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The trial court did not clearly err in its factual findings or abuse its discretion in the imputation of income, and the spousal support awarded was not inequitable under the circumstances.

Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's order granting spousal support in favor of the defendant-ex-wife for $2,451 per month. On appeal, the plaintiff-ex-husband argued that the trial court erroneously calculated the parties' respective incomes. He receives an annual base salary of approximately $69,000. The trial court imputed additional income to him based on the availability of overtime, which he consistently accepted during the parties' marriage and which he had only recently begun to refuse. The court found "no clear error in the trial court's factual findings," and concluded that the trial court did "not abuse its discretion by imputing income to plaintiff." Contrary to his arguments on appeal, the trial court's findings as to the availability of overtime and his voluntary reduction of the overtime he accepted were not clearly erroneous. The "timing of the alleged reduction in the overtime available to plaintiff is conveniently similar to the filing" of the divorce. As to defendant's pay, at the time of trial she earned an annual salary of $22,360, working as a leasing agent. Despite requests from plaintiff, the trial court declined to impute income to her based on her work history as an insurance agent. The trial court determined as a factual matter that she "could no longer work as an insurance agent." In making this finding, it found that she "lacked a college degree, that she was no longer licensed to sell insurance, and that she was no longer marketable in this field, particularly following recent significant changes to the industry." The court found no clear error in the trial court's factual findings, and held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to impute income to defendant. The record plainly supported the trial court's findings of fact. Having determined that the trial court's factual findings challenged by defendant on appeal were not clearly erroneous, "[t]he trial court's decision regarding spousal support must be affirmed unless we are firmly convinced that it was inequitable." The court saw no such inequity here. 

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.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

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What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

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PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

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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.

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