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DIVORCE 56: The court held that the plaintiff ex-husband failed to show how the arbitration was void or without authority.

Plaintiff appeals as of right the trial court’s March 6, 2019 judgment of divorce. The judgment of divorce, among other things, incorporated the awards pertaining to spousal support, property division, and costs and fees that had been determined through arbitration. On appeal, plaintiff challenges the validity of the arbitration award. We affirm.

ARBITRATION VOID DUE TO NO ACTIVE COURT CASE

Plaintiff first argues that the arbitration award is void because there was no active case at the circuit court at the time of the arbitration proceedings. We disagree. This issue is unpreserved because plaintiff first raised it in a motion for reconsideration. We review unpreserved issues for plain error affecting substantial rights. Relevant to this issue, plaintiff filed his complaint in the 2016 case on September 30, 2016. On August 15, 2017, while the case was still active, the parties stipulated to the entry of an order that submitted the matter to arbitration. The parties also executed an arbitration agreement that same day. In both the order and the arbitration agreement, the parties acknowledged that the arbitrator was to render rulings related to spousal support, property division, and costs and fees. Thereafter, on October 3, 2017, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of the case in circuit court. The order stated that the parties agreed to “stipulate to the dismissal of the above cause for divorce for the reason that they have entered into an Order for Binding Arbitration.” Consistent with the parties’ declared intentions, arbitration hearings were conducted, which resulted in an arbitration award. Plaintiff now contends that the award is void because there was no active case pending at the circuit court at the time of the arbitration hearings. Plaintiff has cited no authority that supports this proposition. At the time plaintiff and defendant stipulated to binding arbitration, there was an active circuit court case, which made plaintiff and defendant “parties.” The fact that the case was later dismissed, before the arbitration proceedings commenced, simply is of no moment. Indeed, the parties had explicitly agreed that “either party may file a motion to reinstate this case if it is dismissed . . . prior to receipt of the arbitration award or prior to entry of the Judgment of Divorce.” In sum, the crux of plaintiff’s argument is that the arbitration was void for lack of authority. But an arbitrator derives her authority from the parties’ arbitration agreement. The parties’ arbitration agreement, which was entered into while there was an active case, was not affected by the dismissal of the divorce action. Therefore, plaintiff has failed to show how the arbitration was void or without authority.

ADVICE TO CLIENTS FACING SPOUSAL SUPPORT ISSUES IN DIVORCE CASES

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PROBATE 42: Dissolution of professional corporation.

This case involves the estate of a doctor whose professional corporation also had to be dissolved upon his death. The personal representative of the estate sold the company’s assets but did not pay off the company’s debts before transferring the proceeds to the estate and distributing them to the heirs.

REAL ESTATE 73: Quiet title action.

This case involves a dispute over real property located in Michigan. W and V who are D’s parents, acquired the property. In 1999, W and V conveyed the property to the Trust, to which W is the sole trustee, via a quit claim deed. At some point...

How Is Alimony Determined In A Michigan Divorce?

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Is My Conviction Eligible for Expungement?

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PROBATE 45: The court held that the probate court did not err by granting summary disposition for Plaintiff, or by denying Defendant’s request for an extension of the discovery period, adjournment of mediation, and issuance of subpoenas and by dismi

This case arises out of competing petitions for probate. On November 19, 2018, Defendant initiated this case by filing a petition for probate, attaching Decedent’s death certificate and purported last will and testament, dated March 9, 2007,...

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Plaintiff first testified that she and defendant purchased the marital home in 1995. At the time the first default judgment of divorce was entered in September 2017, plaintiff had the home appraised. The value of the home was determined to be...

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In a separate case, defendant’s parents filed a petition to terminate plaintiff’s parental rights and adopt RM on the ground that plaintiff had been absent from RM’s life for over three years. One month before the petition was...

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The parties have two children in common, and both children are now adults. The parties were never married, but plaintiff was granted custody and defendant was ordered to pay child support. After the youngest child turned eighteen, defendant sought a...

FAMILY LAW 65: The court held that because the ECE was not altered by the change of school districts, the referee properly applied the preponderance of the evidence standard when reviewing the best interest and parenting time factors.

BASIC FACTS The parties divorced in 2018. Their judgment of divorce provided that plaintiff would have primary physical custody and that the parties would have joint legal custody of the two minor children. The judgment of divorce stated that the...

FAMILY LAW 64: The court reversed the trial court’s order granting joint physical and legal custody of the parties’ children to defendant-father, concluding that the trial court improperly conflated his motion to change custody with plaintiff-mother

The parties divorced in 2013. The judgment of divorce granted mother sole physical and legal custody and ordered that the child’s domicile would remain in Michigan. In 2015, the trial court granted mother’s motion to change domicile,...

5 Common Misdemeanors Affecting People in Michigan

Originally posted on 11/08/2019 There are many different levels of crime and the consequences once someone has been charged with them. One bracket of crimes is known as a misdemeanor. Let’s go over this level of crime and some common...

PROBATE 44: The court held that the probate court did not err by declaring a will executed by the decedent invalid on the basis that she lacked testamentary capacity to execute it and that it was the product of petitioner’s undue influence.

Defendant and Decedent met in August 2017. In approximately November 2017, Decedent began talking constantly about wanting Defendant to take her to see an attorney for the purpose of changing her will. On March 19, 2018, Defendant filed a petition...

Michigan Expungement Law Updates For 2021

There has been a new law regarding expungements for the state of Michigan.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that expands the criteria for expungements related to traffic offenses, marijuana convictions, and minor...

Wills and Trusts

Originally posted on: 02/14/2014 Aldrich Legal Service provides legal advice and representation for residents in Plymouth, Ann Arbor, and Southeast Michigan. We also review recent legal cases to examine what took place and what we can...

REAL ESTATE 68: Holding that plaintiffs-buyers’ allegations of fraud in this case arising from the sale of a residence did not preclude the trial court from granting defendants’ motion for summary disposition based on a release, the court affirmed.

This cause of action arises from plaintiffs’ purchase of a residence from defendant, who had rights in the house under a land contract from co-defendant, the legal owner of the house. Before the house was for sale, in January 2018, an upstairs...

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