current legal residence? Has the court awarded you joint legal custody or sole legal custody?

Before you decide to move with your child, you should review your court order. Did it grant both of you joint legal custody of the minor child? If so, you will be unable to move with the child more than 100 miles from the child's current legal residence without consent of the other parent or permission from the court. The child's legal residence is where each the parties lived on the day that the order was signed by the judge. This is called the 100 Mile Rule.

Did your court order grant you sole legal custody of the minor child? If so, this is the exception to the 100 Mile Rule. If you have sole legal custody, you will not have to seek the consent of the other parent, or the permission of the court if you want to move more than 100 miles from the child's legal residence.

You have determined that you have joint legal custody of the minor child. And let's assume the other parent will not consent. You will need to pursue your request for a change of domicile through the court. The court will review the factors found in MCL 722.31 to determine if they will grant your request for a change of domicile.

MCL 722.31 Factors:

(a) Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent.

(b) The degree to which each parent has complied with, and utilized his or her time under, a court order governing parenting time with the child, and whether the parent's plan to change the child's legal residence is inspired by that parent's desire to defeat or frustrate the parenting time schedule.

(c) The degree to which the court is satisfied that, if the court permits the legal residence change, it is possible to order a modification of the parenting time schedule and other arrangements governing the child's schedule in a manner that can provide an adequate basis for preserving and fostering the parental relationship between the child and each parent; and whether each parent is likely to comply with the modification.

(d) The extent to which the parent opposing the legal residence change is motivated by a desire to secure a financial advantage with respect to a support obligation.

When applying these factors, the court's main focus is whether the move will improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent, not just the parent. The focus must remain on the child. Courts want to hear about quality of life issues such as:

• The quality of the schools in the proposed location. The court will determine if the school is comparable to the child's current school.

• The availability of extra-curricular activities. If the child is currently involved in extra- curricular activities, what is the availability of similar activities for the child in the proposed location.

• The presence of extended family in the current location verses the proposed location.

• Any other factors that provides the curt with specifics of how this move will enhance the child's life.

Because of the complexity of a change of domicile case, it can be difficult to represent yourself. Furthermore, you can expect that the results for a change of domicile case will vary significantly from court to court, as courts interpret the standards for a change of domicile very differently.

To conclude, it is best to seek the advice of a family law attorney versed in change of domicile cases prior to you filing any motion seeking to move with the child.
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Q. if I have 50% legal custody is the other party allowed to refuse parenting time
A: If you have a court order that specifically defines your parenting time, the other party would be in violation of that court order if they refuse parenting time.

Legal custody does not have anything to do with parenting time. Legal custody defines who can make major decisions for the child such as where they go to school, medical issues, etc.

If you are not receiving your parenting time as defined in your court order, you can file a parenting time complaint with the friend of the court.
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Contact & Map
Family Law Attorney
401 Hall Street SW
Suite 112D
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Telephone: (616) 608-4634
Monday: 8 AM - 4 PM (Today)
Tuesday: 8 AM - 4 PM
Wednesday: 8 AM - 4 PM
Thursday: 8 AM - 4 PM
Friday: 8 AM - 4 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed