Thursday, February 9, 2017

Q: What's a reasonable retainer for a divorce?

Q: What's a reasonable retainer for a divorce? Can't I just do this myself in court without an attorney?
A: Thanks for asking. If you are looking to hire an attorney for divorce, expect to hear many different amounts for retainers. Some attorneys will quote higher than they may need to, but will refund the unused portion of the retainer when your case is done.

A retainer is an amount that an attorney estimates toward how much your case might cost, in total, or for a large portion of the case. That doesn't mean that the retainer amount will cover the whole fee for your case. Again, you may have a refund once your case is done, depending on how your case goes, whether a lot of motions are needed, and how much your spouse decides to fight.

Many attorneys will also tell you their hourly rate when you hear their retainer amount. This is because the retainer is a down payment, which usually is placed in an account. The attorney then invoices against the retainer for each hour that the attorney works on your case. For example, if an attorney charges a $3,000 retainer, and has an hourly rate of $200 per hour, your retainer will be gone once your attorney has worked 15 hours on your case.

Your second question was "can I do this myself without an attorney?" Yes, a party can represent him or herself in court. But I ask you: Is this wise? Even if it seems cost effective? Your divorce has to cover many topics, such as child custody, parenting time, insurance, division of assets and debts (including retirement accounts, property, credit card debts), and child support, among others. Do you want to do this without any idea of how to go about it, when you are also feeling emotional and uncertain? Or would it be better to let a professional, who's not married to your spouse, argue for you?

Best of luck in your situation.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Family bar owners admit to deleting income information

Family bar owners admit to deleting income information

A father and son, who own three bars in the Grand Rapids area, admit to allegedly having deleted income information.

"On September 23, 2015, Michael Farah and Brian Farah called the POS administrator a second time, and told them they wanted to make sure that the files were deleted 'and they could not get any of the information,'" Stiffler wrote.
"Michael Farah stated that their goal was that no one would be able to retrieve anything from the computers or the POS administrator."
An IRS agent met with the Farahs on the same day. The Farahs did not mention that the records had been deleted.
Brian Farah, in his plea agreement, admitted that $232,000 was not reported on business tax returns in 2013, and $176,000 was not reported in 2014.

Article here via

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jessica Heeringa case: five witnesses take the stand

Jeffrey Thomas Willis, 46, of Muskegon Township, has been charged with kidnapping and murdering Jessica Heeringa, who went missing from a Norton Shores gas station April 26, 2013. Willis also faces a kidnapping charge in the case of a 16-year-old who claims he tried to abduct her in April 2016, and a murder charge in the June 2014 shooting death of Rebekah Bletsch.

Article here (via 

MILegalize files in US Supreme Court over denial of ballot petition in 2016 election

From a press release of the MILegalize office:

The MILegalize United States Supreme Court Petition for a Writ of Certiorari was filed yesterday. It will be in the docketing system in a week or so after standard security delay and processing.  MILegalize will make an official announcement with more details in the next few days after SCOTUS provides a docket number. Attached is an electronic copy of the filing. 

The state has been served with notice. Once a docketing number is issued third parties seeking to file amicus briefs have 20 days to request permission from the parties. MILegalize welcomes amicus briefs from anyone supporting this important battle to protect both petitioning and voting rights and sensible cannabis law reform. The case may set groundbreaking national precedent for both First Amendment rights and cannabis reform as an early test of the Trump administration and a new Supreme Court bench.

The case raises First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection violations due to the gross injustices perpetrated by the Secretary of State, Board of Canvassers, and Bureau of Elections in refusing to process MILegalize's 354,000 signatures submitted for the 2016 election. The Petition seeks a declaration that both MCL 168.472a, the "rebuttable presumption" law and a 1986 Board of Canvassers policy are unconstitutional for placing undue burdens on the initiative petition process, and asks the Court to remand the case with an order to fairly canvass and qualify MILegalize's petitions for inclusion at the next regular election -- the 2018 gubernatorial race.

In this time of grave threats to the integrity of our democratic republic, MILegalize remains committed to fighting for cannabis reform and for protecting the fundamental rights of all Michiganders-- most importantly herein, our imperiled petition and voting rights, the very essence of government by We the People. The refusal to respect such rights by the State of Michigan requires supervision by the Highest Court in the Land. While the likelihood of the Court granting certiorari on any petition remains low, MILegalize made a commitment to the People of the State of Michigan it will not break-- we will fight as long as it takes for our Freedom. 

We continue to Demand that the Legislature Respect the Will of Michigan voters and enact the MILegalize plan immediately during lame duck, and also repeal all restrictions on the right of the People to petition, most especially PA 142 of 2016. As the likelihood for anything sensible out of this Legislature is slim, MILegalize is also gearing up to launch another petition in spring of 2017, MILegalize2018. Learn more at

Monday, December 5, 2016

Officer chooses not to give breathalyzer to Kent County prosecutor

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Grand Rapids police are reviewing an officer's decision not to give a breathalyzer test to a Kent County assistant prosecutor who struck a parked car going the wrong way on a one-way street.

Article here. 

The crash involving Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper happened about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 on Union Avenue at Avalon Terrace, south of Fulton Street. A person who was getting items out of the other vehicle had minor injuries and was taken to Mercy Health St. Mary's hospital for treatment.

He was later suspended from work, and asked to take a substance abuse evaluation. 

Did you know? Michigan was the first state to support the 21st Amendment to repeal Prohibition

Michigan, in 1933, was the first state which voted to ratify the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition.

Prior to that, even possession of small amounts of alcohol in Michigan was a felony. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Art of Getting Clients to Pay

If someone doesn’t replenish a retainer after it runs out and you continue to represent him or her, thinking that the person will eventually pay, you’ll probably wind up doing the work pro bono even if you didn’t intend to . . . .

Article here (via abajournal)