Gregory Dean Law, Serving Michigan since 1994

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Trustworthy.

Respected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Family Law

Unless your custody order has a right of first refusal, you will have to file a motion to get the Court to permit you to have parenting time in this situation.  Many courts do not favor "rights of first refusal", which give the other party the right to have the children if the party with the parenting time can't exercise same.  However, where a licensed day care provider is not available, and the child is being left with a third party, the court may agree.  You should be aware that child care costs are divided between the parties based on their respective income, so the other parent could seek a licensed day care provider, and get an order to modify child support to hold you responsible for a portion of the costs.

A prenuptial agreement should be prepared well in advance of the marriage.  Both parties should have the agreement reviewed by their own individual attorney, and there should be a complete disclosure of assets and debts by both parties.    

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that is, by definition, prepared and signed prior to marriage.  However, you can still get a post-nuptial agreement.  Courts still enforce these agreements, as long as they meet the other criteria for a prenuptial agreement. 

No.  Under Michigan law, a person who is hit by a vehicle can sue the driver and the owner of the vehicle.  Most married people own their homes and accounts jointly, as husband and wife.  This creates a protection for the claims of creditors against each individual person, called tenants by the entireties.  However, if a vehicle is owned by both the husband and the wife, the injured person can sue both of them, and recover against their joint assets.  The title to the vehicle should be in the name of the primary driver of the vehicle.

Under these circumstances, you should apply to the court for guardianship over the minor child.  You can request temporary guardianship, and the court will then schedule a hearing to grant full guardianship subsequently.

Estate Planning

No.  A revocable trust can be set up to avoid probate court, but only to the extent that it is funded.  For example, if you do not transfer your home into your trust before you pass away, and it remains in your name, your heirs will have to file probate to transfer the home into the trust.  Careful titling is important to make sure that your estate plan works the way that you intend.

One of the principal purposes of a special needs trust is to ensure that social security disability benefits are not disturbed.  This done by 1) specifically stating that the trust is not to be used for maintenance or support of the beneficiary and 2) ensuring that the beneficiary has no rights to the funds, leaving disbursements at the trustee's sole discretion.  Since the beneficiary is not entitled to the funds, the beneficiary's creditors are not entitled to the funds.  Therefore, provided that a Special Needs Trust is properly drafted, creditors should not have access to the Trust.

Probate

Yes.  If the deceased person did not have a Will, the court will follow a statutory process called “Intestate Succession”.  This process was set up by the legislature to follow what they believe most people would do if they had a Will.  For example, in cases where the surviving spouse is also the parent of all of the children, everything would go to the spouse first.  If the spouse died beforehand, everything would go the children in equal shares.  Wills are still important, because the person getting the Will can decide who is in charge, and can leave different things or amounts to different people.  However, with Intestate Succession at least a process is in place. 

No.  As long as the debt is owed solely by your husband, you as the surviving spouse are not responsible for the debt.  If your husband owns assets that have to be probated or passed through a trust, the creditor can make a claim against the estate.  However, if you and your husband owned assets, like a home, as husband and wife, the asset will transfer directly to you without probate.  [A mortgage though will follow the asset, and will still have to be paid.]

Whether you need to go through probate court or not depends on the size of the account.  With smaller accounts, you may be able to proceed simply with a form, called an Affidavit of Decedent's Successor, if the account administrator is willing to accept same.  Small accounts may also be probated in a very simple, in and out procedure.  Larger accounts will need to be probated in the traditional manner, albeit informally, to allow potential creditors to file claims. 

Civil Litigation

No. Some of the most difficult work in a civil suit is collecting on the Judgment, but the judicial system does offer tools for collecting, such as garnishments, writs of execution, and creditors exams.

Criminal Law

There are certain requirements for clearing up your criminal record.  It must have been over five years since you completed your court involvement for your offense.  You can have no more than one felony, along with up to two 90 day misdemeanor offenses.  There are also certain offenses that cannot be expunged.  If you qualify, a Petition can be filed in the court where your conviction occurred to set aside the conviction at the discretion of the court.

Traffic

Points stay on your Michigan Secretary of State driving record for two years.  Insurance companies, however, will consider the driving offenses for a longer period of time, generally three years. Although the points go away after two years, the offenses stay on your full driving record.

