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Fowlerville Michigan Family Law Blog

Hidden victims of domestic violence

No one deserves abuse from a domestic partner. No one has the right to abuse someone else. There are no exceptions. Yet some victims of domestic violence in Michigan go unrecognized because they do not fit the paradigm of what society expects a domestic violence victim to look like. According to the Mayo Clinic, men and women alike may be victims of intimate partner violence, and domestic abuse can occur in same-sex relationships as well as heterosexual relationships.

It can sometimes be difficult for these hidden victims to recognize their partners as the abuser in the relationship. An abusive partner may manipulate the victim by framing defensive or retaliatory actions as the real abuse, claiming to the victim that he had it coming or he is responsible for the behavior by provoking the abuser. Men who believe that domestic violence is always male-on-female may be more likely to internalize this manipulation.

What is generally required in your adoption home study?

Whether you have struggled with infertility or have been able to have children, but are still interested in adoption, deciding to adopt children in Michigan can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Preparing yourself, your family and your home for bringing another child into your circle will take time, commitment and patience. 

One of the critical aspects of preparing for adoption is participating in a home study where you will disclose information that will help placement agencies to identify whether or not your home and family will be suitable for the healthy upbringing of children awaiting adoption. According to babycenter.com, your home study will most likely include a report that includes a variety of information, as well as an actual visit by designated professionals. This process can take anywhere between 3-6 months depending on who you choose to use. 

How do I know if a will was composed under undue influence?

Some Michigan residents may look at a will composed by a parent or an elderly relative and believe something is not right about it. Perhaps the will cuts a family member out of the inheritance or specifies that someone outside the family, somebody you are not familiar with, will get a large share of the assets. If a will seems suspicious to you, there is the possibility that the will was composed under undue influence.

Undue influence, as the Huffington Post explains, consists of any number of methods to inappropriately influence a person to perform actions that the person would never do under normal circumstances. The purpose of the influence is often to enrich a manipulator at the expense of another person. In the case of a last will and testament, a person would exercise undue influence to gain wealth and property from the testor.

Child custody situations are sometimes complex

Child custody arrangements are set based on the children's needs. For some situations, a set parenting time schedule isn't going to work. These include circumstances like the parents having varying schedules at work or a long-distance arrangement.

When these cases occur, both parents have to be willing to compromise and work together to ensure that the children get what they need. This includes being able to spend time with both parents. Here are some points to remember when you are trying to find a creative solution to a challenging custody situation:

How can I stop conflicts between my heirs?

While creating an estate plan is crucial, having a will or trust in place is really just the beginning of the process. With some families, heirs come into conflict about the decisions made by the deceased, which can incur both time and money when it comes to legal battles. While you can’t always prevent conflicts from occurring, Kiplinger offers the following advice.

Anticipate problems areas

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.

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