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Senior and Founding Partner of Richard S. Victor, PLLC, Richard S. Victor, has practiced law since 1975. He has authored many nationally published articles on Family Law, as well as co-authoring two books: Michigan Family Law and Practice, a three volume treatise on family law; and You and Me Make Three, a children’s book regarding divorce, which was the recipient of several national book awards. He has been a faculty member or guest lecturer at Colleges, Universities, Symposiums, Law Schools, and Bar Associations around the United States and Canada.


Richard is listed as a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers and listed in Best Lawyers in America; and has been named a Super Lawyer by Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine every year, since its inception and was featured on the cover of Super Lawyers publication with a special feature story in 2008. He has served as President of the Michigan chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and was elected to the National Board of Governors of the Academy, receiving its coveted National Fellow of the Year award in 2006. He was elected Chairperson of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and received its highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000 upon his 25th anniversary from graduating Michigan State University College of Law he was honored with the National Alumni of the Year Award. In 2004 the State Bar of Michigan presented him with one of its most prestigious awards, the Champion Of Justice Award, honoring him for his work on behalf of families and children. He was named as one of the top ten lawyers in Michigan by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and was awarded the Meritorious Service to the Children of America Award by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Richard is the national founder and has served, pro bono as the Executive Director of the national nonprofit Grandparents Rights Organization, since 1982. He also founded the national nonprofit Victor Smile Foundation, providing benefits to children of divorce. He, along with Judge Edward Sosnick of the Oakland County Family Court, created the SMILE (Start Making It Livable for Everyone) program (an educational program for divorcing parents) for both the state of Michigan and around the United States, as well as for the country of Australia.

Richard believes and has taught both Lawyers and Judges that divorcing couples must realize that divorce is an emotionally draining experience, born from loss, which usually does not allow individuals to think and act logically and emotionally at the same time. By creating the concept of a more honest, personalized and direct way to practice family law, Richard has instilled a new philosophy to bring integrity to the practice of family law. Richard believes that lawyers who practice family law should have a higher duty to their clients then in other areas of law. He knows that the work he does will not only affect his clients and their business and their financial interests, but will most probably affect their children and future generations of their family.

Richard and the work he has done have been featured on numerous state and national television and radio programs throughout the country, as well as three movies during his career. 


Attorney Richard Victor

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 Super Lawyers Top 50
Victor Smile Foundation
Best Divorce Lawyers in Detroit

Highlights from Mr. Victor’s career:

  • Co-author "You and Me Make Three" and founder of the Victor Smile Foundation

  • Recognized in "The Best Lawyers in America"

  • Victor named 2006 Fellow of the Year by AAML

  • Named as a Michigan Super Lawyer by "Super Lawyers Magazine"

  • Named one of the "Top Ten Lawyers of the Year" in the State of Michigan for 1999 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

  • Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section (1999).

  • Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the National Alumni Association of Michigan State University College of Law, 2000.

  • Recipient "Meritorious Service to the Children of America Award" - National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 1993.

  • Recipient "Distinguished Service Award" Oakland County Bar Association, 1994.

  • Named to Oakland County Domestic Relations Task Force - Author of Attorney Code of Conduct (2001).

  • President, Michigan Chapter American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2003-2004.

  • Recipient of the 2004 "Champion Of Justice" Award, from the State Bar Of Michigan.

  • Recipient of the 2005 "Respect For Law" Award, from the Bloomfield Hills Optimist Club.

  • National Chairperson for Continuing Legal Education, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2004 – 2007.

  • National Board Of Governors, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2004-2007.

  • Named to "Who’s Who In American Law".

  • Named to "Who’s Who In The World"

  • Founder and Executive Director, National Nonprofit Grandparents Rights Organization

  • Co-Founder State and National SMILE Parent Education Program.

  • Author and General Editor of Michigan Family Law and Practice, West Publications three volume treatise on family law.

  • Published in The Law Review of Michigan State University Detroit College of Law, 2000.

  • Guest Lecturer and Commentator for Emory Law Review and Emory Law School's Thrower Symposium on "Family Law in the 21st Century", 2005.

  • Presentation at Michigan State University College of Law "New Frontiers in Family Law".

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:

  • B.S. Wayne State University 1971

  • J.D. Michigan State College of Law 1975

TEACHING/LECTURE POSITIONS:

  • Faculty Member 1975 through 1992 Oakland University, Rochester, MI, Author and Instructor in Family Law.

