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James P. Cunningham

Partner
  • p. 248.642.0333 ext. 307
  • Email

Overview

James P. Cunningham maintains one of the most highly regarded family law and divorce litigation practices in the state. In his over 30 years in practice, he has represented numerous men and women well-known in the Detroit metropolitan community. His career includes ten published appellate cases concerning important family law issues, three of these before the Michigan Supreme Court.

A prolific author, Jay has published over twenty articles on family law topics.  He lectures extensively throughout the state. He is one of three attorneys in Michigan certified as a fellow in the International Academy of Family Law.  He is on the faculty of three institutes that provide legal education and certification to lawyers and non-lawyers, and is the adjunct professor of family law at WMU - Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He is a Fellow and past President, Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the most prestigious organization of family law practitioners in the nation.

Prior to law school, he served five years with distinction as an officer in the United States Navy.

Jay is frequently honored for achievement by his peers and ranking organizations. He has been named as a “Michigan SuperLawyer” since its inception, and among Michigan’s “Top 100 Lawyers” by Thomson Reuters. He is also ranked by Martindale-Hubbell as an AV® “Preeminent”™ Lawyer since 1988.  As well he is included in Best Lawyers in America, the nation’s top ranked peer recognition network.  

Professional Affiliations

  • State Bar of Michigan
    •  Family Law Section
      • Former Executive Board Member, Family Law Council (1986-1992)
      • Chair, Character and Fitness Committee (District 1-Oakland County) (2004-2010)
  • American Bar Association
    • Executive Committee, Law Practice Management Section
    • Member, Family Law Section
  • Oakland County Bar Association
    • Past President (2003-2004)
    • Former Chair of Family Law, Circuit Court, Diversity, Bench Bar Conference (1992-2001)
    • Veteran’s Committee Chair (2014-2015), 2012 - present
  • American Inns of Court
    • Charter Master
  • Oakland County Bar Foundation (2002 to 2005)
    • Board of Directors
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
    • President, Michigan Chapter (2009 to 2010)
  • International Academy of Family Law
    • Fellow

Community/Civic Activities

  • Alumni Association, Brown University
    • Past Chairman
  • Board of Trustees, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 2012 to present

Honors & Awards

  • American Bar Association National Pro Bono Award, Veterans Assistance, 2013
  • “The Best Lawyers in America” 2011 to present Selected by Woodward/White, Inc.
  • “Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit” 2012 to present
    Selected by DBusiness Magazine
  • Michigan “SuperLawyers” inception to present
    Selected by Thompson Reuters Corporation
  • “Top 100 Michigan Lawyers” inception to present                                        Selected by Thompson Reuters Corporation
  • AV® “Preeminent”™ Lawyer 1988 to present
    Ranked by Martindale-Hubbell through peer review
  • Leading Lawyer Peer Recognition 2013 to date
  • Nation’s Top One Percent since 2014
  • National Association of Distinctive Counsel
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 6th Edition (1999)
  • Who’s Who in the World, 19th edition (1990)
  • Distinguished Service Award, Oakland County bar Association

Admissions

  • State Bar of Michigan, 1980 United States
  • District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1980

Experience

Representative Matters

Tried to completion over 100 divorce or custody trials.

News & Insights

Articles & Publications

  • “Family Law and Military Issues,” Michigan Bar Journal, February, 2015
  • “Separate Property Law: Eating Jello with Chopsticks,” Michigan Bar Journal, June 2008
  • “Marriage in the 21st Century: The Death of "Till Death Do Us Part," Michigan Bar Journal, January 2004
  • “Religious Divorces,” Laches (Oakland County Bar Association Magazine), September 1999
  • “Domestic Violence: Effect on Visitation,” Michigan Family Law Journal, 1994
  • “The Confusing Inter-Relationship of Visitation and Child Support,” Laches (Oakland County Bar Association Magazine), March 1992
  • “Maintenance of Fault in Property Division in Divorce,” Michigan Bar Journal, March 1992
  • “The Pension Cases: A Shift from Property to Income,” Michigan Bar Journal, February 1990
  • “Domestic Torts,” Michigan Family Law Journal, 1990
  • “Torts and Family Law: Emerging Trends,” Laches (Oakland County Bar Association Magazine), February 1989
  •  “State of the Law: Family Law,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1988, 1989, and 1991
  • Due Process TV - "Life After Divorce"  

March 2013

On this edition of Due Process, Henry Baskin, Donna Virkus, and James Cunningham discuss enforcing divorce decrees and ways to make sure child support is paid.

February 2009

The current economic climate has made some divorce judgments challenging to fulfill. Henry Baskin and James Cunningham discuss possible ways to modify existing settlements including an evaluation of personal bankruptcy as it relates to divorce.

Practices ›

Education ›

Education

  • Michigan State University College of Law (formerly Detroit College of Law), Detroit, MI, J.D., cum laude, 1972
  • Brown University, Providence, RI, MI, B.A,  with honors, 1972