Sunday, July 6, 2014

CELEBRITY WOMEN WHO PAY GAL-IMONY by Terry Bankert Flint Divorce Attorney 810-235-1970



GAL-IMONY CELEBRITY WOMEN WHO PAY SUPPORT.[3]

Thank You Gloria Steinamn.

Halle Berry’s case and others mentioned here, Madonna  , Kirstie Alley and Britney Spears are not Michigan cases or from #Flint.

Genesee Flint Michigan law of spousal support is found here using the celebrity cases as a backdrop.

Halle Berry falls in line with a growing number of women who pay child support.[3]

"The law is gender neutral and support is the right of the child not the parent," said Jonathan Wolfe, an attorney and partner with Skoloff & Wolfe. "If you are the higher wage earner, man or woman, be prepared to pay."[4]

IN MICHIGAN,The court may award spousal support as is just and reasonable if the property award is insufficient for the suitable support of either party and any children of the marriage of whom the party has custody. The court must consider “the ability of either party to pay and the character and situation of the parties, and all the other circumstances of the case.” MCL 552.23(1).[5]

A 2013 Pew report found that women are the sole or primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households with children under 18. [2]

Halle Berry  is now a ranking member of an exclusive club in Hollywood: celebrity women who've had to pay their exes after their split.[3]

More than half of divorce lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers cited an increase in the number of mothers assigned to make child support payments in the past five years.[4]

The long-lived child support battle between Halle Berry and ex-lover, Gabriel Aubrey, appears to be over—for now at least.[1]

According to People, the Academy Award-winning actress has been ordered to pay Gabriel $16,000 per month in child support for their daughter, Nahla, until she either turns 19 years old or finishes high school. That’s a pretty long time considering that Nahla is only six.[1]

The Oscar-winner will fork over $200,000 per year plus tuition money for the ex-couple’s six-year-old daughter Nahla. Berry must also make a retroactive payment of $115,000 and another $300,000 to Aubry’s attorneys to cover their fees.[2]

IN MICHIGAN, Factors to be considered  in awarding spousal support include the following:
  • Past relations and conduct of the parties. How the parties conducted the marriage as well as fault in the breakdown of the marriage. Fault is only one factor and should not be assigned disproportionate weight.
  • Length of the marriage. A long-term marriage is especially relevant where one spouse has no career or marketable skills and his or her standard of living may be reduced because of the divorce.
  • Ability of the parties to work.
  • Source of and amount of property awarded to the parties.The focus is on the income-earning potential of the assets rather than their value; a spouse is not required to dissipate property awarded to meet daily needs where spousal support can be available.
  • Ages of the parties.
  • Ability of the parties to pay spousal support. Sources considered in determining the ability to pay include earnings, pension plans, unemployment compensation, tax refunds, and Social Security benefits. Ability to pay includes the payer spouse’s unexercised ability to earn if income is voluntarily reduced to avoid paying spousal support. Factors relevant to the ability to pay include (1) the parties’ employment histories, (2) reasons for any termination of employment, (3) work opportunities available, (4) diligence in trying to find employment, and (5) availability of employment.
  • Present situation of the parties.
  • Needs of the parties.
  • Health of the parties. The parties’ health is relevant to the ability to work and to the personal needs of the spouse seeking support.
  • Prior standard of living of the parties.
  • Whether either party is responsible for the support of others.
  • General principles of equity.
The court must make findings on each factor relevant to the claim before it.[5]

Berry and Aubry have been locked in a bitter custody battle over their daughter, Nahla, since 2012, the same year a judge blocked the actress from moving with their daughter to France.[3]

Halle Berry’s... shocking ruling was delivered in a Los Angeles court room on May 30. ... Halle has also been ordered to pay Gabriel $300,000 in attorney’s fees. Court documents reveal that the two share equal custody of Nahla.[1]

IN MICHIGAN, Factors relevant to the amount of support.
  • duration of the marriage
  • the parties’ contribution to the joint estate
  • the parties’ ages
  • the parties’ health
  • the parties’ stations in life
  • the parties’ necessities and circumstances
  • the parties’ earning abilities


Halle and Gabriel’s co-parenting situation certainly has not been the most ideal over the past couple of years.[1]

[T]he former couple’s 2012 Thanksgiving was stained with memories of bloodshed and a prison cell after Gabriel got into a physical altercation with Halle’s now-husband, Olivier Martinez.[1]

