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…

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…

Marijuana Laws in Michigan

Link

       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.

After Divorce: College Funding Responsibility

Who’s responsible for college funding post divorce? Although child support payments typically end when children turn 18, divorcing couples often agree to college funding as part of their settlement.  There are many considerations to discuss with your family law attorney regarding paying for college after divorce. The first place to start is whether the supporting party will be paying for college and, if so, how much. “For some divorcing couples, the answer is uncomplicated.  Money has been earmarked for college, Johnny’s interests come first, everybody can agree on who will pay what,” writes Jeffrey A. Landers in his article “One Continue Reading…

Gender Expansive Youth May Face Potential Legal Issues

Gender Expansive Youth Legal Matters An interesting article in the Michigan Bar Journal, December 2017 edition titled “Legal Issues Facing Transgender and Gender Expansive Youth,” by Angie Martell brings to light many current and potential legal considerations for children and teens. The article reads, “Transgender and gender-expansive individuals face more and more hidden barriers and injustices. Is the strict adherence to a two- sex paradigm not only inconsistent with science but discriminatory?” Family Law Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler has been practicing in Michigan for more than 20 years and finds many of the article’s topics fascinating and pertinent. “So many legal issues Continue Reading…

Grandparent Rights: Three Standards

We field many calls in our busy family law practice about grandparent rights. Some want to know if they can collect child support payments if they are helping raise their grandkids. Some grandparents want to know the options if they disapprove of parents’ decisions. Others wonder how to protect their relationship with the grandchildren after the parents divorce. The possible scenarios are so varied it’s difficult to address them all in one blog but there are three standards that Michigan courts take into account when considering a grandparent rights case. For more detailed information about specific cases, contact the Law Continue Reading…

Children of Divorce: Breaking the Resistance and Refusal Dynamic

Continuing Legal Education Topic Parental Alienation is a hot Family Law topic. There is heightened awareness and increased repercussions for parents guilty of intentionally turning their kids against the other parent. With this increased attention to alienation, there is also recognition of the slippery slope pattern of rejection of a parent labeled RRD (Resistance, Refusal Dynamic). Experienced Livingston County Child Custody Attorney Kathryn Wayne-Spindler recently attended a Family Law Continuing Legal Education seminar where Hon. T.J. Ackert of the 17th Circuit Court Grand Rapids; Ben Burgess of  Parmelee and Associates in Grand Haven; and Connie R. Thacker of Thacker Sleight Continue Reading…

Proposed Changes to Michigan Child Custody

A look at Michigan House Bill 4691 The Michigan House Bill 4691, proposing changes to the Child Custody Act of 1970, was introduced on May 31, 2017 and has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary. (Citations below show proposed changes indicated by strikethroughs and the suggested language amendments in bold, all-caps.) The latest proposed changes to the Michigan child custody laws include the very title of the act. According to Michigan House Bill 4691 introduced by Reps. Runestad, Kelly, VanSingel, Lucido, Hauck, Cole and Tedder reads, “Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Continue Reading…