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DIVORCE 16: Medical marijuana grow operation considered income for calculation of spousal support.

During his marriage to plaintiff, defendant began a medical marijuana grow operation as a registered caregiver under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), MCL 333.26421 et seq., providing medical marijuana for qualified patients. Plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce and requested spousal support.

Plaintiff and defendant were married in 1988. Over the course of the marriage and up to the point of these proceedings defendant maintained a drywall business. Over two decades later, defendant purchased a camp property with funds earned during the marriage and began to use the property to grow medical marijuana as a licensed grower.

Plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce in June of 2016. She requested $2,500 per month in spousal support and a greater portion of the marital estate.

With regard to defendant’s income, the trial court found that defendant earned an average of $15,300 per year from his drywall business and $120,000 per year from his medical marijuana grow operation during that same period. The trial court further found that defendant incurred annual expenses of $63,150 in order to maintain his marijuana grow operation.

Using these calculations, the trial court determined that defendant netted approximately $4,737.50 per month from activities solely associated with his marijuana grow operation. The trial court then accounted for defendant’s drywall-related income of $1,275 per month and his general expenses unrelated to the marijuana grow operation of $3,055 per month, finding that defendant was ultimately left with $2,957.50 in disposable monthly income. Plaintiff, however, experienced a net loss of $1,685.60 per month when examining her income and expenses.

After calculating the value of the marital estate, the trial court awarded the marijuana grow operation to defendant. Lastly, after considering the length of the marriage, the ability of the parties to work, their conduct during the marriage, their needs and abilities, fault, the amount of property awarded, and the general principles of equity, the trial court awarded plaintiff $1,900 per month in spousal support.

Were you just served with divorce papers? Do you believe that divorce is the only option left for your marriage?  In order to protect your financial rights, it is important to have an experienced and understanding divorce attorney by your side at every step of the way.

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REAL ESTATE 36: Plaintiff argued that her claim was not time-barred because it did not accrue until the grandmother’s death.

Plaintiff’s interest in the subject property is best characterized as a remainder estate, because her right to possession of the property was postponed until the occurrence of a specific contingency, that being the deaths of the grandparents. Plaintiff pursued this action within the 15-year limitation period; accordingly, this action is not barred by MCL 600.5801(4).

LITIGATION 6: The terms of the agreement prevails over the course of performance.

The trial court determined that under the UCC, the express terms of the parties’ agreements prevailed over the course of their performance and course of dealing. Although a course of performance may show that parties have waived a specific contractual term under MCL 440.1303(6), the statute does not similarly provide that a course of dealing may demonstrate waiver.

PROBATE 27: Petitioner filed a petition for mental-health treatment.

In support of the allegations, petitioner attached clinical certificates from a physician and a psychiatrist who observed respondent at the hospital. Both doctors diagnosed respondent with bipolar disorder, determined that she displayed a likelihood of injuring herself and that she did not understand the need for treatment, and recommended a course of treatment that consisted of 60 days of hospitalization and 90 days of outpatient care.

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FAMILY LAW 32: Trial court committed error in failing to address whether there was an established custodial environment.

On appeal, plaintiff argues that the trial court failed to make any findings regarding (1) the child’s established custodial environment, (2) the child’s best interests regarding the grant of primary physical custody to defendant, (3) the child’s best interests with respect to parenting time, and (4) the child’s best interests pertaining to the parties’ dispute over daycare.

PROBATE 25: Daughter removed as personal representative of the estate.

the probate court determined that Daughter J had managed the estate in a manner that promoted her own interests as a beneficiary over the interests of the estate. The probate court found that such management demonstrated mismanagement of the estate and that removal of Daughter J was therefore in the best interests of the estate.

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REAL ESTATE 32: Plaintiffs and defendants executed a second easement.

Plaintiffs requested that the trial court, either through reformation of the First Easement or interpretation of the Second Easement, quiet title in favor of plaintiffs and declare them to be the owners of an easement to access Lake Superior through the ravine on defendants’ property, enjoin defendants from interfering with their use of the easement, and order compensation for damages to the stairs.

LITIGATION 4: Plaintiff claimed installation of hardwood flooring breached the condo bylaws.

Defendants completed the project. Plaintiff did not pay for any of the costs of the project. Defendants moved to compel plaintiff to pay one-half of the costs under the agreement. Plaintiff responded that defendants had materially breached the agreement in several ways, including by denying her the right to supervise the project, by refusing to give her an installation schedule, and by starting work before plaintiff approved of the start date.

FAMILY LAW 30: Discretionary trust assets cannot be reached to satisfy claims for child support and alimony.

The key difference between discretionary trusts, support trusts, and spendthrift trusts is that creditors cannot compel the trustee of a discretionary trust to pay any part of the income or principal in order that the creditors may be paid. The opposite is true of spendthrift and support trusts, which allow trust assets to be reached to satisfy creditors, including creditors seeking to satisfy claims for child support and alimony.

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FAMILY LAW 29: Quitclaim deed signed after prenuptial agreement prevails.

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