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FAMILY LAW 91: Referee determined that neither party had established grounds for changing custody.

In the case, the parties had two children together and Plaintiff had a child with a previous partner. Defendant formally adopted CRP in 2012. The parties had a tumultuous relationship that included one separation before they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Plaintiff sued defendant for divorce. The trial court entered a judgment of divorce, which awarded joint legal and physical custody of the children to both parties. The children, however, resided with plaintiff for approximately two-thirds of the time.

Court Order Violation

After the divorce, plaintiff became engaged to a man who lived in her home state of Minnesota. She took the children to live there during extended stays in 2020. Defendant believed that plaintiff violated the court’s order by moving the children to Minnesota and, in October 2020, he petitioned for sole custody of the children.

Friend of the Court Referee

The trial court ordered plaintiff to return the children to Michigan by December 14, 2020, and the parties mediated some of their disputes by March 2021. Plaintiff formally moved for permission to change the children’s domicile to Minnesota in April 2021. She also petitioned for sole custody of the children. These issues were referred to a Friend of the Court referee by the trial court.

The referee ultimately determined that neither party had established grounds for changing custody and that plaintiff had not established her intended move to Minnesota was in the best interests of the two youngest children. Accordingly, the referee recommended that the trial court deny the parties’ requests to change custody and deny plaintiff’s request to change the domicile of the two youngest children.

Child Custody Modification

It is important to remember that decrees regarding child support and child custody are not always final. Circumstances change all the time, which is why it is possible to seek a post-decree modification.

While it is possible to seek a modification at any time, receiving the modification is much more difficult. It is important to contact an experienced attorney. Contact Aldrich Legal Services if you would like to meet with one of our lawyers about your case

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MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 95: Property owners did not place a condition upon the delivery of the deed; rather, they delivered the deed to themselves.

When the delivery of a deed is contingent upon the happening of some future event, title to the subject property will not transfer to the grantee until the event has occurred. However, in this case A and J did not place a condition upon the delivery of the deed; rather, they delivered the deed to themselves, then deposited the deed with their attorney with the instruction to record the deed only upon the happening of a future event, thereby placing a condition only upon the recording of the deed.

MICHIGAN PROBATE 57: Brother granted permanent guardianship of siblings.

At a multiday hearing to address the extension of the guardianship, the eldest children, the mother’s relatives and friends, and school personnel testified regarding the mother’s care of the children, appellant’s treatment of and interaction with the children, and the eldest siblings’ role in aiding the mother to raise the children.

FAMILY LAW 88: The trial court found that the children did not have an established custodial environment with defendant because, before the separation, he did not have a large role in the children’s lives.

The trial court credited plaintiff’s testimony that, before the parties’ separation, defendant spent minimal time helping to care for the children, so its finding that the children would not have looked to defendant for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort during that time was not against the great weight of the evidence.

REAL ESTATE 89: RM had not included any language in the deed providing that the property was a joint tenancy with full rights of survivorship, the property instead became a tenancy in common.

RM drafted the deed without seeking counsel and mistakenly believed that, if either she or FK died, the property would fully pass to the surviving tenant. FK’s will provided that if his wife predeceased him—which she did—the personal representative of his estate should sell any residual property that he owned and divide the cash proceeds equally among his surviving children.

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.

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