  • Law School Guest Lecturer on Family Law and Child Custody: Emory Law School, University of Michigan Law School, Michigan State University College of Law, the Detroit College of Law, Wayne State University Law School, and University of Detroit Law School.

  • Guest Lecturer for Institute for Continuing Legal Education; Family Law Section State Bar of Michigan; American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; and American Bar Association.

  • Keynote speaker for State Bar Convention-Family Law Section for the Arizona Bar Association-1994; Delaware Bar Association-Family Law Section-2002

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

  • Named to Best Lawyers in America for Family Law

  • Named by U.S. News and World Reports top Family Law Firm in Metropolitan Detroit

  • 2008-Cover Story Michigan Super Lawyers edition, published by Law and Politics Magazine;

  • 2008- Hermes Creative Book Award for Children’s Books (You and Me Make Three);

  • 2006- National Fellow of the Year, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers;

  • 2004 -Champion of Justice Award, State Bar of Michigan;

  • 2000- National Alumni of the Year, Michigan State College of Law;

  • 1999- Lifetime Achievement Award, Family Law Section State Bar of Michigan;

  • 1999-Lawyer of the Year, Michigan Lawyers Weekly;

  • 1993-Meritorious Service to the Children of America Award, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

  • AAML News In Brief (notification of Champion of Justice Award)

  • Alumnus Richard Victor Receives MSU-DCL Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Lawyer of the Year

  • State Bar Honors 2004 Award Recipient

  • State Bar Honors 2004 Award Recipient (in PDF format, Adobe Reader required)

NATIONAL

  • Presenter at Second World Congress for the Rights of Children, Co-Sponsored by the United Nations, American Bar Association, and International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, June, 1997, San Francisco, California;

  • Guest Presenter American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers National Convention, Chicago, IL, 1993;

  • National Board Member Stepfamily Association of America (1979-90);

  • National Founder of "Stepparents Day";

  • Testified before the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging (12/16/82) and the United States Senate Subcommittee on Separation of Powers (11/15/83) regarding Uniform and Reciprocal Grandparents Rights legislation;

  • Speaker/Panel participant to the American Bar Association Annual Meeting on "Third Party Rights in America" (1988 and 1991);

  • Technical Adviser for Aaron Spelling Productions/ABC movies: "Whose Mother Am I?";

  • Chairperson of National Legal Panel for 4th Annual Conference of Stepfamily Association of America, Inc. - Washington, D.C.;

  • Featured Speaker/Presenter Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts, Tucson, Arizona, 1994

  • Member of National Advisory Council of Hear My Voice Children's Rights Group.

STATE/COUNTY

  • Certified Fellow American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - Elected to State Chapter Board of Managers and Board of Examiners; Secretary, 1999-2000; Treasurer,2000-2001; Vice-President,2001- 2002; President-Elect, 2002-2003; President, 2003-2004; CLE Co-Chair, Michigan Chapter, 1995- present;

  • Sustaining member of the Oakland County Bar Association; Chair of Lawyers Admission Committee (1981); Chair of Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (1982); Chair of Old-timer Night Holiday Dinner (1984 and 1985); Chair Speakers Bureau (1985). Participant in OCBA Bench/Bar Conference, 2001-2005.

  • Member of Oakland County “COPE” (Co-Parenting Effectively), Coordinating Committee, Trainer/COPE Educator;

  • Co-Founder/Chairperson and Panel Participant in the State and Oakland County "SMILE" (Start Making It Livable For Everyone) Parent Education Program;

  • Recipient "Distinguished Service Award" Oakland County Bar Association, 1994;

  • Recipient "Child Advocate Award" and Award of Appreciation from Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Oakland County (1994 and 1995);

  • Recipient of special honor by Joint Legislative Resolution #454 - Michigan Legislature, 9/93;

  • Recipient of 24 "Awards of Appreciation" from the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan from 1986 through 2000;

  • Lifetime Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation;

  • Recipient of 1984 and 1989 Honor Roll - Oakland Livingston Legal Aid Society;

  • Recipient of "Award of Appreciation" Oakland County Circuit Court (1990,1991 and 1999);

  • Life Fellow of the Oakland County Bar Foundation

  • Sustaining Member of the Oakland County Bar Association

AUTHOR/PUBLICATIONS:

  • Author and General Editor, 3 volume “Michigan Practitioners Series: Family Law and Practice”, West Group Publications, 1997

  • Editor Grandparents Rights Organization (GRO) Newsletter 1989 through present;

