Updates in Michigan Family Law is a blawg written by Traverse City, Michigan family lawyer Jeanne M. Hannah. Jeanne explores developing Michigan law, and also the following topics of interest: divorce, custody, child support, paternity, domestic abuse, and adoption issues.\r\n\r\n
Posted on November 13, 2013
A divorce or separate maintenance action can be initiated in cases where elderly spouses are not living together (or are living very unhappily together) and one of the parties is suffering from dementia. Lack of competency to file for divorce is an issue--one that I'm afraid will arise more frequently given the advancing age of Baby Boomers.
Posted on November 03, 2013
A primary purpose of the UCCJEA is to prevent parents and third parties from benefiting from self help. In a recent Michigan Court of Appeals case, the COA affirmed the trial court's vacating of a custody order in the grandparents. But by this time, the child, an infant when she was taken, had been out of her mother's custody for five years.
Posted on October 29, 2013
Ann Adalist-Estrin, Director of the National Resource Center on Children and Families, and others worked with Sesame Street to develop materials for its "Little Children, Big Challenges" series on the topic of incarcerated parents. The materials can be accessed online.
Posted on October 25, 2013
Haffaker v Huffaker is a child custody dispute involving grandparents with a guardianship in Wayne County and parents who divorced in Utah . . . child born in Utah . . . presented the Court of Appeals (COA) with a unique opportunity to explain how to determine which state has subject matter jurisdiction to make the initial child custody determination.
Posted on October 24, 2013
On October, 23, 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court granted leave in the case In re AJR. This is a step-parent adoption case that has important ramifications for relative adoptions.
Posted on October 09, 2013
Christine Paige Borrowdale will never win a Mother of the Year award. What did she do? In an attempt to get her boyfriend acquitted of abuse of her 16-year-old son, she allegedly created false Facebook postings. She now faces a warrant for perjury and tampering with evidence.
Posted on August 07, 2013
What procedures are available for emergency removal of a foster child, if requested by the foster parents? How quickly must the agency respond? What legal procedural safeguards must be followed?
Posted on July 15, 2013
The Iowa supreme court says it's OK to fire a woman who is doing a great job, but who is so attractive that a married boss wants to have sex with her. A married dentist, James Knight, fired his employee...
Posted on June 06, 2013
Having a ?Right of First Refusal? in your custody and parenting time order is a guarantee that if a parent cannot provide care for children during his or her parenting time, they must give the other parent the right to do so before hiring a child care provider--a babysitter or a family member.
Posted on May 31, 2013
On May 2, 2013, Elizabeth Smart spoke out at a forum on human trafficking at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She addressed the issue why the three young women kidnapped in Ohio may not have spoken out or tried to escape for such a long time...
Posted on May 31, 2013
In People v Martz, the defendant was convicted by a jury of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC I) (force or coercion); unlawful imprisonment; and resisting or obstructing a police officer causing serious injury. One of his claims was he could not be convicted of CSC I because the victim was his wife...
Posted on May 23, 2013
Lawyers and judges are relying in this age of rap and slang to a more informal source of definitions: Urban Dictionary, a crowdsourced collection of slang words on the Internet. [I challenge you: find "crowdsourced" in Webster's Dictionary!]
Posted on May 22, 2013
Finally, the decision many family lawyers and criminal lawyers have awaited has been released by the Michigan Supreme Court. The question raised was whether a driver can be arrested for driving while under the influence when the driver has a medical marijuana registry card.
Posted on May 08, 2013
Wow! What a cool item for Jeanne's Toolkit. "Son of Citation machine" provides lawyers and professional researchers with a very easy way to properly cite the resources that they use. You may choose your "style"--MLA, APA and Chicago Book of Style (15th Ed...
Posted on May 08, 2013
Most states have enacted statutes that permit a tenant who is at risk of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to be released from a rental obligation. The tenant seeking release must provide notice of "intent to seek a release and written documentation that the tenant has a reasonable apprehension of present danger to the tenant or his or her child from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking...
Posted on April 26, 2013
Hors d?oervres, thaumaturgy . . . can I spell those without looking them up? No. But on my iPhone or iPad, I can choose from several handy apps to help me. [Some of these are also available for Androids.]
Posted on April 19, 2013
In an astonishing opinion, Michigan?s Court of Appeals held that the trial court improperly granted a step-parent adoption under the adoption statute, MCL 710.51(6), even though the parent had failed to maintain a regular and substantial parent-child relationship and also had failed to maintain a regular and substantial support relationship, where the parent objected to termination of his parental rights and had joint legal custody under a judgment of divorce.
Posted on April 12, 2013
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has suspended without pay an admittedly intemperate family court judge for four years. This just happens to be the remaining years of Putnam County Circuit Court Family Law Judge William M. Watkins III's term...
Posted on April 01, 2013
Most of the family lawyers I know do not draft a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for their clients. QDROs are a pretty technical beasts, and there are many fine Michigan firms that specialize in drafting them. An opinion released by the Michigan Court of Appeals last week is a good example of why drafting of QDROs should be left to an expert...
Posted on March 28, 2013
Judge Paul Garfinkel of the 9th Judicial Circuit Family Court, Charleston County, SC, allowed me to share the following comments he made prior to a recent custody trial. As a family law practitioner for over 20 years, I find these words extremely insightful and wise.
Posted on March 27, 2013
Helmut argued because the child was his biological child, even though his parental rights had been terminated earlier, he was still a ?natural parent? and he could not be charged under the kidnapping statute. The court of appeals disagreed and affirmed...
Posted on March 24, 2013
A recent discussion among Michigan lawyers raised the question whether a parent who was subject to the jurisdiction of an adjoining county in an earlier filed child support case could lawfully file a divorce case in an adjoining county. Oddly enough, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided a case just days later holding that, yes, the divorce could be filed in another county.
Posted on March 23, 2013
In July 2012, the Michigan Supreme Court decided People v Likine and ruled that impossibility of payment of child support is a defense to a charge of felony non-support. It?s important to note that inability to pay child support is not a defense to a felony charge...
Posted on March 22, 2013
The New York Times has what, for me, is a new feature in the Opinion section called "Room for Debate." The debate posted yesterday has to do with whether or not people should have a prenuptial agreement. The case that...
Posted on March 11, 2013
Oregon is one of the states which recently enacted child abuse reporting legislation. It added to the list of mandated reporters any employee or volunteer of organization providing child-related services or activities, any employee of a higher education institution, and any coach, assistant coach or trainer of child athlete and individual who provides guidance, instruction or training in youth development activities and youth camps.