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…

Established Custodial Environment Factors in Custody Decision

When challenging custodial arrangements, the courts will consider not only the 12 Best-Interest Factors but the existence of an Established Custodial Environment as well. Established Custodial Environment Important in Custody Fight In any custody challenge, the courts will first look to see if there is proper cause for seeking a change. The proposed custody change must be shown to not just be good for the child but sufficiently beneficial to warrant disrupting the existing situation. In establishing proper cause to revisit custody arrangements, according to M.C.L.A. 722.23(a-l), 722.27(1)(c), the relevant facts “must be of a magnitude to have a significant Continue Reading…

Gossip Girl Kelly Rutherford’s International Custody Battles Continues

Sometimes high-profile celebrity legal battles shed light on common but little-known aspects of the family law system. Such is the case with Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford’s five-year International custody battles with her ex, German businessman Daniel Giersch. The couple divorced in 2010 after a four-year marriage. Although the ex-spouses were awarded joint custody, a United States judge decided when Giersch’s U.S. Visa expired in 2012, the kids would move with their father to Monaco. It was also ordered that Rutherford would retain joint legal custody and visitation rights and that Giersch would apply for a new Visa so that Continue Reading…