It is not your fault when it comes to abuse.

Domestic Abuse Domestic abuse is a serious issue that should always be taken seriously and addressed. Even still, it is difficult topic that makes many people uncomfortable. People are often reluctant to confront the fact that their friends, family or even themselves are abusers. Even when showing concern for friends or family members they believe may be victims, they are quick to accept assurances that everything is alright. Domestic abuse thrives in silence and can frequently be easily concealed in intimate relationships. Regrettably, it is also not uncommon in our society and is often present in the family law cases Continue Reading…

Social Media and Evidence Admissibility

            Social media and its various platforms may be a newer concept in the history of the world, existing for about fifteen years, but it’s been around long enough that the dangers and downsides are quite apparent. There are countless recent examples of old tweets, Facebook comments, Instagram photos, and other postings, coming back to haunt the poster. Whether it be offensive content, incriminating photos, or other posts, it seems every week there is a different athlete, celebrity, or other famous person being taken to task for their questionable social media posts and content. Whether or not this scrutiny is Continue Reading…

Divorce Law and The Case of the Embryo.

Divorce Law and The Case of the Embryo. In most divorces, the two main areas of concern are addressing the custody of any children and dividing any property the parties own. It seems obvious that these two areas do not generally overlap, but with advances in reproductive technology, there is the potential for overlap in regards to frozen embryos. Key questions revolving around embryos are being litigated in Michigan courts that could have far reaching repercussions involving the future of frozen embryos in divorce matters. Laws are often reactive in nature and evolve to address issues as they …come up… Continue Reading…

The Attorney’s Billable Hour.

The Billable Hour Law firms have different methods of charging for their services. Some may offer flat fees, some rely on contingent fees where they are only compensated for their work if they win, but the most common way law firms charge is by the billable hour. What is universal among law firms though, is a fee agreement outlining the terms of their retention. As a client it is important to understand the fee agreement and understand your financial obligations under that agreement when retaining an attorney. Fee agreements usually outline billing practices of each firm and break down the Continue Reading…

When children are interviewed in legal matters

Often we have client’s who wonder, why doesn’t the court want to talk to my child or why aren’t my child’s words taken seriously.  As we all know, even for adults, interviews conducted in a legal context are often a stressful undertaking for anyone who must go through the process, but this fact is especially true for children. Whether it be in a custody case, a criminal proceeding, or a civil dispute, the underdeveloped child mind can find it difficult to understand exactly what is happening or the reasons behind why they have been put in the position they find Continue Reading…

Banking Laws and Marijuana

The recreational use of marijuana has become much more accepted in recent years, so far gaining legality in ten states, among these Michigan as of the recent midterm elections. While many states have opted for the legalization of recreational marijuana use, it is still illegal under federal law, leading to a variety of issues for the marijuana industry. The most important among these is the refusal from the bank industry to work with marijuana businesses, forcing most marijuana businesses to operate entirely in cash. Although marijuana businesses are able to operate legally in many states, the banking institutions are not Continue Reading…

Happy New Year, even during the holidays we know communication is the key to happy clients

While most lawyers do enjoy having a life outside of the office and would like to put their work aside, even if just for an evening, sometimes lawyers can put work off too long. Minor things like responding to emails and returning phone calls can be problematic. Kristen D. Hardy hits on this “Email Decorum: No Excuses” an article appearing in the July/August 2018 issue of Wisconsin Lawyer. As Ms. Hardy points out, we are as connected as ever, but often times it does not seem that way because of such lapses in communication. Obviously we are all looking to Continue Reading…

Women in the Law

A Trailblazing Journey: From Sarah Killgore Wertman to Today In their article, A Trailblazing Journey: From Sarah Killgore Wertman to Today, Kristina Bilowus and Nicole M. Smithson discuss the trailblazers who have made the legal field more accessible to and accepting of female attorneys. The article begins with a discussion of Sarah Killgore Wertman, the first woman admitted to practice law in Michigan and goes on to discuss the role of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) in advancing the interests of female attorneys in Michigan. The article also identifies other major trailblazers such as former WLMA president Judge Continue Reading…

