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The trial court did not err when it denied the respondent-father's request to revoke his release of parental rights.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's order terminating his parental rights to the children pursuant to his voluntary release of parental rights under the Adoption Code. In 2015, he testified that he wanted to release his parental rights because it was in the best interests of the children. As to his rights, the trial court fully explained to him that by relinquishing his rights, "he would (1) give up any right to have a say in the children's lives, (2) terminate any rights of his extended family," and (3) vest the DHHS with "discretion for purposes of placement and adoption." The trial court inquired into whether he was "making the decision voluntarily, free of coercion, and free of compensation, and he indicated that he was." Moreover, he indicated that he had been "seriously considering the matter for some time." The trial court also informed him that he could "not withdraw his release except by order of the trial court." Thus, based on the record, he was informed of the consequences and finality of his decision. And although he argued that he was not in a clear mental state, the record fully supported that his decision was given freely and knowingly. 

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.

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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