Children of Divorce

As prevalent as it is today, divorce is a relatively common way of life. The Michigan State University Extension recently released an article that highlighted data revealing that, in 2011, 3.6 per 1,000 marriages ended in divorce. Here in Michigan, that number was right around the average at 3.4 per every thousand. Read more

Grandparent Visitation – Don’t Ask for it until it’s been Denied!

Michigan law allows grandparents to seek court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren under limited grounds. The court gives significant deference to a fit parent’s decision not to allow visitation, but if a grandparent can get their foot in the door it is possible to successfully argue a grandparent visitation case. One of the first hurdles is demonstrating an “actual denial” of visitation. Read more

Uniform Collaborative Law Act

On May 1st I went to Lansing to testify on behalf of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act (“UCLA”). I testified in my role as President of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan (“CPIM”). The UCLA has been passed in seven states and the District of Columbia. It is currently pending in eight states, including Michigan. Read more

Mediation in Unique Circumstances

On April 25 and 26 of this year, I took 16 hours of advanced mediation training regarding adult guardianship/elder care issues. It was a fascinating training. It was designed to help families where the parent or parents are having difficulties. It may be simply difficulties associated with old age all the way to situations where parents were virtually totally incapacitated with Alzheimer’s or other end-of-life diseases. Read more

Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan | Johnsen Wikander Divorce Attorneys

Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan

Last month I went to Lansing as President of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan which is the statewide organization for Collaborative professionals. I was there to testify in support of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act. Three of us attended the State Senate Judiciary Committee meeting prepared to testify but our lobbyists informed us that we had all the votes we needed to pass the Judiciary Committee of the Senate. Read more

New Legislation may make joining the Bar Association Discretionary | Johnsen Wikander Divorce Attorneys

New Legislation may make joining the Bar Association Discretionary

In writing for this blog we generally stay nonpolitical. There are number of reasons for staying nonpolitical, but there is one subject which I am compelled to include in my turn to add to our firm blog.

There is currently legislation in Lansing to make joining the Bar Association discretionary. Currently, in order to legally practice law in Michigan you have to be a member in good standing with the Michigan Bar Association. Read more

The 2013 Tax Season: Information for Divorced or Separated Parents Re: Dependency and Child Tax Credits | Johnsen Wikander Divorce Attorneys

The 2013 Tax Season: Information for Divorced or Separated Parents Re: Dependency and Child Tax Credits

The 2013 tax season is upon us, which often brings a spike in court filings involving questions and confusion over what parent can claim what child as a dependency exemption and what child tax credits may be claimed and by whom.

The IRS issued Tax Guide 2013—Publication 17 (in English and Spanish) in November 2013, which is a 288-page document that provides valuable information for filers in search of clarity on who can claim whom and for what.  Read more

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy

As everyone knows, Nelson Mandela died recently. As some news reports mentioned he was an attorney by profession. Mr. Mandela surely was one of the most impressive attorneys of our lifetime, perhaps of all time. He has to rank up among the most honored of our profession. Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. United States Supreme Court Justices come to mind: Thurgood Marshall, Oliver Wendel Holmes Junior, William O. Douglas, Benjamin Cardozo and I would add Harry Blackmun although I suppose there is some room for debate about Justice Blackmun. Read more


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

I thought I’d be divorced in six months?

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