Marijuana Laws in Michigan

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       The legal status of marijuana possession and usage in Michigan is in a state of flux. There has been a great deal of change regarding the laws on marijuana possession and usage in the state over the last decade or so. What started as support for the usage of medical marijuana through a voter initiative has slowly morphed into relaxed views and attitudes of marijuana to the point there is now an effort to legalize even recreational usage through a ballot initiative in November 2018. In his article “An Introduction to the Ballot Initiative of the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Michigan” in the August 2018 Michigan Bar Journal, Matthew Abel points out that the primary purpose of the act is to allow for personal possession and cultivation, ensure safety of marijuana products and establishments through regulation, and remove marijuana from the illicit market.

This ever changing landscape around the legality and acceptability of marijuana has created not only significant confusion among Michiganders, but there are a variety of concerns regarding the use, possession and growing of marijuana that move just beyond the normal criminal concerns that most people are aware of. It is important to understand how these changes can affect you. It is also worth noting that even though Michigan currently allows for medical marijuana use and cultivation and even if the November 2018 ballot initiative passes, marijuana will still be illegal pursuant to federal laws.  In light of the budding marijuana industry and the growing legitimacy that comes with it, there is more overlap in the family law practice area every day. Whether it is parties using it to treat a medical issue, growing marijuana for their own use or as a caregiver, or operating a marijuana related business, there are a lot of ways in which a client’s interaction with marijuana can affect their divorce or custody matter. A common mistaken belief is that just because it is more acceptable, and legal under certain circumstances, a court will not consider marijuana usage in terms of a custody case, which is not true.

Based on the novelty of a lot of these issues, where once illegal and derided behaviors are becoming legal and acceptable, it’s hard to predict how a court will consider marijuana usage. If the courts’ attitude toward alcohol use provides any guidance or indication, the general thought is some use is okay, but not to the point where it affects a person’s ability to parent in anyway. It seems like a no-brainer, but to be clear, being under the influence of drugs and alcohol during parenting time is always frowned upon by the courts. Courts are quick to take action if they think alcohol or drug usage is affecting a person’s ability to safely and effectively parent their child and can suspend parenting time altogether, require supervised parenting time, order alcohol and drug assessments, or take various other actions to protect the children from someone they feel is a danger. Therefore, parents should be sober and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol during their parenting time. Outside of your parenting time, courts are generally more tolerant of moderate alcohol and marijuana usage.

While our magic eight ball cannot tell you the outcomes with one hundred percent accuracy, our thorough knowledge litigating these issues give us the ability to thoroughly inform clients on all possible outcomes.  It is best to consult with an attorney with a deep understanding of not just the immediate issues you face, but can also recognize other issues that can arise that may not have been considered. The attorneys at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler and Associates are well-versed on these issues and we urge you to contact our Milford, Michigan office at (248) 676-1000 for more information about marijuana issues in your family law case as well as how we can address your specific needs. We help clients throughout Southeastern Michigan, including Genesee, Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties, as well as Mid-Michigan in Clare, Gladwin, Ogemaw, and Roscommon Counties. Our experienced attorneys have counseled such clients in Milford; Hartland; Highland; White Lake; Commerce; Walled Lake; Waterford; West Bloomfield; South Lyon; New Hudson; Brighton; Howell; Ann Arbor; Holly; Fenton; Flint; Linden; Clarkston; Houghton Lake; Higgins Lake; Roscommon and many more local communities.

Estate Planning for Your Pets

Love and affection for our family and friends is usually the driving force behind a person completing an estate plan. Whether it be trying to protect and provide for our family and friends after we are gone, or just trying to give them a simple thank you for being an important part of our lives, a detailed estate plan is the best way to guarantee these wishes and desires are carried out as intended. Without an estate plan, your estate and everything you’ve worked to earn throughout your life is subject to the intestate laws of your state. In other Continue Reading…