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DIVORCE 26: Appeals involving division of marital property.

In deciding issues on appeal involving division of marital property, the Court first reviews the trial court’s findings of fact.

Findings of fact, such as a trial court’s valuations of particular marital assets, will not be reversed unless clearly erroneous. A finding is clearly erroneous if, after a review of the entire record, the reviewing court is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake was made. If the trial court’s findings of fact are upheld, this Court must decide whether the dispositive ruling was fair and equitable in light of those facts.

In this case, the trial court did not allow defendant to participate in the hearing resolving the issues of child custody and the division of the marital property because defendant was in default. Plaintiff’s testimony was the only evidence introduced at the hearing.

The Court of Appeals has held that allowing a defaulted party to participate in the adjudication of the property division in a divorce case would effectively undermine the court’s inherent authority to enforce its own directives and to mold its relief according to the character of the case. Accordingly, the trial court did not err when it refused to allow defendant to participate in the hearing.

At the Plymouth law firm of Aldrich Legal Services, our attorneys have the skill and experience you need to address all family law issues that may arise during your divorce, including:

  • Property division
  • Child custody and parenting time
  • Child and spousal support
  • Division of property

Our family law practice is headed by Brad Aldrich, a knowledgeable divorce lawyer with more than 20 years of legal experience.

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REAL ESTATE 44: Rule of acquiescence in boundary disputes.

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FAMILY LAW 37: Referee recommended against changing legal custody or parenting time.

Plaintiff requested sole legal custody, arguing that she and defendant had difficulty co-parenting and that defendant would not agree to medical treatment for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, need for orthodontic work, and need for vision testing and glasses. Plaintiff also requested an alternating weekly or biweekly schedule during the summer, which would increase her overall parenting time.

REAL ESTATE 40: Tax Tribunal denied petitioner’s claim of a principal residence exemption (PRE).

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REAL ESTATE 38: Plaintiff fails to make land contract payments.

The land contract stated that T Company sold real property to plaintiff. The land contract further stated that if plaintiff failed to make a monthly payment, T Company could execute the quitclaim deed, thereby terminating plaintiff’s rights to the real property under the land contract.

CONTRACTS 6: Do you understand the clauses in your Purchase Agreement?

The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary disposition, concluding that the claims against the realty companies were barred by the valid release contained in the purchase agreement and that the claims against sellers were required to be resolved in arbitration because they fell within the scope of the arbitration clause in the purchase agreement.

DIVORCE 29: Spousal support in gross is non-modifiable, whereas periodic is subject to modification.

As the name implies, periodic spousal support payments are made on a periodic basis. Periodic spousal support payments are subject to any contingency, such as death or remarriage of a spouse, whereas spousal support in gross is paid as a lump sum or a definite sum to be paid in installments. In addition, one major difference between the two types of spousal support is modifiability. Spousal support in gross is non-modifiable, whereas periodic spousal support is subject to modification pursuant to MCL 555.28.1.

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PROBATE 28: Probate court enters a protective order providing support for a community spouse.

A probate court’s consideration of the couple’s circumstances cannot involve an assumption that the institutionalized spouse should receive 100% free medical care under Medicaid or an assumption that a community spouse is entitled to maintain his or her standard of living. Medicaid is a need-based program, and a Medicaid recipient is obligated to contribute to his or her care.

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).

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