Aubry, 38, and Berry, 47, dated from 2005 to 2010 but never married. In 2012, the couple became involved in a custody dispute over Nahla, when a judge blocked the X-Men: Days of Future Past star from moving their daughter to France to live with her and her now-husband Olivier Martinez. The fight culminated in a physical altercation between Aubry and Martinez in November of 2012, People reported. Aubry and Berry now share equal custody of the girl, according to court documents.[2]

Because the number of female breadwinners is at a peak and more men are asking for shared custody, cases of women paying child support are likely on the rise, too. A 2012 survey of divorce lawyers in the United States found that 56 percent of attorneys saw an increase in numbers paying child support since 2009.[2]

"Courts look at income from all sources, such as earned income and income earned from their assets," Wolfe told MainStreet. "When fixing the rate of return for unearned income, courts will be guided by the actual historical returns or impute a reasonable assumed rate of return."[4]

IN MICHIGAN TO DETERMINE HOW LONG SPOUSAL SUPPORT SHOULDLAST THE FOLLOWING IS USED.
Rehabilitative spousal support.
Rehabilitative spousal support is temporary spousal support to help the dependent spouse make the transition to self-support. It can be appropriate to
  • encourage a spouse to seek full-time employment and self-sufficiency
  • allow a spouse to complete an advanced degree or obtain a marketable skill when he or she had worked while the other spouse obtained a degree
  • allow a spouse to adjust to a lifestyle not based on combined incomes
  • allow a spouse to obtain new job skills and enter the workforce
Permanent spousal support (generally until death or remarriage).
It has been found appropriate when there is
  • a long-term marriage with a spouse who has no career or marketable skills
  • a long-term marriage, one spouse with superior earning skills, and the other spouse with questionable earning capacity
  • great discrepancy between incomes and a wife who devoted most of her adult life to homemaker role
  • serious doubt that a spouse could support himself or herself because of a disability[5]


Berry isn't the first female star to be on the hook for child support. [Others]... who had to pay big.[3]

MADONNA

The Material Girl's reported $76-$96 million settlement in 2008 with Guy Ritchie was considered a record payout, let alone one by a woman. Even her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, acknowledged its significance.[3]

ANNE HECHE

When the marriage broke up five years later, Laffoon sought at least $33,000 a month in spousal support and custody of Homer, claiming that Heche was a poor parent with "bizarre and delusional behavior," according to a court filing obtained by People magazine. [3]

KRISTIE ALLEY

In one filing,...Kristi Alley’s husband... Stevenson asked for "sufficient support" to "maintain a lifestyle commensurate to that which Kirstie and I had enjoyed during our marriage," including $18,000 a month to pay rent on a home in Bel Air.[3]

Though Stevenson once enjoyed the spotlight, he claimed that his earnings were only a fraction of what Alley earned and he did not expect to ever approach her income. Ultimately, he settled for a one-time payout of $6 million, according to Forbes.com.[3]

BRITNEY SPEARS

Federline was embroiled in a custody battle with Spears, who only had visitation rights to see their children. In 2008, she gave up her custody fight but gained more visiting time with the boys. At the same time, her child support payments to Federline reportedly increased by $5,000 to $20,000 a month.[3]

Spears was also on the hook for Federline's legal fees to the tune of nearly half a million dollars.[3]

What can these Ladies do now?

IN MICHIGAN THESE STARS COULD ASK TO HAVE THEIR SUPPORT MODIFIED. THE COURT WILL LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING.

Modification. §§6.43–6.51.

If the court had personal jurisdiction over the payer at the time of the judgment, the court has continuing jurisdiction to revise or amend the order.

No minimum period must elapse before modification can be requested.

Retroactive modification is not available. However, the court can approve the parties’ agreement for retroactive modification.

Modification is possible only on a showing of new facts or changed circumstances since the judgment that justify a revision. The petitioner has the burden of justifying a change by a preponderance of the evidence.

