A recent article in the Grand Rapids Press involved the mother of a son who was killed by one of his friends. The death was accidental, although a direct result of some poor choices and “horse play” by the young men. The article discussed how the deceased boy’s mother had forgiven her son’s friend for her son’s death. In a somewhat ironic twist, she was not allowed to visit her son’s killer as it is violated prison rules since she was not a relative of the prisoner. Read more
You file for divorce, your spouse files a response. Then what? Do you just sit around for six months and wait for a court to, well, “divorce” you? The Michigan law requiring divorcing parties with minor children to wait six months is often hard for unrepresented litigants to understand. The six-month waiting period, in the most simplest terms, means that the court cannot grant a divorce (cannot grant a final order on custody, cannot order the division of your “stuff”) until the expiration of 180 days from the date a case is started. Read more
Perhaps it is just another sign of the times, but requests for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements seem to be on the rise in recent years. In an era where divorce is more common than it is not, the days of hoping for the best has securely been replaced with planning for the worst.
With this pre-planning comes a misconception that a future divorce will be less complicated and cheaper when a prenuptial agreement has been executed. Read more
In my last blog, the three of us take turns; I talked about how it is possible to learn a lot about opposing parties in divorce cases by using social media. It is a dilemma for us and our clients as to how much time and effort (i.e. attorney fees) to use in cases researching social media. We try to have a discussion with our clients regarding the pros and cons of investing time in that issue. The flip side of that question is what social media content says about our clients. Read more
A common issue in divorce cases revolves around business interests, often held by one spouse and not the other. Business interests are marital assets, divisible upon divorce. The tricky part is determining what the business is worth and how the owner spouse compensate the non-owners spouse for their interest? The so-called “double-dip” scenario involves whether or not the value of a business, and the excess earnings derived from same, can be considered when valuing a business and when considering spousal support. Read more
In a recent article in The Lawyer’s Weekly, a magazine for attorneys, talked about the terms of social media and other means to collect information. The article was not focused only on family law, but since our firm specializes in family law it is the area that our firm spent its’ time to discussing. Read more
Often, agreements between spouses are the result of what attorneys sometimes call the “kitchen table” approach. Husband and wife know their separation and divorce is inevitable, so they sit down, without attorneys, and decide how they want to divide their assets. Many times, these “kitchen table” agreements result in a formal, signed document, which then leads to a final judgment of divorce. Read more
One frustrating part about domestic relations judgments and orders has to do with the enforcement of them. If one party to a case is ordered to do something and fails to do it, the aggrieved party must file a motion to enforce the order. The result: another court order ordering the party to do what he or she has already been ordered to do! Read more
As a general principle, when cases are settled and judgments are entered, they are final, except for some fairly limited rights of appeal. Most people are of the opinion that if you do not like what a judge does you simply can appeal their decision. Usually, you have to do more than just show that the judge may be wrong. Often, the Court of Appeals will only reverse the trial judge if there was an “abuse of discretion.” The courts are even more reluctant to set aside a settlement. Read more
One of the reasons why our firm specializes in family law is because of the interesting issues which come up when dealing with real people in real life situations. Some of the unusual situations almost defy the imagination.
In a sad case, the Michigan Court of Appeals had to decide whether or not the courts in Michigan could grant a divorce in a “same-sex marriage.” In this case a man and a woman were legally married. During the marriage the husband had a sex change operation. Read more
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Johnsen Wikander, P.C.
29 Pearl Street NW #414
Grand Rapids, MI 49503