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Livonia Family Legal Blog

Michigan dedicates August to child support awareness

August is now Child Support Month in Michigan, thanks to the declaration by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Why give official month-long recognition to something that happens every day? It's because there are a lot of people involved in making the state's child support system work.

How on earth can the average divorce cost $15,000?

These days, everyone knows that a wedding with all of the trimmings can be costly -- but did you know that the average American divorce runs about $15,000?

How on earth can a divorce be that expensive? Let's take a look at one woman's experience with divorce to see how her total tab went even higher. Here are some of the key takeaways from her divorce:

  1. She and her spouse didn't have children. Consequently, she assumed that their divorce would be less costly than average. Child custody and support are often two of the hardest-fought issues in a divorce involving children and can drastically raise the expenses associated with a marital split.
  2. The marriage had been short -- only eight months -- when they decided to end it. They had little financial means or assets.

A 'To-Do' list for your estate plans: 5 steps to take

Has it been a while since you've reviewed your estate plans? Did you get your plans drawn up a decade ago, throw the paperwork in a drawer and forget about it?

That's a mistake. Estate plans have to be revisited from time to time to make sure that they still accomplish the things you want them to do. If it has been a while since you've reviewed your estate plans, grab your journal or calendar and put the following tasks on your "To-Do" list right away:

Imprisoned parents and child support obligations

Just about anybody can make a mistake that lands them in prison. In fact, some people end up behind bars through no fault of their own.

If you're in jail, you obviously can't work. If you can't work, you may not be able to pay your child support. Logically, since the government is aware of both situations, you'd think that there would be some sort of automatic procedure in place that halts your child support obligation until you're out of jail.

Drunk driving disaster: What to do when you're caught

The majority of people know that you can get in trouble for drinking and driving. What many don't realize is that you don't necessarily have to have a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher to end up with a charge. Driving recklessly, showing signs of intoxication and other driving mistakes can add up and make an officer believe that a DUI is exactly what took place.

The good news is that people who are accused of drinking and driving have the opportunity to fight those charges. If you are arrested, keep these things in mind to protect yourself.

Handwritten wills create problems for Aretha Franklin's estate

When the legendary singer Aretha Franklin died, she left behind no will to control her estate -- or so everyone thought.

Now, three handwritten wills by the late singer have surfaced in her Detroit home -- including one found tucked under the couch cushions in her living room. The most recent of the three is dated March 2014 and is difficult to read, with notes in the margins and items scratched out. Two other wills, both from 2010, were found in a locked cabinet. Her longtime attorney has stated in court that he's not sure if the wills are actually legal under Michigan law.

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.

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