  • "Legally Speaking", a national legal column for the "Stepfamily Bulletin" (1984 through 1989);

  • "The Extended and Psychological Family of Children in the 1980's and Beyond" (1985 Michigan Family Law Journal);

  • "The Right to Visit" (1986 Michigan State Bar Journal);

  • "Rights of Third Parties in Child Custody Disputes" (1988 Michigan Bar Journal);

  • "Grandparent and Stepparent Rights" (1989 Trial Magazine);

  • "The Changing American Family - Grandparent/Stepparent Rights" (1989 Michigan Family Law Journal

  • "Grandparents Law" (Legal Secretaries Association Magazine);

  • "Common Sense Doctrine for the Changing American Family" (1989 Oakland County Bar Association Magazine - Laches);

  • "Family Law Needs Considerate Language, Divorce Training" (1989 Michigan Lawyers Weekly newspaper);

  • "When Third Parties Come First" (1989 American Bar Association Magazine Family Advocate);

  • "Some Common Sense Custody and Visitation Doctrines" (Fairshare Magazine 1989);

  • "Third Party Custody - A Conflict in Laws" (Michigan Family Law Journal 1990);

  • "Divorce in Michigan" (1990);

  • "Psychological Evaluations - Waiver of Confidentiality" (Michigan Family Law Journal 1991);

  • "Statutory Review of Third-Party Rights Regarding Custody, Visitation and Support" - American Bar Association Family Law Quarterly, Volume XXV, No. 1, Spring 1991;

  • "History of Grandparent Visitation in Michigan" (Michigan Bar Journal, Vol. 71, No. 3, 1992);

  • "The Rights of Children in Child Custody Disputes" (Michigan Family Law Journal, 1993);

  • "Update on History of Grandparent Visitation in Michigan" (Michigan Family Law Journal 1993);

  • "Grandparents Rights to Visitation" - American Bar Association Family Advocate Magazine, Volume 16, No. 1 (1993);

  • Guest Columnist Detroit Free Press Advisory Board relating to family law issues (1990 through 1995)

  • "Biology, Destiny and Children's Rights" - The Nation Law Journal, Volume 16, No. 30, (March 28, 1994);

  • "Did the Candidates Really Understand Family Values?" Grandparents Rights Organization Newsletter, Volume 4, No. 1 (1992);

  • "Grandparents and Other Third Party Rights to Visitation" Grandparents Rights Organization Newsletter, Volume 5, No. 1 (1992);

  • "What Happens if You Find Yourself in a Dispute Requiring an Evidentiary Hearing or Trial?" Grandparents Rights Organization Newsletter, Volume 6, No 1 (1993);

  • "Protecting the Rights of Children in Child Custody Disputes" Grandparents Rights Organization Newsletter, Volume 7, No. 1 (1993);

  • "Fighting Over Jessica" The Brandeis Brief Vol. 2, No. 1 Winter (1994-95);

  • "What is a Family?" Grandparents Rights Organization Newsletter, Volume 8, No. 1 (1994);

  • "Georgia Takes a Giant Step Backward" Grandparents Rights Organization Newsletter, Volume 9, No. 1 (1995)

  • "Examining the Proposed Divorce Bill" Eccentric/Observer Newspapers (June 15, 1995);

  • "Making Divorce Harder" Oakland County Bar Association #360 (January 1996);

  • “Are Grandparents Rights Laws Unconstitutional?” GRO Newsletter, Vol. 12, No. 1, January , 1998;

  • “Good News/Bad News For Grandparents and Grandchildren”, GRO Newsletter, Vol. 13, No. 1, April, 1999;

  • “Protecting the Children of Divorce Via Parent Education”, 13 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 1352, July 19, 1999.

  • “Grandparent Visitation Laws Are Constitutional According to Justices”, Oakland County Legal News, June 30, 2000.

  • “Grandparent Visitation Rights in the Twenty-First Century”, 2000 Law Review M.S.U.- D.C.L. 793

  • “Grandparents Have Rights!”, Michigan Bar Journal, February, 2001

  • “How to Find an Attorney”, GRO Newsletter, Vol.14, No.1, March,2001

  • “Third Party Custody Rights Examined By Appellate Court” Detroit Legal News and Oakland County Legal News, November 9, 2001

  • “Third Party Custody Rights Examined By Michigan Court Of Appeals”, Michigan Family Law Journal, Vol.30, No. 9, December, 2001

  • “Alternative Dispute Resolution in Child Custody Cases”, Michigan Family Law Journal Special Edition, February, 2002

  • “Recent Court Rule Changes That Impact Family Law Practice”, Michigan Bar Journal, June, 2002

  • “Court Examines Grandparent Visitation Law’s Validity”, Oakland County Legal News, Volume 75, Number 42, October 18, 2002.

