Grand Rapids Criminal Defense And Family Law Blog

Different degrees of retail fraud

Retail fraud is simply a term used in Michigan to describe the crime of shoplifting. Theft from stores is one of the most common crimes in the entire country with the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention reporting that police have caught over 10 million shoplifters in the last five years alone. 

As is the case with several other offenses, there are various degrees of retail fraud. The degree greatly influences the type of penalties a person faces, and it also alters how the attorney will build a defense.

What does equitable division of property mean?

In 2015, Michigan had a divorce rate of 6.0. This came out to over 29,000 divorces in that year alone, according to data from the state's Department of Health & Human Services.

Before pursuing a divorce in earnest, it is good if both parties have a complete understanding of the process. This means understanding that property becomes divided equitably and not equally. While people typically use the terms interchangeably, there is a big difference.

A co-parent is a better parent

Both Michigan society and the courts are favoring robust co-parenting arrangements. When parents otherwise may have an acrimonious relationship when they split, the newer atmosphere of consideration of what is in the best interests of the children may persuade them to work harder for a truce.

As noted by USA Today, it is more prevalent for the law to treat parents equally without regard to gender when it comes to visitation and custody. Long gone are the days when custody went to the mother by default and the father necessarily received far less time with the children.

How to exercise your right to remain silent

You may have heard that the law does not require you to talk to a law enforcement officer if he or she questions you. The Miranda warning even includes the clear statement that you have the right to remain silent. However, you do not necessarily want to just press your lips together and refuse to talk when an officer approaches you.

Here is what you need to know in an encounter with authorities.

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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