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Fowlerville Michigan Family Law Blog

Do grandparents have visitation rights?

In many families, grandparents play a role in children's lives that is very similar to the parents. A close relationship with grandparents can be a very good thing for children. However, there are sometimes things that occur that push grandparents out of children's lives. If this has happened to you, you may wonder if Michigan provides any rights to grandparents in regards to grandchildren.

According to the Michigan Legislature, grandparents' rights are limited by the circumstances. In a situation where there are two biological parents that are alive and in the child's life, you would have to have their permission in most cases to get any rights to see your grandchildren. Even then, there must be specific circumstances, such as the parents are divorced or separated, have never been married and do not live together or if your grandchild lived with you within the previous year. If your son has passed away, you may have more difficulty. Paternity must have been established and your son must have been in the child's life and providing support for that child.

Can a non-lawyer help me draft estate documents?

If you need a will drawn up, you may be tempted to have a friend or relative help you do it so you can save money on paying an attorney. However, due to Michigan laws, you probably should not do it. According to the State Bar of Michigan, letting a non-lawyer draft legal documents for you, including estate documents, is illegal.

The only people who can practice law in any way, including drafting legal documents are those who are licensed to practice law in the state. Others cannot give you advice, act as yoru representative in a legal matter or do any of the other things a lawyer would do.

Will I receive less child support payments when I remarry?

When you have been through a divorce or separation and you coparent your children with your former partner, it is likely that you receive child support payments to help you to pay for the basics of raising your children. These child support payments were probably put in place at the time of your divorce or separation. They can be amended when circumstances change, for example when the parent paying the child support loses a job.

If you -- as the person receiving the child support -- are planning on getting married, you may be wondering whether this will mean that changes will be made in regard to the child support order. It is important that you take time to understand how the law works in regard to child support in the state of Michigan so that you can be confident in your rights and take action when necessary.

What is a living will?

There are different types of wills that you may have in Michigan. One of those is a living will, which is defined by U.S. News and World Report as document that states your wishes on how your health care should be handled if you become incapacitated and unable to express what you want. A living will is often called an advance health care directive.

In a living will, you may appoint someone to act as the person who makes decisions for you when you cannot do it yourself. You may state express wishes, such as not wishing to be put on life support. It can help ensure that your family is not left making difficult decisions since you have already laid things out in the document.

Is probate a bad thing?

After a loved one dies in Michigan, his or her estate goes into probate. Probate, according to the Nerdwallet, is the process of legally recognizing the validity of a will and distributing the property according to the wishes of the deceased. If there is not will, this process can help with ensuring assets are properly distributed and any other issues are cleared up. Probate can be quick or it can take time.

In most cases, probate is not a long process. As long as there is nobody contesting the will and it can easily be deemed valid, the court is minimally involved. Sometimes the process is streamlined for simple estates so it moves along very fast. It may not even be required for an estate to go through probate. For example, if your husband dies and leaves everything to you, then probate may not be required because state law already says that you get all assets of your husbands.

Do I need an estate plan?

It is common for people to believe that estate planning is only for those with a lot of money or large assets. However, an estate plan can be for anyone in Michigan. In fact, even you do not have a lot of money, there are some times when a plan is very important. Fidelity explains that if you have children, you should definitely have an estate plan.

An estate plan helps to provide for your children after your death. If they are minors, it can help establish guardianship. Even if they are not minors, it can help them with settling your estate, including outstanding debts and managing any property you own.

How could I adopt a child from overseas?

Adopting a child in Michigan is no simple matter, but you would face even a further complexity of rules and regulations if you were to pursue adoption of a child from another country. It is typically important not only that you complete the process carefully, but that you also comply with ongoing requirements and responsibilities to various parties.

Luckily, intercountry adoption is, according to the Department of State website, one of the department's highest priorities. As such, the DOS online resource portal contains a list of country-specific information and links to adoption service providers. You would be far from alone during the process, as you would probably enlist help from state, federal and international authorities, advisers and services. 

Taking control of your finances is important in divorce

Going through a divorce that involves children isn't an easy situation. You have to make sure that your children are taken care of during this time of transition. One way that you can do this is to make sure that your finances are in order.

Even if you have been living comfortably during your marriage, the divorce is a time when you might have to make some changes. You will likely be going down to one income with the end of the marriage, possibly with child support. Still, taking a look at your finances can be beneficial. Here are a few tips to get you started:

What is required to create a legal will?

You probably have heard that having a will is a very good idea. It will make things much easier on those you leave behind when you die. It helps the state know what to do with your assets and can be used to assure minor children are taking care of according to your wishes. Of course, for a will to be valid, it must be legal and meet the conditions of Michigan law.

According to the Michigan Legislature, for a will to be legal, it must meet specific requirements. All of the requirements must be met. It begins with putting the will in writing. An oral statement cannot be considered a legal will in the state.

What is conservatorship?

In Michigan, there is a process that allows you to help out someone else who can no longer make his or her own decisions. This process, according to the State Bar of Michigan, is called conservatorship. It is only used when an adult becomes incapacitated. Conservatorship requires that a person cannot make decisions for him or herself. They either do not have the ability to do so or are not mentally able to do so.

If you are seeking a conservatorship, you will help make decisions for this person regarding his or her property. You must petition the court to secure a conservatorship. The court must look at all the provided documentation to make a ruling during the hearing. If the court believes it is necessary, then you will be granted the right as conservator. If there are no objections and the person agrees to the conservatorship, then you may not even have to have a hearing and the court will grant it right away.

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