Once a change in circumstances is shown, the court considers all the circumstances in deciding what modification to make.[5]
Factors indicating a change in circumstances.
  • Remarriage—can trigger modification or termination unless specifically stated otherwise in the judgment, but remarriage can be only one consideration.
  • Cohabitation—does not constitute a de facto marriage; can be relevant where it improves a spouse’s financial position.
  • Changes in need—see examples in §6.48.
  • Changes in ability to pay—see examples in §6.49.
  • Retirement—effect appears to depend on whether parties fashioned award with retirement in mind; see examples in §6.50.
  • Death of the payer—does not terminate the support obligation, which can be enforced against the estate, unless stated otherwise.[5]



------------------


[1]
http://madamenoire.com/437039/halle-berry-pay-gabriel-aubrey-16000-per-month-child-support/
[2]
http://time.com/2853415/halle-berry-ordered-to-pay-almost-200k-per-year-in-child-support/

[3]

[4]

[5]
Michigan Family Law Benchbook ch 6 (ICLE 2d ed 2006), at http://www.icle.org/modules/books/chapter.aspx?lib=family&book=2006553550&chapter=6
(last updated 06/27/2014).

see

see

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

NOT FEINBERG! HERE WE GO AGAIN!




Feinberg's recent press conference could have started with his saying the following. “Hi, I am a lawyer and I am here to help!” When the GM victim payout is over will we think Kenneth Feinberg helped. I vote NO!

HERE WE GO AGAIN WITH FEINBERG
www.goodmorningflint.blogspot.com




Families of those killed in crashes involving General Motors’ deadly ignition switches will be offered at least $1 million if they can prove the defective part caused their accidents.[12
GM victim compensation director Kenneth Feinberg, who also led the 9/11 compensation and BP oil spill funds, said today that people who suffered injuries or families of victims who died because of the defect qualify for settlements and can begin filing claims Aug. 1.[12]




I wrote the following while following the BP Gulf payout as an observer. I think it applies to todays analysis of Feinberg.
Kenneth Feinberg:  "Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval."SOME SAY unfair compensation creating more Tragedy and increasing the Financial Upheaval


Kenneth R. Feinberg  sings Irish ballads as the Gulf of Mexico Charter Fishing Industry mourns the loss of its livelihood and the life of one Captain that committed suicide.

See: [12] & [13]
[12]

About the Author
Kenneth R. Feinberg ... has been front and center in some of the most complex legal disputes of the past three decades: Agent Orange, asbestos, the closing of the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, and 9/11. He is adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and the University of Virginia.[3]

Many people complained about the lack of communication or claims paid under the administration of Kenneth Feinberg, the appointee who disbursed $6.1 billion in oil spill claims to 221,000 claimants. Patrick Juneau was installed in March to implement a new court-supervised process for distributing what BP estimates will be $7.8 billion for claims covered by a recent class-action settlement.[7]

Feinberg the British Petroleum BP money man and overseer of the bureaucratic misery caused by his administration of victim claims against BP British Petroleum whose negligence diminished the fishing industry in the gulf of mexico and destroyed economic and real lives of thousands  dependent on this economy.


As he explains in his new book Who Gets What, his task is to maximize prompt, fair payouts and minimize dilatory litigation.[1]

Feinberg wasn't part of the VOO program, that was bp and the subcontractors. Feinberg came in on the back end of that.

"There's never been a private claims facility like this. We received over 1 million claims from 50 states and 35 foreign countries we paid out $6.5 billion before the first trial was even scheduled to begin," said Feinberg.[2]

The judge brought payments to the halt the day the settlement was reached "in principle" and feinberg was dismissed. The buck was passed to the court claims, and even though the infrastructure was the same key players; no economic claims are moving. Why? In many cases claimants have provided documentation from 2007- 2011 month and months and month ago?

Feinberg has done all his government and university work pro bono, but he figures that BP paid his law firm around $18 million. “It depends on the circumstances,”he says. “Another terrorist attack? Of course I’d do it for free. Another shooting at a university? Of course I’d do it for free. Oil company, wrongdoer, willing to foot the bill—of course I won’t do it for free.” [1]

Do not trust Feinberg to do the right thing in the GM Ignition Victem payout!
Feinberg had mentors that mapped every move of his elite career. What is his history. He is nothing more than an apologist for Big Corporations the ultimate corporatist.  Feinberg was the administrator  of the chaos remedy, his real job to keep the public at bay and the press muffled.  His personal history is one of protecting government, the politicians he socializes with from that mix of intellectual and money elites   are high positioned people  we  defer too but whose true agenda is preservation of their wealth and power and their dependence  on corporation political support.

Feinberg assignments have always ended with payouts equal to what insurance would cover.His mission is to make us feel good and minimize the corporate damages.

He is  a Corporatist as defined by Naomi Klien in Shock Doctrine.

Did you know the smallest players whose lives  were so totally devastated the Charter Fishing Captains and those that book their clients have yet to be paid.

