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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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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.

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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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