150 N. Michigan Ave. Ste. 1420
Chicago, IL 60601

John F. Schaefer

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The Law Firm of John F. Schaefer

Contact Information

Ste. 320
380 N. Old Woodward Ave.
Birmingham MI 48009-5322
Work (248) 642-6655
Fax (248) 642-7878

Grosse Pointe Location:
130 Kercheval Ave.
Grosse Pointe Farms MI 48236
Work (248) 642-6655

Harbor Springs Location:
152 East Main St.
Harbor Springs MI 49740
Work (248) 642-6655

Practice State



John F. Schaefer, founder of The Law Firm of John F. Schaefer, is one of the best-known and most highly-respected matrimonial lawyers in the United States. From its inception, Best Lawyers in America has listed John Schaefer as one of the premier matrimonial lawyers in America, and named him Lawyer of the Year, Detroit Area, in 2013. Worth magazine named him one of the top 100 lawyers in America, in any practice area. Mr. Schaefer has been practicing matrimonial law for more than 40 years. Clients from Michigan, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado, Nevada, California, and elsewhere in the United States have regularly sought him out for representation in divorce actions where millions of dollars have been contested and, in at least one case, where more than $1 billion was at stake. Mr. Schaefer regularly appears on radio and television programs discussing legal topics, including matrimonial law. In 2010, Michigan State University College of Law dedicated and named the law library “The John F. Schaefer Law Library."; and dedicated The John F. Schaefer Chair in Matrimonial Law. Mr. Schaefer has served on the Board of Trustees, (now a Trustee Emeritus), and for more than 30 years as an adjunct professor of law at the Detroit College of Law, now Michigan State University College of Law, from which he was bestowed the Distinguished Alumni Award, and from which he holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He has also been an instructor for the Michigan Judicial Institute, educating hundreds of Michigan circuit court judges in the substance of matrimonial law, in addition to regular speaking engagements for ICLE and other organizations. In addition, he has been associated with numerous professional organizations, including: the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Past President (Michigan Chapter); Michigan State Bar Foundation Fellows; Oakland County Bar Association, President; and State Bar of Michigan: Family Law Section, Past Chairman; Attorney Grievance Commission, Arbitrator; and Committee on Character and Fitness. Among numerous civic and philanthropic organizations, he has served on the Board of Trustees of William Beaumont Hospital, now Beaumont Health, since 2000, and was formerly a director of the Detroit Police Athletic League. In furtherance of his courtroom accomplishments, among Mr. Schaefer many notable cases include Dart v. Dart, a case involving the laws and courts of England and assets in excess of $1 Billion; Nasser v. Nasser, representing the 36 year wife of Jacques Nasser, the then CEO of Ford Motor Company; and two cases of Iacocca v. Iacocca, representing two of the wives of Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler Corporation. He has also represented the distinguished and notable Robert A. Lutz, former President of Chrysler Corporation and Vice Chairman of General Motors Corporation. Mr. Schaefer attended Cranbrook School, the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University, and the Detroit College of Law, (now Michigan State University College of Law). Although a renowned expert on matrimonial law, he also negotiates contracts for media personalities, and buyouts and golden parachutes for leading business executives. The firm has offices in Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, and Harbor Springs, Michigan.


Family Law Lawyer


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  • Antrim, Michigan
  • Barry, Michigan
  • Bay, Michigan
  • Benzie, Michigan
  • Berrien, Michigan
  • Charlevoix, Michigan
  • Clinton, Michigan
  • Crawford, Michigan
  • Eaton, Michigan
  • Emmet, Michigan
  • Genesee, Michigan
  • Grand Traverse, Michigan
  • Ingham, Michigan
  • Kent, Michigan
  • Lapeer, Michigan
  • Leelanau, Michigan
  • Livingston, Michigan
  • Macomb, Michigan
  • Midland, Michigan
  • Monroe, Michigan
  • Oakland, Michigan
  • Ogemaw, Michigan
  • Otsego, Michigan
  • Saginaw, Michigan
  • St. Clair, Michigan
  • St. Joseph, Michigan
  • Washtenaw, Michigan
  • Wayne, Michigan

Legal Organizations

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 1976 - present American Bar Association 1969 - present Family Law Section 1969 - present American Judicature Society 1969 - 1979 Detroit Bar Association 1969 - present Friend of the Court and Domestic Relations 1972 - present Committee; Chairman 1975 - 1976 Public Advisory Committee 1976 - 1979 International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 2000 - present Judicial Review Committee 1997 - 1999 Member (U.S. Senate Committee) Michigan Association of the Professions 1976 - 1985 Michigan Inter-Professional Association on Marriage, Divorce and the Family 1974 - 1981 Michigan State Bar Foundation Fellows 1977 - present Notre Dame Club of Michigan 2010 - present Oakland County Bar Association 1969 - present Family Law Committee 1973 - 1979 Family Law Committee; Chairman 1974 - 1977 Circuit Court Committee 1985 - 1988 Domestic Relations Task Force 2001 - 2003 State Bar of Michigan 1969 - present Family Law Committee 1971 -1973 Family Law Section 1973 - present Family Law Section Council 1974 - present Family Law Section Treasurer 1977 - 1978 Family Law Section Chairman 1978 - 1979 Attorney Grievance Commission Arbitrator 1976 - present Committee on Character and Fitness 1972 - 1975; 2006 - present


The Best Lawyers in America' (first edition and all subsequent editions); Who's Who In American Law (2nd edition (1979) and all subsequent editions); Who's Who in America (50th edition (1995), and all subsequent editions); Who's Who In The World (12th Edition (1995), and all subsequent editions); Oxford's Who's Who 1992 edition and all subsequent editions; Detroit Monthly, March 1994, Can You Afford a Divorce?; 10 Divorce Lawyers You'd Want In Your Corner, Town & Country, January 1998, T & C's Guide to Civilized Divorce; America's Top Divorce lawyers (named 19 lawyers from major US cities); Worth Magazine, December 2005-2008 The Nations' Top 100 Attorneys' (named as one of America's Top Attorneys); dbusiness (Detroit's Premier Business Journal), September-October, 2006, October 2007, and November 2008, The Best Lawyers in Metro Detroit; Michigan Super Lawyers, September 2007 and September 2008, The Top 100 (named as one of Michigan's top attorneys); P.A.L.'s PAL, John F. Schaefer, Presented December 1999, "A true friend to the Detroit Police Athletic League and to the youth of Detroit," Detroit Athletic League.

CLE Presentations

1997, The Institute of CLE, Speaker, Spousal Support Post Judgement; Author: ``Why Michigan Should Divorce Antenuptial Agreements From Divorce Cases'' MI Bar Journal 1997; 'The Uncertain State of Michigan Equitable Distribution Law Post-Reeves,' MI Bar Journal 2000.


Worth magazine, The Divorce Issue, "Fighting Words" September, 2007; Worth Magazine, "For Love or Money". July 2007; dbusiness, "John F. Schaefer, Courtly Lawyer", September-October 2006; Laches, Family Law Issue, Author, "Beyond Rinvelt: Where Do Prenuptial Agreements Go From Here?" 2001; State Bar Journal, Author, "The Uncertain State of Michigan Equitable Distribution Law Post-Reeves," 2000; Michigan Bar Journal, Author: "Why Michigan Should Divorce Antenuptial Agreements From Divorce Cases," October 1997 issue.

AAML Chapter

MI Chapter, President, 1986-87, Vice Pres., 1985-86, and Treas. 1984-85.

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