Feinberg has long stated that he put himself behind the proverbial eight-ball in the Gulf by overpromising how quickly he could get emergency payments to spill victims. In the book, he is even more self-critical on that point:
"In meeting after meeting during the first weeks of the GCCF, I made the ridiculous public pledge that 'the GCCF will pay eligible individual claimants within forty-eight hours and eligible businesses within one week.' Talk about a self-inflicted wound!" Feinberg writes. "Underestimating the volume and complexity of the claims, I promised what I could not possibly deliver. As a result, the GCCF was immediately placed on the defensive."[4\]
IS FEINBERG REPEATING HISTORY WITH THE GM PAYOUT?
The compensation fund is unlimited, he said. If Feinberg determines that the defect was the “substantial cause” of the accident, he will use actuarial tables and average medical cost data to calculate the size of a payout. The families of people who died will get at least $1 million.[12]
He said the volume of claims kept him from holding individual meetings with claimants, something he considered critical to upholding a sense of justice. It was clear that Feinberg wanted to do that because throughout the GCCF, he promised claimants who confronted him in person or sent him letters and emails that he would review their claims "personally." That sometimes got him in trouble, making it appear that he was providing certain claimants with negotiated settlements rather than adhering to a formulaic method for paying similar claims equitably. [4]


Feinberg fumbled another ball as the administer of BP claims. Millions suffer yet he stands to make millions from telling the story . Where is the justice. He should profit no more from his book than a serial killer telling his tale.

Did you know  Feinberg let a fleet of out of state boats come into the clean up and paid them yet the charter captains will be paid only if the offset against their claims of ⅓ is accepted.

Feinberg lied directly to my primary source  out of Bon Secour booking charter out of Gulf Shores Alabama  and surrounding areas. He told her there were no glitches in the online system which is even worse now that the courts have taken over.   Feinberg made the local claims adjusters impotent and the distribution of  economic claims to come to a halt.

Feinberg called the emergency payments received in Aug-Nov 2010 a gift. The amount of paperwork to qualify was mountainous and he called it a gift?

IN THE GM VICTIM PAYOUT GM CAN AGGRESSIVELY CONTEST THE CLAIM
Victims must submit evidence substantiating their claim — such as police reports, hospital records, vehicle data, insurance information and even the car involved in the accident if it’s still around.[12]
GM can provide evidence to dispute victims’ claims. But the company has agreed not to challenge the claims after Feinberg makes a determination.[12]

In March, Feinberg’s run at the helm of GCCF ended when a New Orleans federal judge appointed a new administrator. Congressman Jo Bonner sent out a tweet that read: “End of an Error.”[2]

He and his Washington law firm, Feinberg Rozen, was paid $1.25 million a month to dole out BP's money, leading to complaints that Feinberg was protecting BP's assets. On the other hand, he took just 18 months to pay 225,000 victims more than $6.2 billion, a record of speed and distribution that put to shame similar-scale compensation efforts, such as the post-Katrina Road Home program for homeowners.[4]


"That criticism is absolutely to be expected I accept it in good faith."
But he does not accept the assessment of his reign as being a failure. "By all accounts, I think that the distribution and just 18 months of $16.5 billion to 220,000 people is evidence of success," Feinberg said.[2]

Public officials at the state level have not been so reserved, harshly criticizing Feinberg and warning Gulf Coast residents about the claims process.
"I would not give him (Feinberg) very high marks, and I've said that personally to him in meetings, face-to-face," Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a Wednesday telephone interview.[5]

Strange added that the Obama administration "could do a much better job in holding his feet to the fire."[5]
A Feinberg spokeswoman declined to comment.
Feinberg has been increasingly under fire along the Gulf Coast, with local leaders accusing him and his staff of misleading the public, unfairly denying claims and managing the process with too little transparency.[5]



The livelihood of Charter Captains, men and women with everything at stake, has been destroyed by the BP oil spill and the incompetence of the  Feinberg claims center.

The Charter Fishermen were told that if they helped in the clean up which they did it would not lower their claims which it has. This ⅓ pay back applies only to charter fishermen and  not shrimpers, not oystermen, not the guys that fish for the same fish but sell them, just the Charter Fishermen. Where is the justice in this? TO PRESIDENT OBAMA WHERE IS THE JUSTICE.

