Monday, July 9, 2018

Democrat challengers in the 3rd District to run in primary elections

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Democrats Cathy Albro and Fred Wooden will square off in the Aug. 7 primary election for the 3rd Congressional District.

The winner faces an uphill battle in his or her bid to defeat Republican Congressman Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, a four-term incumbent who has handily defeated previous challengers in the historically red district.

Article here.

Friday, July 6, 2018

On this day: California passed the nation's first "no-fault" divorce law

California's legislature, in 1969, passed the first "no fault" divorce law in the US, allegedly on today's date.

Prior to that, a person seeking a divorce in any US state had to prove "grounds" for the divorce, such as cruelty, abandonment, or infidelity, as reasons why the court could grant the divorce. Further, a defending spouse (the one who was being "sued" for divorce) could defend - say in his or her pleadings that no, there wasn't any cruelty, abandonment, or infidelity, and the court would possibly not grant the divorce.

Michigan law has its statute written this way: the party seeking a divorce has to allege in his or her initial complaint that there is "a breakdown in the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of the marriage have been destroyed, and that there is no reasonable likelihood" that the parties would reconcile. MCL 552.6

Monday, July 2, 2018

Summer parenting time, and requesting to change schools - Q: I may need legal help, my ex wife won't follow the court order

Q: My ex keeps changing the summer schedule on me, and now she is asking to change next year, for the school district our kids are enrolled in, what should I do? 

A:You really have two questions here, first on the summer parenting time, and the second is change of schools. 
 If you have a court order that summarizes when and where parenting time should take place in the summer months, both of you have to follow it.

However, if you and she have had a verbal agreement, where each of you agrees to what to do with the kids in the summer, it might be hard to say "she's violating the order," since there is no specific times - in writing - that you can show she hasn't done.

Sad to  say, it would have been better to get everything settled in advance of when summer time came, but I understand that sometimes this is hard to do, since camps have waiting lists, day care has staff changes, etc., during the summer months. The best thing is to keep in communication with her, the camp, the day care, etc., as the summer is being planned -- that way no unpleasant surprises are waiting for anyone.

Change of schools is a whole different issue. Most parents who share custody of children share legal custody of the children. These are the decisions in a child's life such as: where to attend school, where and when to go to church (if you do attend church), medical care, and other issues where it is important for the parents to agree.

In other words, one parent typically can't unilaterally decide that the children will change schools. 

It could be that your judgment of divorce (or custody) states what school district the children are to attend. But if it  doesn't, you should get separate legal advice on this issue to see if you need a motion to help decide the proper school district.

There is a good bit of case law on this issue - so again - I suggest you have an attorney review your current orders, and facts to help you. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Q: How do I get rid of a misdemeanor on my record? Michigan law Q &A

Q: I had a conviction in 2008 for a traffic offense. I'd prefer to have that removed from my record, is there a way I can go about this? 

A: Yes, you can do this. The process is called "expungement," or also a "motion to set aside." The relevant law can be found here.

You have to apply for this in the county where the conviction happened. To meet the statutory requirements, it has to be more than 5 years since the offense. If your conviction was a misdemeanor, you can't have more than 2 misdemeanors (and only can set aside one) ; if your offense was a felony, you can't have any other felony offenses.

It does get a little more technical than that, so I hope that your criminal record isn't too involved, and in any case I hope you seek separate legal advice before you request this motion.

It also helps - a lot - to add evidence to your motion of your current good character. In other words, you've learned your lesson, and you are not likely to continue to break laws, and you won't be a concern to the legal system.

You also mention in your question that this was a "traffic offense." I am sorry to say that some types of criminal convictions can't be set aside under the statute, and convictions for drunk driving are one of those - so if you were convicted of impaired driving, operating under the influence, etc., your motion will fail. Again, seek separate legal advice before  you begin, even if you apply for the motion without a lawyer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

State bar reciprocity - what does it mean, what states do it

Imagine you're a lawyer, licensed in one state, and you'd like to move to another state. Or you get a case that is in another state - can you go to set up your practice in a new state, or take the out-of-state case? Possibly yes, if your state has reciprocity with the other.

State bars set their own reciprocity rules. If a state has decided not to reciprocate, then to practice in the "new" state, a lawyer has to take the bar exam for that state.

A good place to start researching this topic is here: Bar

Keep in mind that the reciprocity process is not over night - anecdotal evidence suggests that the process can take 6 months. So if you're licensed in North Dakota, for example, practice for five years, then apply for reciprocity to Michigan, don't expect to be admitted overnight. Instead, the state bar will let you know in six months. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

GRPD under scrutiny after 11 year -old is handcuffed, NAACP comments

Article here.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The local NAACP says Grand Rapids police used excessive force in the controversial handcuffing of an 11-year-old girl at gunpoint while searching for a stabbing suspect.
"The officers involved violated Honestie Hodges' Fourth Amendment Constitutional right, in addition to using excessive force," the Grand Rapids branch of the NAACP said in a statement.