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Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Law Blog

Making your stepchild part of the family

If you are in a second marriage and your new spouse has a son or daughter, the subject of adoption may come up. Is this a good idea? Is everyone in favor of it, including the child? Adoption is a big decision and should be considered carefully.

First, you must be comfortable with the relationship you have with the child. If that is on firm footing and you want to make him or her part of the family officially, a family law attorney can guide you through the adoption process.

Tips for co-parenting

One nice theme in today’s divorces is when parents put the children first. Many courts prefer that couples work out their own parenting plan rather than rely on the judge’s discretion. While it can be difficult to create a co-parenting plan, if you and your spouse can put aside the emotions of the divorce to work together, it is much better for the child. Co-parenting brings stability and security to the child’s world after the upheaval of a divorce. 

To successfully co-parent, you will have to make a commitment to: 

  • Talk to the other parent about schedules, school events and behavior.
  • Encourage consistent rules between households. This doesn’t mean that houses cannot have separate rules, but things like bedtime, school work and chores should be consistent.
  • Agree to speak positively about the other parent when talking to your children.
  • Agree to not use the children to carry messages, even simple things.
  • Do ordinary things with the children. It can be tempting to want to one-up the other parent or to make grand gestures of fun when you do not have the children all the time.
  • Work with the other parent to resolve conflict.
  • Remember that shared parenting is not always 50/50 equal time. Be flexible and consider what works best for the child. 

Understanding the field sobriety tests

Since the 1970s, law enforcement officers have been pulling people over and administering three roadside tests that help them gauge whether a driver is impaired. While these tests are not perfect, they do produce certain results that could lead to an arrest, a chemical test and a DUI charge on your record.

AAA describes the Standardized Field Sobriety Test and what an officer is looking for.

Eyewitnesses do not make for an open-and-shut case

Eyewitnesses do not carry as much credibility as they used to. In fact, factors such as lighting can even lead people to misidentify strangers as people they think they know. Given this, it is realistic to question whether eyewitnesses in many criminal investigations are able to accurately identify potential suspects, especially if the two parties have never met. Here is a look at some of the top problems with eyewitnesses.

4 ways to help children through divorce

Divorce is a highly emotional time for everyone involved, especially the children. Though you may feel animosity toward your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it is important to keep that negativity away from the kids and focus on their best interests. The experience of the family separating will likely impact a child forever. Parents should recognize how important it is to show love, support and respectfulness throughout the process.

Dealing with a mortgage post-divorce

A house becomes a lot more than just an address after a few years. Home owners must put blood, sweat and tears into making it a home. You spend hours painting the walls, decorating each room and manicuring the lawn. After a while it becomes a part of who you are. This is why it is so hard to choose what to do with the house once you have decided upon a divorce.

If you have created a strong emotional connection with your home then you might consider taking your spouse off the mortgage and keeping the home yourself. In this case you could refinance the house under your name. This is a good choice if you can acquire a refinance loan and if you have plenty of extra income to support the mortgage on your own. Refinancing a home does not come easy and you might not be able to acquire a loan. If this is the case and you still want to keep it then things can get messy.


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