WE HOPE THAT THE GM STATED POLICY PROVES TO BE TRUE.
“We are pleased that Mr. Feinberg has completed the next step with our ignition switch compensation program to help victims and their families,” Barra said in a statement. “We are taking responsibility for what has happened by treating them with compassion, decency and fairness. To that end, we are looking forward to Mr. Feinberg handling claims in a fair and expeditious manner.”[12]


[1]
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/06/24/kenneth-feinberg-calculating-what-a-life-is-worth.html
[2]
http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/gulf_oil_spill/kenneth-feinberg-reflects-in-new-book
[3]
http://www.globaltort.com/2012/07/who-gets-what-ken-feinbergs-new-book/
[4]
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2012/06/ken_feinberg_says_in_new_book.html
[5]
http://blog.al.com/live/2011/02/white_house_wont_grade_feinber.html
[6]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_R._Feinberg
[7]
http://www.gulfbreezenews.com/news/2012-07-12/Island_News/Trying_to_reason_with_the_BP_claim_process.html

[8]
http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2012/jul/30/feinberg-and-gccf-who-gets-what-ar-4239850/?referer=None&shorturl=http://bit.ly/LZK8sn

[9]
http://goodmorningflint.blogspot.com/2012/07/simple-morality-and-ethics-must-compel.html

[10]
http://www.npr.org/2012/06/27/155850506/who-gets-what-putting-a-price-on-human-tragedy

[11]
http://www.zimbio.com/Ken+Feinberg/articles/pjngX3EEi5z/SIMPLE+MORALITY+ETHICS+MUST+COMPEL+FEINBERG
[12]
[13]

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WILL THE CHILDREN UNCONSTITUTIONAL TAKEN FROM A PARENT BE GIVEN BACK?


ONE PARENT DOCTRINE RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
How many parents have lost rights to their children because of the application by the Sate of Michigan and its court system of this unconstitutional doctrine?

#TERRY TALKS “Ideas worth sharing “
# 06/04/2014 ONE PARENT DOCTRINE

Terry R. Bankert P.C., 810-235-1970, Ideas Worth Sharing of Flint, of the law, and by Flint Michigan People. See also Facebook Group WWW.terrytalks.com
DATE: 06/04/14 This article in fully cited note format


A former Jackson County sheriff candidate serving a prison term for a federal cocaine offense is at the center of a Michigan Supreme Court case that deems the state's "one parent doctrine" unconstitutional.[4]

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional a doctrine that lets authorities remove children from their parents’ custody if just one parent is deemed unfit. [1]
The court’s 5-2 decision on Monday found that the more than 70-year-old “one-parent doctrine” infringes on the due process rights of parents, overturning lower courts’ rulings. [1]
In a five-to-two opinion released Monday, the high court said because the one-parent doctrine allows the court to deprive a parent of the fundamental right to control the care and custody of a child it is a violation of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.[2]
The state must balance its “legitimate” and “crucial” interest in protecting children “with the fundamental rights of parents,” the justices said. [1]
In re SANDERS Docket No. 146680. Argued November 7, 2013 (Calendar No. 6). Decided June 2, 2014. [3]
The Department of Human Services (DHS) petitioned the Jackson Circuit Court, Family Division, to assume jurisdiction over the minor children of Tammy Sanders and Lance Laird after the youngest child was born with drugs in his system.[3]

The court, Richard N. LaFlamme, J.,  removed the child from Sanders’s custody and placed him with Laird, who at the time also had  custody of the older child. The DHS subsequently filed an amended petition, alleging that Laird had tested positive for cocaine, that Sanders had admitted using drugs with Laird, and that Sanders had spent the night at Laird’s home despite a court order that prohibited her from having unsupervised contact with the children. [3]
At the preliminary hearing, the court removed the children from Laird’s custody and placed them with the DHS. Laird contested the allegations in the amended petition and requested an adjudication with respect to his fitness as a parent. [3]
Sanders pleaded no contest to the allegations of neglect and abuse in the amended petition, but Laird declined to enter a plea and instead repeated his demand for an adjudication and requested that the children’s temporary placement be changed from their aunt to their paternal grandmother, with whom Laird resided. At a placement hearing, Laird admitted that he had allowed Sanders to spend one night at his house after the court removed the children from her custody but asserted that the children never saw her that night. Laird also testified that he was on probation for a domestic violence conviction. The court took the placement motion under advisement and maintained placement of the children with their aunt pending Laird’s adjudication.[3]
A few weeks later, the DHS dismissed the remaining allegations against Laird, and his adjudication was canceled. Following a review hearing, the court ordered Laird to comply with a service plan, including parenting classes, a substance-abuse assessment, counseling, and a psychological evaluation; restricted his contact with the children to supervised parenting time; and continued placement of the children with their aunt. Laird subsequently moved for immediate placement of the children with him, arguing that the court had no authority to condition the placement of his children on his compliance with a service plan because he had not been adjudicated as unfit.[3]
The court denied the motion, relying on the one-parent doctrine derived from In re CR, 250 Mich App 185 (2002), which provides that if jurisdiction has been established by the adjudication of only one parent, the court may then enter dispositional orders affecting the parental rights of both parents. The Court of Appeals denied Laird’s application for interlocutory leave to appeal in an unpublished order, entered January 18, 2013 (Docket No. 313385). The Supreme Court granted Laird leave to appeal. 493 Mich 959 (2013).
THE SUPREME COURT FOUND
Application of the one-parent doctrine impermissibly infringes the fundamental rights of unadjudicated parents without providing adequate process, and the doctrine is consequently unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Due process requires a specific adjudication of a parent’s unfitness before the state can infringe that parent’s constitutionally protected parent-child relationship.  [3]
MCL 712A.2(b) governs child protective proceedings generally. MCL 712A.2(b)(1)  gives the family court jurisdiction over a child in cases of parental abuse or neglect.[3]

