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REAL ESTATE 75: Plaintiff filed action seeking to quiet title by acquiescence.

Plaintiff and defendants own adjoining parcels of real property; defendants’ 79-acre parcel surrounds on three sides plaintiff’s one-acre parcel.

In 2018, plaintiff and defendants began to dispute the northern and western boundary lines of plaintiff’s parcel. Plaintiff occupies an area that extends approximately 43 feet beyond the legally described boundary lines on both the northern and western boundaries of her parcel. Plaintiff claimed that she had exercised dominion and control over these areas for more than 15 years, and thus had acquired the disputed area by either adverse possession or acquiescence.

Defendants opposed plaintiff’s claims and installed a fence on the western side of plaintiff’s parcel where defendants contended the property line existed. Defendant drove his truck in the disputed area on the side of the fence adjacent to his 79-acre parcel and served plaintiff with a notice to quit advising her to vacate the disputed area.

Quiet Title

Plaintiff filed action seeking to quiet title to the disputed area on the western and northern boundaries of her parcel, alleging that she had acquired the disputed area by adverse possession or acquiescence, and alleging that defendants had trespassed onto her parcel. Plaintiff thereafter moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10), contending that there was no genuine issue of material fact regarding the disputed area and that she had acquired the disputed area by adverse possession or acquiescence.

Acquiescence

In this case, plaintiff sought to establish title to the disputed areas in part under a theory of acquiescence. Under Michigan law, owners of adjacent property may acquiesce to a property line other than the legal property line by treating a particular boundary as the property line.

Acquiescence may be established by any of three methods, being (1) acquiescence for the statutory period; (2) acquiescence following a dispute and agreement; and (3) acquiescence arising from intention to deed to a marked boundary.

Plaintiff’s affidavits state that all parties recognized the area she and her late husband mowed and maintained as her yard and treated the claimed line as the boundary for at least 32 years. Photographs also show that Plaintiff mowed to that claimed line and erected at least one building on the disputed property.

The trial court concluded that plaintiff and defendants’ predecessors in title acquiesced to both the northern and the western boundaries of plaintiff’s parcel for the statutory period. Acquiescence for the statutory period is demonstrated by proof that the parties treated a boundary as the property line for at least 15 years.

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FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

CRIMINAL 19: Sentencing guidelines are advisory.

The sentencing guidelines are advisory, and although a trial court must determine the applicable guidelines range and take it into account when imposing a sentence, the court is not required to sentence a defendant within that range.

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