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FAMILY LAW 33: Defendant posited that he was an affiliated father under the Revocation of Paternity Act.

Plaintiff gave birth to BT one day before she and defendant were married in July 2012.

In December 2013, plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce in pro per. During the divorce proceedings, both plaintiff and defendant suggested that defendant might not be the biological father of BT, and plaintiff asked the trial court more than once to order a paternity test to determine if defendant was BT’s father. The court indicated that it would take plaintiff’s request under advisement and issue a ruling after deciding whether a divorce case was the proper vehicle to contest the paternity of a child conceived and born prior to the marriage. No such ruling was forthcoming.

On December 3, 2014, plaintiff filed a stipulated judgment of divorce, which listed BT as a minor child of the parties and provided for a joint custody arrangement for her and defendant.

At the hearing held the same day, plaintiff admitted that she had stated in her complaint that defendant was BT’s father. She also admitted that there was no contrary DNA evidence testing currently available.

Following entry of the judgment of divorce, plaintiff filed a motion for revocation of an acknowledged father’s paternity under MCL 722.14371 of the Revocation of Paternity Act (RPA). Defendant opposed the motion, but a stipulated order for DNA testing was entered, and the results indicated that there was no probability that defendant was the father of BT.

Subsequently, defendant posited that he was an affiliated father under the RPA based on the entry of the judgment of divorce, which declared him to be the child’s father.

Plaintiff filed a motion asking the trial court to terminate defendant’s paternity and amend the parties’ judgment of divorce. At issue is whether the judgment of divorce determined BT’s paternity. The court never determined BT’s paternity despite having been repeatedly asked to do so, the judgment of divorce did not establish defendant’s paternity as an affiliated father under the RPA.

The court entered the parties’ judgment of divorce on or around December 3, 2014 and since then, neither party has properly sought to appeal the judgment. In other words, if the plaintiff wants to change the custody and parenting-time provisions in the judgment of divorce, she must file a motion for modification in the trial court.

Do Not Try to Solve A Paternity Dispute Alone

If you and your child's other parent are not married and cannot agree on the terms of your custody and visitation arrangements, you will need strong representation to preserve your right to remain involved in your child's life.

We understand what a stressful time this is for you when your custody rights are on the line. Contact Aldrich Legal Services to schedule a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys.

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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.

An Easy Guide to Navigate the Probate Process

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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

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