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Fowlerville Michigan Family Law Blog

Dealing with divorce without losing one's job

In the middle of personal tragedies, sometimes the hardest thing to deal with is that life goes on. While going through a divorce, there are still bills to pay, dishes to wash and laundry to fold. The grass will continue to go and the boss will expect employees to show up -- even those going through marital troubles. Michigan couples may struggle with this and wonder how best to behave at the office when things at home are falling apart.

Divorce counselors suggest that those dealing with a divorce should remain as professional as possible while on the job. In fact, for their own protection, divorcing employees may wish to inform only those who need to know that they are divorcing, at least at first. These people may include the boss and any teammates or office partners. In this way, those people will understand if their divorcing co-worker needs to take a phone call or seems distracted or moody.

Michigan child custody laws moving to equal parenting

Some Michigan parents are eagerly anticipating the upcoming vote on a new bill designed to level the field for divorcing parents. Currently, family law courts are bound to 45-year-old statute requiring parents to battle for shares of child custody. The bill is slated for vote sometime this fall, and if it passes, courts will be encouraged to presume equal custody for both parents whenever possible.

House Bill 4691 would automatically grant 50/50 custody in situations where the fitness of a parent is not in question. Currently, the courts must evaluate each case, often resulting in parents battling for the right to participate fully in the upbringing of their children. With no laws or standards guiding a judge in making decisions about who is a good parent and who is not, parents often find themselves tearing each other down in court to preserve their own rights.

Can You Be Charged With A DUI In Your Own Driveway?

There are often odd or unusual DUI cases where a challenge is made to the validity of criminal DUI charges - if you are on a lawnmower, bicycle, if you aren't actually driving (but have the keys) - and most recently whether a person could be charged when they are on their own driveway.

Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court has affirmatively held that yes you can, in fact, be charged with a DUI if you are found to be impaired and operating a car in your own driveway

Cause of death may trigger disputes over wills and trusts

The mysterious and suspicious circumstances under which a man in another state died are at the heart of a family battle over the man's estate. The man's four daughters expected to inherit his $29 million estate after he was shot three times in his bed in Dec. 2013. Apparently, the man's grandson had been disputing the estate plan of the elderly man the night before the murder. While no charges have yet been filed, Michigan residents may be interested in how the case affects the wills and trusts in their own families.

With the four sisters set to claim their millions, the 23-year-old nephew took his mother -- one of the sisters -- on a fishing trip. In another mysterious twist, the boat sank and the mother's body was never recovered. The man was the next in line to inherit his mother's share of the fortune, including a $400,000 trust.

Risking estate administration and probate without legal help

When a family remains close, it is common for grandparents to want to leave a little something for their loved ones. Those in Michigan who have particular wishes for their assets create a will or trust by speaking with an attorney with experience in estate administration and probate. Without leaving a plan, well-meaning grandparents may instead leave headaches for their loved ones.

One family in another state excitedly accepted the inheritance of a home as a miracle. The family had been struggling financially, and their poor credit did not allow them to purchase their own home. When their grandmother died and left them her home, they were not intimidated by its state of disrepair. Instead, they began in earnest to repair and renovate the home.

Couple loses child custody when DHS says their IQs are too low

Being a parent requires many important qualities. Parenting involves patience, selflessness, devotion and other strengths, many of which Michigan mothers and fathers learn along the way. However, the parents of two boys in another state are fighting for child custody because the Department of Human Services apparently believes they do not have IQs sufficient for raising children. Both parents have IQs in the 70s, below the average of 90 to 110.

Four years ago, when their youngest son was born, a friend who was living with the couple called child protective services because she felt the parents were not responding to the baby's cues. Despite the fact that a social worker saw no evidence of abuse or neglect in the family home, the child was removed from the parents. Recently, the couple had a second son, and DHS took custody of him immediately after his birth before they could even take him home.

Criminal defense may fight against tainted evidence

Those who are accused of crimes in Michigan depend on the justice system allowing a fair and impartial examination of the evidence before convicting them of crimes. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Part of building a strong criminal defense involves disputing the findings of forensic experts in crime labs. However, forensic labs in more than 20 states are under suspicion of various types of misconduct, and that often leads to people being wrongly convicted of crimes.

In one state, over 21,000 drug cases were dismissed on appeal after a lab chemist admitted to purposely tainting drug samples, falsifying evidence and lying under oath about her forensic findings. Another lab technician fed her own addiction by helping herself to narcotics and other drugs sent to her lab for testing, and two assistant attorneys general covered her crimes. Another 10,000 cases will likely be successfully appealed.

Is my spouse hiding assets in our divorce?

When any marriage begins to fall apart, especially those with significant assets, it is easy for distrust to become a factor in the divorce process. Many people believe that their spouse is trying to cheat them out of a fair divorce settlement by hiding assets.

Whether this is true or not, it certainly hangs a heavy storm cloud over the entire divorce process, which is often already frustrating enough. In these cases, it is often wise to consult with an attorney who can help you create a fair strategy for ensuring that your spouse does not hide assets (or, in some cases, simply waste them).

Infertility may not be indicator of divorce

Many Michigan couples who marry look forward to raising children. In fact, for some, having children is a lifelong dream, and they may plan for it years ahead of getting married by making lists of baby names, reading books about child rearing and even buying baby clothes. However, when time passes after the wedding and no children arrive, the couple may begin to have concerns about fertility. In some circles, it has long been assumed that infertility is one leading cause of divorce.

A recent Denmark study shows that this assumption is not necessarily true. When 40,000 couples were polled after having undergone fertility treatment in the past 15 years, the results showed that only 20 percent had subsequently divorced. The average for those who do not undergo fertility treatments is 22 percent.

Wills and trusts offer different benefits

People may put off estate planning for a number of reasons. Some in Michigan may think such a plan is unimportant, while others feel they don't have sufficient assets to make it worthwhile. For some, the thought of creating wills and trusts is overwhelming, and others may be unsure which option will work best for their situation.

One of the more flexible options for an estate plan is to set up a living trust. The trust essentially becomes the owner of the property. However, the person creating the trust, the trustee, maintains control over the assets funded in the trust. When the trustee dies, his or her successor takes over the trust and distributes its assets according to the wishes of the original trustee. This means the assets funded in the trust are not held up for months in probate court.

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