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Fowlerville Michigan Family Law Blog

Contempt is the number 1 divorce predictor

It seems as if researchers are constantly studying the reasons why marriages break up. While some studies come up with far-fetched causes for divorce, others make more sense and may help Michigan couples who are willing to take an honest look at themselves. One psychologist has studied married couples for decades, and he has named one behavior as an almost certain predictor of divorce.

Couples may fall into a pattern of negative communication when they begin to lose respect for one another. Those who communicate with criticism, defensiveness, avoidance and contempt may place their marriages at risk. The most destructive of these patterns is contempt because it may consume a couple's entire relationship, preventing them from appreciating each other's positive qualities.

Protect your family with a will before traveling

The fall and winter are seasons where families travel for many reasons. Whether a family travels for a vacation or because of the many holidays in the coming months, these travels always include a risk that many parents do not want to consider: Something tragic may befall the parents while traveling, leaving children and relatives scrambling to pick up the pieces.

As parents, you certainly want to make sure that you provide well for your children, but even parents with solid incomes or significant assets can cause unnecessary difficulty on top of immense heartbreak if they die without a will.

How debt is handled during estate administration and probate

Anyone chosen to be the executor of an estate may find out quickly it is not an easy job. The many duties of the executor include gathering the assets and securing them until Michigan estate administration and probate are complete. However, a less commonly known job of an executor is to deal with the debts of the departed. This can be a tedious and time-consuming task, and it is often the reason for the delay in the distribution of assets.

One of the first jobs of the executor is to notify any potential creditors of the death. To begin with, the executor may contact any known creditors and send them a copy of the death certificate. Obtaining a copy of the deceased's credit report will reveal many outstanding debts. Those debts will be paid during probate by using the assets of the estate, and typically, no distribution of assets can occur until this process is complete. In some cases, those assets may need to be sold to cover what is owed.

Criminal defense options when teens face felony charges

Teenagers in Michigan may complain that there is not a lot to do. However, one young man allegedly found plenty to do and is now facing an uncertain future. Despite his age, he is charged with numerous felonies, any of which may result in prison or other serious penalties. In such situations, a strong criminal defense is the surest way of minimizing the negative consequences.

The 17-year-old came to Michigan from another state only two weeks earlier. Police reports say the teen broke into someone's home and unlawfully imprisoned the resident while he robbed the place. Among those items he is supposed to have taken were a television and a cellphone. The homeowner apparently had a supply of medical marijuana, which police say the man stole. Finally, the arrest warrant reports that the teenager took car keys and drove off in the resident's vehicle.

Jerry Lewis disinherits his children in his will

Jerry Lewis was known for many things. Generations of people in Michigan and across the world appreciated his brilliant comedy in movies and stand-up routines. Each year at summer's end, Lewis's telethon raised millions of dollars to find a cure for children afflicted with muscular dystrophy. While other children benefitted from Lewis's charitable acts, the comedian's own children did not. The wills and trusts of many celebrities have recently raised eyebrows, and Jerry Lewis may have done the same with his estate plan.

The passing of Jerry Lewis has brought to light many personal details his fans may not have known. During the 36 years of their marriage, Lewis and his first wife raised six sons. The couple divorced in 1980. Three years later, when he was 56, Lewis married a 32-year-old Las Vegas showgirl. The couple had one daughter.

Communication is vital in child custody matters

Many Michigan parents discover how compatible their parenting styles are only after they have begun to raise their children. If the parents are able to adapt and compromise, the level of stress while raising children may be significantly lower than within those families where parents struggle for control of child-rearing. When parents find themselves in the midst of a divorce and child custody issues, that opposition in parenting may cause stress, both for them and, more significantly, for the children.

Every couple is different, and after divorce, the best and worst of a parent may come forward. While one may be willing to cooperate, the other may be less civil. Child-care experts encourage parents to control their own behavior even if they are not able to control that of their co-parent. Refusing to speak badly about the other or argue in front of the children is one positive step a parent can take after divorce.

All parents, even divorced parents, must create a will

Most people only want to think about pleasant thoughts. This is one reason why some parents don't make plans for what is going to happen with their children if both parents pass away.

Having minor children at home is a big responsibility. If both parents die, someone needs to care for the children. If there isn't a plan made by the parents, the children could end up in foster care. There is a chance that siblings could be separated.

Study ranks rate of divorce based on occupations

Whether from a desire to find a solution or simply a fascination with statistics, analysts continue to study and rearrange data concerning marriages and divorces. Michigan couples may be encouraged one year and frustrated the next to hear the interpretation of data that supports longevity in marriage before dousing hope with dismal news of high divorce rates. Recently, however, a study has ranked divorce potential according to employment industries.

Apparently, people who work as actuaries -- those who analyze and mitigate risks, especially in the world of finance – experience a very low rate of divorce, hovering around 17 percent. Close behind actuaries, others whose love lives seem balanced and harmonious are those who work in fields of science, religion and medicine, with the exception of nurses. In fact, nurses ranked among those with the highest rate of divorce, about 47 percent, but still not close to the nearly 53 percent divorce rate among bartenders and gaming managers.

Estate and probate administration complicated by lost heir

In many cases, after a loved one dies, probate goes smoothly and assets are distributed to designated heirs within a few months. However, what happens during estate and probate administration when an heir cannot be located? Since the executor of an estate must make every reasonable effort to find and inform all heirs of their inheritances, losing track of an heir may mean long delays in the closing of an estate.

Family members may be able to contact other heirs, and social media certainly makes it easier to stay in touch, even when families no longer live in Michigan. Because of this, it may not be necessary to hire a professional to track down the lost heir. Such search firms can cost the estate greatly, up to 40 percent in some cases. This expense may reduce the share for other heirs, or it may be negotiated to come from the missing heir's inheritance.

Criminal defense: Woman accused of smoking pot before fatal crash

Michigan residents in Lansing County may be interested in a case in another county that involves a 40-year-old woman who faces 15 years behind bars following a crash last December in which her mother was killed. The woman is accused of being impaired at the time of the accident because she had smoked marijuana 10 hours earlier. Her criminal defense team claims there is no reliable method yet to determine marijuana impairment.

Court documents show that the woman was traveling on an ice-covered road at a speed that was 20 mph slower than the speed limit. The defendant claims to have lost control on the ice, which had nothing to do with the fact that she had smoked marijuana many hours before the tragic accident. Her legal counsel asserts the trauma of losing her mother in that crash was enough punishment and claims the prosecution is overreaching in trying to prove she was impaired.

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Fax 517-223-8233