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Grand Traverse County Michigan Divorce and Estate Planning Blog

Divorce and post-divorce parenting

The decision to end a marriage when there are children involved is never easy nor is it often entered into lightly. While it may have a negative impact on a child's life in Michigan, it is not always best to remain together for the sake of one's children. This may seem to be a conundrum, but it can be resolved by successful post-divorce parenting.

A recent study in another state found that children of divorce can thrive when parenting is shared as equally as possible. This was found to be true regardless of the age of the children, but sadly, courts do not seem to be keeping up with these findings. For example, few allow the non-custodial parent to have physical care of the child on a school night. This disallows that parent from helping with homework or day-to-day tasks such as getting ready for school, ensuring homework is done and so on. Such involvement can help reassure a child that both parents are involved, caring and supportive.

A child's birthday party becomes a criminal law case

The opioid crisis continues to plague Michigan and our nation and is permeating small, quiet communities everywhere. One of those communities is Utica, a small city north of Detroit. A child's birthday party was disrupted and went from a peaceful family gathering to a nightmare. It left a young man in need of someone experienced in handling serious criminal law cases.

The child's grandfather observed a young man using drugs and asked him to refrain from the activity as the children at the birthday party could see him. The young man reportedly took out a knife and repeatedly stabbed the elderly gentleman in the neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Co-parenting is the most likely custody decision in MI divorces

For many couples, divorce can quickly become a contentious battle, with each spouse doing anything in their power to "win." This approach may help either spouse feel vindicated about the end of the marriage, but it can do more harm than good when it comes to minor children from the marriage. Ideally, you and your spouse will work together to shield your children from the emotional fallout that often results from divorce.

Children of any age can experience negative emotional consequences when their parents split up. It is important that both the parents and the divorce court take steps to mitigate the potential damage that divorce can cause.

Hotels are making an impact in Traverse City real estate

The hotel industry in the Traverse City area is experiencing a fair amount of activity. Properties for sale have been sold, and there are additional projects in the proposal phase. This points to increased growth and opportunity in the local hotel and corporate real estate industry in Michigan.

The Hotel Indigo was purchased by a Rhode Island hotel development firm for $26.5 million. The hotel originally opened in 2016 and was built for about $17 million. The Rhode Island development company has stated that it was attracted to the property by some of the built-in amenities it already offers. This includes a roof top bar, interesting design features and other interesting features.

Death of Aretha Franklin reminds of the need for estate planning

The death of a prominent citizen of Detroit emphasizes the need of establishing an estate plan. Aretha Franklin recently passed away at the age of 76 and she had apparently done no estate planning. It is said that she did not have a will or trust in place, which may complicate the settling of her estate. She is survived by four sons who have all listed themselves as interested parties. A niece has also requested to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate.

Under Michigan law when there is no last will and testament, a single person's estate is divided equally among any children of the decedent. Reportedly, Ms. Franklin's lawyer had advised her of the need to have a will or a trust. She had not established either at the time of her death.

Criminal defense: Hit-and-run accident results in formal charges

An early morning jog in Michigan turned out to be a bad way to start the day. A Wayne County Sheriff's Department employee was struck and killed during an early morning jog. The off-duty officer was allegedly struck by a vehicle and dragged for several feet in a hit-and-run accident. The driver of the vehicle is facing criminal charges.

The accident occurred in Westland, a suburb of Detroit. The jogger was allegedly struck by an SUV and dragged for some distance, as much as 50 or 60 feet. The SUV then reportedly sped away. The driver of the vehicle is being charged with death caused by reckless driving, failure to stop and also tampering with evidence.

Couple said to possess illegal drugs face criminal law charges

The opioid drug crisis continues to plague Michigan and the nation. Two people, a man and a woman, who own an assisted living facility in Oakland County, are facing criminal law charges after drugs and firearms were allegedly found on their property. The investigation was carried out by the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET).

NET conducted a search that reportedly turned up a large amount of illegal drugs and firearms. The  drugs allegedly found included marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and morphine. Five firearms and cash were also reportedly seized in the search. The residents of the home did not show signs of neglect or ill health.

Asking your spouse for a divorce: Creating a plan

It's time for you to tell your spouse that you want to end your marriage. You started considering divorce a year ago. You mulled it over. You thought it through. You went to counseling. Nothing helped, and now you know it is time.

You're not asking your spouse for a divorce, per se. You are telling your spouse that you plan to file. But it's still a delicate conversation. You want it to go as well as possible.

Becoming new parents is a time to consider estate planning

Becoming new parents can be one of the most exciting steps in a young family's life in Michigan. While there are so many things to be considered and provided for the new family member, establishing or reviewing an estate plan should not be neglected. While extensive planning may have gone into expanding a family, it is difficult to plan for the unexpected. That is where estate planning can help.

While many eventualities are difficult to consider, preparing for them can provide peace of mind and a certain level of security to a young family. Having a living will that designates a person's health care wishes should he or she become incapacitated relieves loved ones of that burden in the event of an unexpected accident or illness. Along with a living will, a guardian should be designated for any minor children thus ensuring their continued care.

Estate planning: A tool in the battle against substance abuse

Planning an estate can have many facets to cover many beneficiaries and many situations in Michigan. Trusts can be put in place to help provide for handicapped or mentally disabled relatives. There is a third category where trusts may be the right option. This would include addicted or mentally ill children that a family wants to provide for in their estate planning.

A trust enables a family to bequeath money to a child but have it in the control of a third party. The trust can be set up to incentivize a child to seek help for his or her addiction or mental health issue. Rather than being punitive if a child fails a drug test, for example, a trust can be set up to provide incentives for getting help through therapy, doctors and other treatment options.


Traverse City Office
202 E. State Street
Traverse City, MI 49684

Phone: 231-668-9836
Fax: 231-941-9679
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Elk Rapids Office
300 Ames Street
Elk Rapids, MI 49629

Phone: 231-668-9836
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