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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.

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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.

The court ruled that title to the land prevails and that once the deed was signed, the property became the undivided whole interest for both the decedent and appellee and became appellee’s property upon the decedent’s death. Consequently, the court concluded that the prenuptial agreement did not have any impact on the property rights of appellee in this case.

Know the Differences between Annulment and Divorce

  Marriage can end through two ways: divorce and annulment. Though both of these options have the same result, each has different requirements. There are many similarities and differences between a divorce and an annulment, so many...

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