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MICHIGAN DIVORCE 78: Mother and father were both unable to adequately parent the children.

Mother and father were married and shared four children: LF1, LF2, BF, and KF. Father and mother’s relationship involved domestic violence, and they both abused substances. They ultimately divorced, and it was determined by mother’s family members that mother and father were unable to adequately parent the children.

In 2014, W successfully petitioned for custody of BF and KF. In 2015, H successfully obtained custody of LF2, and Gregory and Nicole, mother’s parents, were granted custody of LF1.

Change of Custody

In 2018, mother began to demonstrate sobriety. Father also began making positive changes in his life.

In April 2021, father moved the trial court to grant him sole legal and physical custody of the children, arguing proper cause or a change of circumstances existed to revisit the custody orders. A clinical social worker recommended that the children be returned to father’s care in a gradual manner and with therapeutic support because of the amount of time the children had spent in the care of their guardians.

After father filed his motion for custody, the mother moved for custody of LF1.

Trial Court

The contested custody hearing was held over several months. The parties disputed father’s ability to parent the children and provide them with a stable environment. After interviewing the children in camera after the close of proofs, the trial court made detailed findings of fact on the record. The trial court reviewed the best-interest factors contained in MCL 722.23, and noted the relevant standard of proof was clear and convincing evidence. After reviewing the best-interest factors, the trial court continued the custody arrangements for BF, KF, LF2 and granted mother sole physical custody of LF1.

LF1 began to spend a significant amount of time with mother in the months leading up to the custody determination, and evidence supports LF1 and mother were bonded.

Experience with Michigan Divorces

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MICHIGAN WILLS/TRUSTS 33: Trustees required to provide notice informing recipients that they may challenge the validity of a trust and the period allowed for bringing such a challenge.

The notice sent clearly advised her that if she wanted to contest the validity of the Trust in a judicial proceeding, the law required her to do so within six months from the date of the letter. Nothing in the statute requires a trustee to inform the recipients of the specific legal consequences of not acting during the time allowed.

MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 97: The court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff.

The trial court found that plaintiff sustained her burden of establishing that a constructive trust was necessary to prevent defendant from being unjustly enriched. Accordingly, the court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff and ordered defendant to convey his interest in the property to plaintiff.

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.

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