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FAMILY LAW 92: Defendant objected to the referee’s recommendation on the ground that the record did not support a deviation from the MCSF.

The parties married in 2009 and divorced in 2017. The consent judgment of divorce provided that the parties agreed to joint legal and physical custody of their two minor children and equal parenting time.

Child Support Calculation

Regarding child support, the consent judgment provided that Defendant/Father shall pay child support to Plaintiff/Mother in the amount of $1,000.00 per month for the support of two children until each child attains the age of 18 years or graduates from high school.

Neither the consent judgment nor the attendant uniform child support order (UCSO) made any reference to a deviation from the Michigan Child Support Formula (MCSF), nor explained any reasons underlying their agreement.

Three years later, the Friend of the Court informed defendant that he had a right to request a child support review prompting him to move to modify his monthly support obligation to the amount established by the MCSF.

Friend of the Court Referee Hearing

A Friend of the Court referee conducted a hearing at which the parties testified regarding the reasons underlying the child support stipulation in their consent judgment. Plaintiff explained it was kind of agreed upon to leave his pension alone. Defendant was content giving plaintiff that money. Defendant came up with that thousand, and Plaintiff agreed upon it without Friend of the Court involvement. Defendant testified that he believed that his $1,000 monthly support obligation had been based on the child support formula without any deviation. He testified further that he did not receive anything in exchange for paying more child support.

The referee calculated defendant’s monthly child support obligation under the MCSF at $149 per month. The referee found that the support amount calculated under the MCSF would be unjust and inappropriate, and that a deviation of $750 was warranted. The referee surmised that the parties had agreed that defendant would pay monthly child support of $1,000 in exchange for a property concession. The referee expressed the belief that the agreed-upon support amount was for the children’s care and maintenance, and that the property plaintiff gave up would have otherwise been available to her for their benefit.

Trial Court

The trial court adopted the referee’s recommendation and entered an interim UCSO modification requiring defendant to pay monthly child support of $899 ($149 plus $750) for the two children, effective October 1, 2020.

Assistance Child Support Issues

In Michigan, like in most states, child support determinations are determined according to a formula that considers each parent's income, along with factors such as parenting time, and health care, daycare and education expenses. We can help you determine a fair amount and represent you in court or in settlement negotiations. Additionally, if you feel you are paying too much or not receiving enough, our lawyers have successfully helped many clients receive child support modifications.

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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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