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ALIMONY: TO MODIFY OR NOT TO MODIFY

On February 21, 2019, the Michigan Court of Appeals reviewed a case stemming from an Oakland County Circuit Court divorce case, Gallagher v. Gallagher, in which alimony was granted 37 years after the parties’ divorce was final. The trial court awarded the wife $2,500 per month in alimony, but the Court of Appeals reversed and vacated the award on appeal. Although the parties were married for 22 years, their divorce was final in 1980. At the time of the divorce, the parties agreed that … [Read more...]

An End To Child Marriage?

On January 9, 2019, a bill was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives to modify existing Michigan law to establish the minimum age to marry at 18 without exceptions effective January 1, 2020. Below is an article by James W. Chryssikos as appeared in the August/September issue of the Michigan Family Law Journal. An End to Child Marriage? By: James W. Chryssikos As family law practitioners and members of the Family Law Section, our time is focused almost exclusively on … [Read more...]

5 Reasons You Should File First

Probably the most frequently asked question I hear from divorce clients and prospective clients is “should I file first or let my spouse file for divorce?” Some people ask because they’re undecided about filing for divorce, but fear being put at a strategic disadvantage if their spouse beats them to the courthouse. Others have made up their minds, but maybe need time to plan, including selection of an attorney, ensuring their safety in cases of domestic violence or simply gathering information … [Read more...]

Marriage Equality & The Road Ahead

With the United States Supreme Court recently hearing arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage bans (including Michigan’s), it’s important to remember that a victory for marriage equality advocates in the Supreme Court will signify the beginning, not the end of legislation, litigation and political maneuvering over the rights of same-sex couples and religious rights groups.  Many politicians in our state legislature view it as their mandate to represent the interests of groups opposed to … [Read more...]

Divorce & The Family Business

Many people confronting a divorce face complex questions.  Those who own a business that serves as the family’s primary source of income have unique challenges in reaching a fair and equitable outcome. Often, the business is the most significant asset in a marital estate, causing concern over how to determine and divide the value, without diminishing its value or losing the business altogether.  The challenges are different for each spouse, depending upon which one intends on maintaining … [Read more...]

A New Child Custody Law On The Horizon?

On February 5, 2015, a group of 21 lawmakers in Lansing introduced House Bill 4141 to the State Legislature.  If passed, this bill will modify Michigan’s existing Child Custody Act of 1970 by making it effectively automatic that parents in a divorce or child custody dispute will share joint custody and have substantially equal parenting time with their children.  At first blush, this seems to many like a noble purpose and is sensible. But very little in this bill is actually designed around … [Read more...]

Property Division 101

  Separate vs. Marital Property As you investigate the divorce process and talk to attorneys about how property is divided in a divorce case, you’ll likely hear about the various factors the court must consider in dividing the assets.  However, those factors generally only come into play where a case goes to trial and rarely will a court deviate too far afield from a 50/50 division. But a 50/50 division of what?  The marital estate, of course.  And therein lies the problem in most … [Read more...]

Top 10 Things To Do Before Consulting A Divorce Attorney

When I receive a phone call from someone considering a divorce, I like to spend at least 10 minutes or so on the phone with that person to gather some basic facts, so that I know a bit about that person’s situation before they’re sitting in my conference room for a consultation.   I want that hour or so that we meet to be as productive as possible, without wasting time gathering basic facts or fumbling through financial documents. From a client’s perspective, you want more time getting … [Read more...]

Get To Know Michigan’s Newest Child Abduction Prevention Law

UCAPA – Michigan’s Newest Child Abduction Prevention Law   On December 31, 2014, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (“UCAPA”).  This particular law aims to reduce the risk of international child abduction, where a parent poses a particular risk of abducting and removing the child to another country.   The Purpose of UCAPA: The UCAPA seeks to prevent the wrongful removal and retention of children to countries that are (1) not … [Read more...]

Adult Guardianships & You

Adult Guardianships & You Adult Guardianships and Conservatorships are becoming more and more commonplace.  I believe this can, at least in part, be attributed to people living longer, resulting in people reaching advanced years and becoming unable to manage their own affairs. Adult children are more frequently finding themselves in the position of having to seek adult guardianships/conservatorships to make decisions concerning their parents’ care and managing their finances when the … [Read more...]

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