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A trial court erred when it permitted grand-parenting time despite the grandparents not having met the burden required

Concluding that the trial court did not comply with the procedures and requirements set forth in MCL 722.27b, which constituted clear legal error, the court vacated the order for grandparenting time and remanded for the dismissal of the plaintiffs-grandparents' complaint. It was undisputed that plaintiffs had standing to pursue a request for grandparenting time. However, pursuant to MCL 722.27b(4)(b), they had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant-mother's decision to deny grandparenting time created a substantial risk of harm to the child's mental, physical, or emotional health. The statute provides that if the grandparent does not overcome the presumption, the trial court "shall dismiss the complaint or deny the motion." The trial court "expressly stated on the record that 'I don't think statutorily [plaintiffs] have met [their] burden. I don't make a finding where I would impose grandparent visitation . . . .'" It later reiterated, "I don't think [plaintiffs] have met that burden for me to impose [visitation]." Plaintiffs did not challenge this finding on appeal, and the court noted that, even if this finding was challenged, it was "not convinced that the evidence clearly preponderates in the opposite direction." Despite its finding, "the trial court 'granted' plaintiffs' motion," contrary to the statute's express language. "Upon finding that plaintiffs failed to overcome the presumption articulated in MCL 722.27b(4)(b), the court was required to dismiss the complaint or deny the motion." Plaintiffs argued on appeal that the trial court erred in granting grandparenting time at defendant's discretion. This argument presupposed that the trial court properly entered an order for grandparenting time. However, "the trial court committed a clear legal error by misapplying the existing law." 

FAMILY LAW 83: A trial court can terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child.

A trial court has discretion to terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child when the conditions of MCL 710.51(6) are met. MCL 710.51(6)(b) requires the petitioner to establish that the other parent had the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the children, and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of two years.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

What to Do When Homeowners Insurance Denies Your Claim

Since 1955, homeowners insurance has helped owners protect their property and belongings against damages and theft. According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 93% of homeowners in the US have homeowners insurance coverage, paying around...

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

Originally posted on 10/20/2017 If you are charged with a crime, you could face severe penalties that could include financial fines, public service, or even jail time. For those in the Michigan area, hiring an attorney experienced in...

PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent

Originally posted on 07/19/2017 While the “right to remain silent” represents one of your most inalienable rights, many people have a few misconceptions about how it works. Many people receive their understanding of this...

Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

Originally posted on 02/10/2017 Law enforcement agencies are always looking for an edge in fighting crime. As cell phones have become an indispensable part of life for many people, authorities have taken to using these devices to track...

Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

Originally posted on 01/20/2017 When potential clients ask us questions about criminal defense representation (particularly for drunk driving offenses) one of the most common is whether they will lose their job.  Naturally, this...

FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

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