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Livonia Family Legal Blog

Child's death draws attention to divorced dads in Michigan

According to conventional wisdom, a Michigan father "did everything right" in his custody battle with an unstable ex-wife. Yet, he was the one who ended up getting supervised visitation until he finally -- out of desperation -- agreed to shared custody.

His daughter ended up the victim in a murder-suicide by his ex-wife. Now, all he hopes is that the attention on the tragic case will shed some light on the troubles divorced fathers can encounter when they are the victim of an abusive spouse who poses a danger to their children.

A ceremony does not a legal marriage make, says Michigan court

What does it take to make a marriage in Michigan?Apparently, you have to have more than the blessing of your pastor or priest and your personal vows of commitment before God. In specific, you have to have a marriage license -- because marriage is a legal contract that confers specific legal obligations and property rights. A commitment ceremony may be an emotional and spiritual contract -- but it isn't the same thing.

That's the final word from the Michigan Court of Appeals after a woman's ex-husband sued to end his spousal support payments once she entered into a committed relationship with another man -- with a full church ceremony in the presence of her family and friends.

4 tips to help you avoid custody chaos during summer break

When you're a divorced parent, three-fourths of the year you probably fall into a predictable routine where your custody and visitation schedule is concerned.

Then along comes summer vacation.

What's the difference between an OWI and OWVI in Michigan?

Although many states use the phrase driving while impaired or intoxicated to describe drunk driving offenses, Michigan uses different terminology. Those accused of drunk or drugged driving will face charges known as operating while intoxicated or OWI charges. However, the state can also pursue charges for operating a vehicle while visibly impaired (OWVI).

Depending on your situation and circumstances, you or someone in your family could have to deal with OWI or OWVI charges in the near future. Understanding how law enforcement and judges differentiate between these charges, as well as their potential consequences in the event of a conviction or guilty plea, can help you make better decisions about any criminal defense strategy you may employ.

Don't overlook the value of a Ladybird deed in Michigan

Ladybird deeds are a rather unique and effective estate planning tool when it comes to transferring real property -- one that isn't available in all states. However, they are commonly used in Michigan.

Here are some of the biggest benefits Ladybird deeds have:

Could a sunset clause make a prenup more palatable?

It's not uncommon to dread the mere idea of bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse. It isn't exactly the most romantic topic in the world, is it? Plus, there's always the possibility that your intended will react badly to the whole idea. After all, who wants to be bound to what could amount to a lifetime contract?

Well, consider bringing up the idea of a prenup with a "sunset" clause and see how your future spouse feels about that instead. That might ease tensions and convince your sweetheart that a prenup isn't such a bad idea.

Thinking about contesting a will? Here's what to expect

Your close relative dies and you expect to inherit a considerable portion of their estate -- only to find out that you were recently cut out of the will. You have a sneaking suspicion that your relative was being heavily influenced by the new beneficiary of that will. You're understandably upset and angry.

But, what can you do about it? Can you contest the will? Is it possible to halt the probate process and demand that a court look into things? Can you win back what should rightfully be yours?Maybe. It's entirely possible that you're right and your relative was unduly influenced by the new inheritor. It's also possible -- especially with experienced legal assistance -- that you'll win a fight over the will.

Check your franchise paperwork carefully before you sign

For those hoping to make a steady stream of income quickly with a business, franchises offer an incredible opportunity. Most small businesses take quite some time to begin turning profit. Even larger businesses with private investors and start-up capital struggle at first.

One of the best ways to avoid the long gap between opening your doors and turning a profit is to join a business that is already successful. Operating a franchise means opening a known and respected brand operation in your town. A franchise offers immediate recognition from potential customers. It also often typically includes directions for everything from product creation and customer service to employee wardrobe and the furnishing of the facility.

Technology makes staying connected easier for kids of divorce

One of the biggest concerns divorcing parents have is how to maintain their relationships with their children once the divorce is over -- especially if there's a conflict with the other parent. Technology can make a world of difference.

According to new research, texting and social media can provide an invaluable source of parental contact and nurturing for the children of divorced parents. The benefits are there whether or not the parents get along.


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