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Ask the Family Lawyer

Traverse City lawyer Jeanne M. Hannah answers your questions about family law. Leave a comment on any blog or e-mail her at jeannemhannah@charter.net.

A medical mistake and parents’ love

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahInconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn’t Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift is a heartbreaking story about a loving couple, Sean and Carolyn Savage, who had struggled with infertility.

They chose to use some of their remaining frozen embryos in an attempt to enlarge their family of three. Imagine Sean and Carolyn’s joy when they learn that Carolyn is pregnant. Inconceivably, they learn at the same time that the fertility clinic has made a mistake and implanted embryos belonging to another couple! More »

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Predatory ‘twilight marriages’

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahWhen I was growing up and babysitting for 25 cents an hour (plus all the Coke and pretzels I could consume), the best part of the job was that I could stay up late and watch TV (black and white). Right around midnight, a public service announcement would say in an ominous voice: “Do you know where your children are?”

Today the question might be: “Do you know where your parent is?” More »

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PAS: A valid psychiatric diagnosis?

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahHere we go again. I recall the stance taken in a joint conference of the American Bar Association Family Law Section and the American Psychological Association a couple of years ago. The well-stated argument was: There is no such thing as “parental alienation syndrome” (PAS).

Tell that to the American Psychiatric Association, highly interested obtaining inclusion of PAS in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. More »

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Divorce after 50: Issues to consider

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahPhoenix, Arizona, divorce attorney Scott D Stewart, who writes an Arizona Divorce Attorney Blog,  recently published an article on the issues faced by older couples, usually where one or both of the spouses are over 50.

He notes that Al and Tipper Gore’s divorce has caused many Baby Boomers to examine their own marriages and has many wondering how this could happen. But it does happen, and for many different reasons. I, too, am seeing an increase in the number of my cases involving Baby Boomers. More »

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How to tell your children you’re divorcing

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahOne of the most difficult parts of divorce for parents is “what do we tell the children?” Bottom line: You have to tell the children. Surely, you don’t think they don’t know? Experience shows that children know, children pick up on tensions, overhear arguments. They worry. They wonder: Was it my fault? Can I fix it? What’s going to happen to me? More »

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Cyberbullying and social media

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahCyberbullying is a major problem in many communities today. As earlier noted on this blog, bullying can lead to depression and sometimes suicide in teens. Parents are advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics to monitor their children’s online behavior. More »

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Transfers that ‘uncap’ real estate

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahOn March 10, in a 22-page decision, the Michigan Supreme Court decided Klooster v Charlevoix. The case involves the General Property Tax Act (GPTA) and two particular circumstances in which a conveyance of property may or may not permit a taxing authority to “uncap” and reassess the value of that property. Two issues of importance to family estate planning were addressed by the court: More »

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Prenuptial agreements on the rise

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahAccording to a 2010 survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 73 percent of divorce lawyers reported increased demand for prenuptial agreements in the past five years. Middle-class couples were reported as most often seeking a prenuptial agreement. More »

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IRS resources for divorced and divorcing

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahThe IRS has released updated publications and forms that help divorced and divorcing people understand and deal with these issues: More »

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Adultery in the marital bedroom — a no-no

Ask the Family Lawyer, by Jeanne M. HannahA recent article in the New York Times gives new meaning to the phrase “Don’t Try this at Home!” Several lawyers and marriage counselors around the country are quoted, among them Richard Roane, a Michigan family law attorney with Warner, Norcross and Judd in Grand Rapids.  What not to do? No hanky panky in the marital bed! More »

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