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August 2017 Archives

What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?

A legal separation and a divorce are two distinct court cases and two distinct marital statuses. Legal separation does result in a final division of marital assets but the parties are still married and therefore cannot re-marry. If you have gone through a legal separation, but you later decide you want to divorce, you can petition the court to convert your judgment of separate maintenance to a divorce judgment.

CIGNA reverses LTD denial decision for RN with low back pain

SMDA recently convinced LTD insurer Cigna to overturn its claims denial decision for a registered nurse who developed significant low back pain that prevented her from performing her own occupation. Our client had degenerative disc disease that had progressed over the years eventually leaving her unable to work. Cigna initially denied her claim finding she was not disabled.

When divorce leaves you bankrupt

A common problem for divorced couples, is that they go from a standard of living based upon two incomes, to a standard of living based upon one income. In addition, payments and debts are divided, and individuals are often left with a combination of high outstanding balances and high monthly payments.

Michigan Soldier Joins National Guard

Spc. Ryan Trantham from the Michigan National Guard's 156th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Company C. earned Honor Guard status on June 2017 after undergoing 40 hours of Michigan Army National Guard, Honor Guard Training.

U of M Shoots Down Guns

A notice to students heading to the University of Michigan this fall - don't bring your firearm with you. In June, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that students, staff, and the general public are still banned from possessing firearms on the U of M campus.

Dividing up the marital home

Below is a link to an article that discusses the mortgage ramifications of filing for divorce. It is important to understand the difference between removing your name from the deed, and removing yourself from the liability of the mortgage.

Michigan Veteran Mistreatment Leads to Statewide Shakeup

11 former workers at the Kent County Home for Veterans face felony charges following a 2016 audit that revealed their mishandling of abuse case filings and staff shortages. Additionally, the staff reported doing 100% of room checks when only about 43% were actually completed according to video surveillance. Reports also showed that the facility faced staff shortages of sometimes as many as 22 personnel per day. Ninety percent of abuse and neglect reports were not passed on to the nursing director, according to the audit survey. The staff faces up to 4 years in jail in addition to $5,000 in fines for their mistreatment of the veterans.

SUPREME COURT ALLOWS HIGH SCHOOL RUNNER TO CHASE THEIR CLAIM

The Supreme Court has overturned the Court of Appeals decision preventing a 13 year old member of a high school cross country team from suing the coach in addition to the driver that hit him as he was on a training run with the team. The team was on a pre-dawn training run when they came to a traffic light. The team initially stopped at the light, but continued to cross the street, against traffic laws, on their coach's instruction. The plaintiff was one of two members of the team who were injured by a vehicle which hit them while crossing the street. In addition to the driver, the family sued the coach alleging that he was partially responsible for their son's injuries when he ordered the team to cross the street.

How to prepare for a divorce.

Many people contact our office and ask, "how do I prepare for a divorce?" If you are contemplating filing for divorce, there are a few things you can do to put yourself in the most favorable position.

Four Legged Military Members to Receive Their Own Monument

The War Dog Memorial will be unveiled with a ceremony occurring this Saturday morning in Lake Orion. The monument will be dedicated to dogs that served alongside military members and will be located at the Orion Veterans Memorial in Lake Orion. The ceremony will include a salute from retired military dogs.

Michigan Veteran Receives Medal of Honor

Michigan native and Vietnam War veteran James McCloughan was honored for his bravery during the battle of Nui Yon Hill this Monday. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor possible due to saving the lives of ten men while acting as a medic during the fight. He was only 23 at the time of the 1969 battle and receives this honor at age 71, after returning home to work as a teacher and coach for 40 years.

One Step Closer to Justice for Grieving Family

SMDA is pleased to update the status of the victory in the trial win against the auto insurer of a grieving family of their minor daughter who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision. SMDA tried this case to verdict and successfully defended the case in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The case was tried over three days in August of 2015. SMDA, with the assistance of counsel for Mary Free Bed Hospital and Covenant Health Care, won a verdict of over one million dollars following a hard fought trial. Plaintiff's daughter, who passed away in a house fire before trial, was 15 years old at the time of the crash. She sustained serious injuries as a result of a single car accident while she was on her way to school. Her right to receive automobile no-fault insurance benefits rested on whether or not the she had permission to drive the car. Since the insurance company alleged that she did not have permission and thus was not entitled to receive any benefits from her mother's automobile insurance policy, it was their burden to explicitly prove she took the car without her parents' permission. Although her mother initially stated that her daughter had taken the car without permission, under testimony both parents and the minor plaintiff unequivocally testified that she had permission to take the family car. The insurance company also argued that permission could not be legally granted because the minor only had a permit and she could not legally operate the vehicle without a licensed adult in the car.

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