  • “MSC To Consider Whether Grandparent Visitation Law Is Unconstitutional”, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Vol.16, No.51, October 28, 2002

  • “Visitation Should Be Allowed If It’s In The Child’s Best Interest”, Oakland County Legal News, Vol. 75, No.52, December 27, 2002

  • “Parents Working Together Serve Children’s Best Interests”, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Vol 17, No. 10, January 13, 2003

  • “DeRose v DeRose-What The Supreme Court Did Regarding Grandparent Visitation”, Michigan Family Law Journal, Vol. 33, No.8, October, 2003

  • “DeRose v DeRose. What the Supreme Court Did Regarding Grandparent Visitation and Why They Did It, Michigan Bar Journal, January, 2004

  • “How to Resolve Third Party Disputes Before They Get Out of Control”, Michigan Family Law Journal-A Guide Book for the Newly Divorced Person, 2004 Special Edition

  • "Neither Harm Nor Clear And Convincing Evidence Are Required To Meet Constitutional Requirements, Says U.S. Supreme Court Regarding Grandparent Visitation", Michigan Family Law Journal, Volume 36, Number 6, June/July 2006

  • "Is the Presumption of Joint and Equal Custody/Parenting Time Best for Children?", Michigan Bar Journal, February 2014.

  • "Have Our Changing Economic Times Impacted The Professionalism Within The Practice Of Family Law?", Family Law Section Journal, April, 2014

  • "Promoting Professionalism through better Communication", Oakland County Legal News. March 20, 2015.

  • "Still Part of the Family" Summer 2015 issue of Family Advocate, American Bar Association

MEDIA APPEARANCES:

"Oprah Winfrey Show"; NBC "Today Show"; ABC “Good Morning America”; CBS ”The Early Show”; PBS "Late Night America"; NBC "Trial Watch"; CBS "Night Watch"; ABC "Special Reports with Joan London"; CBS "Nightly News with Dan Rather"; CNN "Crossfire";CNN Burden Of Proof”; Fox “Dayside with Linda Vester”; CNN News Programs; "Jerry Springer Show"; "Larry King Radio Program"; Legal Advisor for "Good Afternoon Detroit"; Several guest appearances "Kelly & Company" - "Company"; On Air Family Law Advisor/Consultant Network and Local News Programs including ABC, CBS, NBC, WKBD; WKBD "Straight Talk"; CNN "Impact"; Family Law Advisor/Consultant and Guest Host "Ask the Lawyer" WXYT Radio 1985 through 1993; On-air Legal Analyst/Consultant/Advisor,“Good Afternoon Detroit”, WXYT-TV (ABC Affiliate) 1982-85; Several MSNBC, CNN and FOX news show appearances.

RESOURCE FOR:

New York Times; Washington Post; Better Homes and Gardens; McCall's Magazine, Changing Times Magazine; Daily Tribune; Observer and Eccentric Newspapers; Parent Magazine; USA Today; Detroit Free Press; Detroit News; American Bar Association Journal; Family Circle Magazine; Oakland County Legal News; The Wall Street Journal; Michigan Lawyers Weekly; AARP Newsletter.

CASES OF NATIONAL INTEREST:

  • Co-Counsel for James Atkinson, Atkinson v Atkinson, Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court (1986) Author and Creator of the "Equitable Parent Doctrine";

  • Counsel for Jessica DeBoer in the interstate and nationally known custody case regarding "Baby Jessica", (In re Clausen 442 Mich 648; 502 NW2d 649 (1993);

  • Amicus Curiae counsel for State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section, Tallman v Milton, 192 Mich App 606; 482 NW2d 187 (1992), which dealt with rights of foster parents to secure custody of children left in their care for extended periods of time.

  • Co-Counsel for the Grandparents in DeRose v DeRose, Michigan Supreme Court, April, 2002, regarding the issue of whether Michigan’s Grandparent Visitation Statute is Constitutional.

Member of the Bare Assets Jazz Quartet (www.lawyersplayjazz.com)

The Bare Assets Jazz Quartet, "Live at Latreille's," CD recording, June, 2000.
The Bare Assets Jazz Quartet, "Lawyers Play Jazz Live," December, 2000. 

 
 
     
 
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