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…

New for Co-Parents: Online Parenting Classes Now Available

Online Co-Parenting Classes May Satisfy Court Requirements There are online college degrees and virtual SAT tutoring so why not on online parenting classes? The digital age has given divorcing parents a solution to the difficulty of fitting court-ordered co-parenting classes into an already over-scheduled co-parenting life. Even if you are not required to do a co-parenting class by court order, it is a great idea to learn new techniques to parent together in difficult situations. Online parenting class providers include: Course for Parents Online Parent Class Online Parenting Programs Each online parenting class provider has a different programs and costs. Continue Reading…

Does Fault Matter?

A recent Institute of Continuing Legal Education seminar titled, “Fault: Does it Ever Really Matter?” by Jade J. Edwards reviews the aspects of a divorce that can be influenced by determining fault. In the ICLE materials, Edwards wrote, “Michigan is a “no fault” divorce state. This simply means that a party can get a divorce regardless of fault. However, this does not mean that fault doesn’t matter at all.” Does Fault Matter in Child Custody? The primary premise of child custody and visitation is to provide for the best interests of the child after divorce. It is further assumed, unless Continue Reading…

Future of Marriage: What Does it Look Like?

What will the Marriage of the Future look like? Renewable short-term marriage contracts? Mandatory Prenups? Long-term long-distance Marriage? Tri-Parent Families? People are pondering the Future of Marriage. Will it even still exist in 50 years? If so, will it resemble the marriage that is familiar to current generations? “The marriage apocalypse may be coming. Talk to any millennial and you can envision an America virtually marriage-free, with everyone happily single,” writes Carol Costello in her blog, “Ready for the Marriage Apocalypse?” “Right now, about 40% of Americans think marriage is obsolete as a concept. They are not sure it is Continue Reading…

Grandparenting Time Allowed Under Michigan Law

In Michigan, grandparents have the right to seek Grandparenting Time with grandkids after the parents’ divorce, legal separation or annulment if two very specific conditions are met, according to Michigan Legislature. Guidelines for Grandparenting Time Eligibility Number One – The Grandparent is only eligible for visitation time if he or she cannot have access to the grandchildren during his or her child’s custody time. To clarify, we’ll establish a common scenario using generic names. So let’s say the Grandparents are Arthur and Beatrice. Their child, Thomas, has a daughter, Anne. Arthur and Beatrice can only seek Grandparenting Time with Anne if Thomas is Continue Reading…

Embrace the Disneyland Dad (or Mom)

Disclaimer: Let us just say up front that we at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates know that the original term Disneyland Dad is sexist and cliché. We know moms are just as prone to spoiling their kids as dads. So for the purposes of the blog to follow let’s just be clear that we are not making a comment about the parenting priorities of an entire gender. The label simply rolls off the tongue better than “Unnamed Theme Park Parent of Unspecified Gender.” We have seen enough co-parent clients come through our office to know that all mothers and fathers, come Continue Reading…

Tips for Successful Parenting Coordination Process

The Parenting Coordination Process is a mediation arrangement where co-parents work with a coordinator to resolve child-custody related matters. QUESTION: Which parenting scenarios might be prime for Parenting Coordination Process? A: A parent is consistently late for child visitation exchanges. The parents repeatedly fight and return to court over drop-off and pickup arrangements. B: Ex-spouses disagree about a child’s mental health treatment plan. There is regular conflict regarding medications, supplements, vitamins, diet and exercise. C: A parent has a new job and wants a permanent, one-time alteration to the visitation schedule. D: Both parents generally work well together but dispute Continue Reading…

Children of Parental Alienation Suffer as Adults

As incidences of Parental Alienation Syndrome increase, therapy professionals are looking at the long-term impacts on the children of high-conflict divorces. Children of Parental Alienation Suffer Later in Life According to Edward Kruk, Ph.D., “Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept of “parental alienation syndrome” 20 years ago.” Now, decades later, the children identified as being the subjects of Parental Alienation are becoming young adults and encountering difficulties in the own marriages and parenting relationships. It manifests itself in narcissistic behaviors, addictions, and difficulty co-parenting. The term Parental Alienation is used to describe a perpetual pattern of one parent brainwashing the Continue Reading…

Drug abuse: 5 things I wish my family law clients knew

Dear Drug or Alcohol Abuser, I’ve been a family law attorney for more than 20 years now and I have seen families ripped apart by alcohol and drug abuse. I’ve also witnessed the positive, reaffirming and heartwarming tales of parents reunited with children after a scary bout with addiction. The path of alcohol and drug use->abuse->addiction-> ruin is not a certain one. Clients have recovered. So whether drug abuse or alcohol abuse is the primary source of legal trouble or compounding it, there are five items I wish my family law clients knew about drug abuse and testing that can prevent a bad Continue Reading…

Child Support After Parent Death

When negotiating divorce and child custody agreements, it’s important to prepare for all possible scenarios. In terms of child support and custody, unfortunately, one of those scenarios is the death of one of the parents. It’s tragic to imagine this scenario from a child’s emotional perspective. As uncomfortable as it is to speculate, the potential death of either the custodial or non-custodial parent should be considered. Death of Non-Custodial Parent In the case of the death of a parent paying child support, the custodial parent may wonder where funds will come from. “It’s unfortunate when a parent who was charged Continue Reading…