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Misplaced criticism of proposed law

A recent article in the Free Press, Brian Dickerson: A new Michigan divorce statute, tailored for one?, criticizes a bill introduced in the House of Representatives recently for having to narrow a focus, cutting out divorce lawyer's from comment, and being unfair. See it at http://www.freep.com/article/20110623/COL04/106230514/Brian-Dickerson-new-Michigan-divorce-statute-tailored-one-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE. The criticism that the legislation was "tailored" for one person is apparently pure speculation because no evidence of that accusation is provided in the piece. In fact the proposed legislation is quite comprehensive. See it at http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billintroduced/House/pdf/2011-HIB-4672.pdf. It finally gives actual definitions for marital and nonmarital property and establishes rules for division of that property. Currently, lawyers and litigants must look to a variety of cases to glean that information. Further, that law was largely created by the judiciary and not by the legislature.

There is value in having a comprehensive law drafted by the legislature and for more than just one person. While the legislation does change current case law, that is the legislature's prerogative and job. This piece indicates that one of the changes would be unfair to some litigants. Those litigants are the spouses of people with premarital assets that see there assets grow during the marriage. But that may not be true. As a bit of background, a number of years ago the court of appeals decided that a stay at home mother contributed to the maintenance of a nonmarital asset which changed the character of the asset to marital. She then got 50%. Under the proposed legislation, it would not necessarily become marital in that situation and if it didn't, mother would be compensated for her contribution. It does not say what mother would get for her contribution. At this point it could be more, less than or equal to 50%. Rather, it becomes a question to litigate. To be clear, in the example in the piece the business increased in value by 49 million. That mother could ask for nothing and could ask for the 49 million, or anything in between. What value did she add? How sure can anyone be that it was 24.5 million? It is apparent that the commentators in the piece don't think mother's work was really worth that and they cannot prove it and that is why they have come out with such furor. Of course this legislation is not perfect. We would like the legislature to tell us how, when a Judge divides a $50 million dollar company in half, the working spouse is supposed to pay for it without killing the business. Businesses aren't bank accounts but you wouldn't know that by just talking to the non-business owning spouse. For that reason, the legislature should hold hearings. However, it is good that the legislature is taking on this kind of task and it should be applauded no matter the initial motive.

Arnson VanTol Law, PLC

As soon as you know you are facing a divorce or a criminal charge, you should seek competent counsel immediately. It may only require a quick call to an experienced lawyer at Arnson VanTol Law, PLC at 269-301-2326. Our attorneys focus on men's rights, and can help you determine if there are steps that you should take right away to protect your interests in any family law or criminal matter.

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