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DIVORCE 24: Relevant factors in determining spousal support.

The primary purpose of spousal support is to balance the parties' incomes and needs so that neither party will be impoverished, and spousal support must be based on what is just and reasonable considering the circumstances of the case.

A court should consider all relevant factors in determining an appropriate award of spousal support, including:

(1) the past relations and conduct of the parties;

(2) the length of the marriage;

(3) the abilities of the parties to work;

(4) the source and the amount of property awarded to the parties;

(5) the parties' ages;

(6) the abilities of the parties to pay support;

(7) the present situation of the parties;

(8) the needs of the parties;

(9) the parties' health;

(10) the parties' prior standard of living and whether either is responsible for the support of others;

(11) the contributions of the parties to the joint estate;

(12) a party's fault in causing the divorce;

(13) the effect of cohabitation on a party's financial status;

(14) general principles of equity.

In some cases, the consent judgment of divorce can contain a provision that alimony is reserved as to Plaintiff/Defendant or forever barred as to Plaintiff/Defendant. These provisions usually terminate upon remarriage or death. However, Plaintiff/Defendant is not usually permitted to petition the court for the payment of alimony more than once in any given year except in a clear emergency situation.

Were you just served with divorce papers?

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. If the divorce process does not turn out like you thought it would, you may not have the support you deserve.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced family law and divorce attorney who will be by your side 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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