Gregory Dean Law, Serving Michigan since 1994

Frequently Asked Questions

Family Law

Unless your custody order has a right of first refusal, you will have to file a motion to get the Court to permit you to have parenting time in this situation.  Many courts do not favor "rights of first refusal", which give the other party the right to have the children if the party with the parenting time can't exercise same.  However, where a licensed day care provider is not available, and the child is being left with a third party, the court may agree.  You should be aware that child care costs are divided between the parties based on their respective income, so the other parent could seek a licensed day care provider, and get an order to modify child support to hold you responsible for a portion of the costs.

A prenuptial agreement should be prepared well in advance of the marriage.  Both parties should have the agreement reviewed by their own individual attorney, and there should be a complete disclosure of assets and debts by both parties.    

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that is, by definition, prepared and signed prior to marriage.  However, you can still get a post-nuptial agreement.  Courts still enforce these agreements, as long as they meet the other criteria for a prenuptial agreement. 

No.  Under Michigan law, a person who is hit by a vehicle can sue the driver and the owner of the vehicle.  Most married people own their homes and accounts jointly, as husband and wife.  This creates a protection for the claims of creditors against each individual person, called tenants by the entireties.  However, if a vehicle is owned by both the husband and the wife, the injured person can sue both of them, and recover against their joint assets.  The title to the vehicle should be in the name of the primary driver of the vehicle.

Under these circumstances, you should apply to the court for guardianship over the minor child.  You can request temporary guardianship, and the court will then schedule a hearing to grant full guardianship subsequently.

Estate Planning

No.  A revocable trust can be set up to avoid probate court, but only to the extent that it is funded.  For example, if you do not transfer your home into your trust before you pass away, and it remains in your name, your heirs will have to file probate to transfer the home into the trust.  Careful titling is important to make sure that your estate plan works the way that you intend.

One of the principal purposes of a special needs trust is to ensure that social security disability benefits are not disturbed.  This done by 1) specifically stating that the trust is not to be used for maintenance or support of the beneficiary and 2) ensuring that the beneficiary has no rights to the funds, leaving disbursements at the trustee's sole discretion.  Since the beneficiary is not entitled to the funds, the beneficiary's creditors are not entitled to the funds.  Therefore, provided that a Special Needs Trust is properly drafted, creditors should not have access to the Trust.

Probate

Yes.  If the deceased person did not have a Will, the court will follow a statutory process called “Intestate Succession”.  This process was set up by the legislature to follow what they believe most people would do if they had a Will.  For example, in cases where the surviving spouse is also the parent of all of the children, everything would go to the spouse first.  If the spouse died beforehand, everything would go the children in equal shares.  Wills are still important, because the person getting the Will can decide who is in charge, and can leave different things or amounts to different people.  However, with Intestate Succession at least a process is in place. 

No.  As long as the debt is owed solely by your husband, you as the surviving spouse are not responsible for the debt.  If your husband owns assets that have to be probated or passed through a trust, the creditor can make a claim against the estate.  However, if you and your husband owned assets, like a home, as husband and wife, the asset will transfer directly to you without probate.  [A mortgage though will follow the asset, and will still have to be paid.]

Whether you need to go through probate court or not depends on the size of the account.  With smaller accounts, you may be able to proceed simply with a form, called an Affidavit of Decedent's Successor, if the account administrator is willing to accept same.  Small accounts may also be probated in a very simple, in and out procedure.  Larger accounts will need to be probated in the traditional manner, albeit informally, to allow potential creditors to file claims. 

Civil Litigation

No. Some of the most difficult work in a civil suit is collecting on the Judgment, but the judicial system does offer tools for collecting, such as garnishments, writs of execution, and creditors exams.

Criminal Law

There are certain requirements for clearing up your criminal record.  It must have been over five years since you completed your court involvement for your offense.  You can have no more than one felony, along with up to two 90 day misdemeanor offenses.  There are also certain offenses that cannot be expunged.  If you qualify, a Petition can be filed in the court where your conviction occurred to set aside the conviction at the discretion of the court.

Traffic

Points stay on your Michigan Secretary of State driving record for two years.  Insurance companies, however, will consider the driving offenses for a longer period of time, generally three years. Although the points go away after two years, the offenses stay on your full driving record.