Child  protective proceedings have two phases: the adjudicative phase and the dispositional phase. [3]







Due process requires a specific adjudication of a parent’s unfitness before the state can infringe that parent’s constitutionally protected parent-child relationship.  [3]
The one-parent doctrine permits the family court to obtain jurisdiction over a child on  the basis of the adjudication of either parent and then proceed to the dispositional phase with respect to both parents. The doctrine therefore eliminates the petitioner’s obligation to prove that the unadjudicated parent is unfit before that parent is subject to the dispositional authority of the court.[3]

Included in the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of due process is a substantive component that provides heightened protection against governmental interference with fundamental rights and liberty interests, including the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. A parent’s right to control the custody and care of his or her children is not absolute because the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the children’s moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare, and in some circumstances neglectful parents may be separated from their children. The United States Constitution, however, recognizes a presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children and that there will normally be no reason for the state to insert itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of fit parents to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of their children.[3]



The ruling stemmed from a case involving Lance Laird, a one-time Jackson County sheriff candidate. [1]
Laird contested a court’s decision to remove two sons from his home after he tested positive for cocaine. [1]
The court also denied his requests for a trial to determine whether he was fit to parent.  [1]

The boys’ mother, Tammy Sanders, admitted taking drugs with Laird and spent the night at his home despite a court order that prohibited her from having unsupervised contact with children. [1]
One boy previously had been removed from the custody of his mother, Tammy Sanders, in 2011, days after the baby tested positive for cocaine at birth. [1]

He was placed with Laird, whose other son was living with him. Laird is currently in prison for violating federal drug-trafficking laws. [1]
The high court also rejected Monday the Department of Human Services’ argument that Laird’s case should be dismissed because of his imprisonment. [1]
Justices said incarcerated parents can exercise their constitutional right to direct the care of their children. [1]
Department of Human Services spokesman Bob Wheaton said officials are reviewing the decision. [1]
The two dissenting justices, Judge Stephen Markman and Judge David Viviano, disagreed that both parents are constitutionally entitled to a jury trial on their fitness. [1]
Likewise, they wrote, Laird was found to be unfit after several such hearings. [1]
They added that children “in the greatest need of expedited public protection” will receive it “considerably less quickly because both parents are for the first time constitutionally entitled to jury trials.” [1]
Justices in the majority wrote that “in some cases this process may impose a greater burden on the state.”  [1]
However, they continued, “constitutional rights do not always come cheap.”   [1]

n a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Markman agreed the state cannot remove a child from a parent's custody or interfere with a person's parental rights unless a court first finds the parent unfit, but he did not believe Michigan laws and procedures prevent this from happening "The statutory provisions and court rules, as they should, presume that parents are fit and require the state to prove a parent's unfitness before the state can remove a child from a parent's custody," his opinion states.[4]
CONCLUSION OF THE MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT OPINION
We recognize that the state has a legitimate—and crucial—interest in protecting the health and safety of minor children. That interest must be balanced, however, against the fundamental rights of parents to parent their children. Often, these considerations are not in conflict because “there is a presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children.” Troxel, 530 US at 68 (opinion by O’Connor, J.). When the state is concerned that neither parent should be entrusted with the care and custody of their children, the state has the authority—and the responsibility—to protect the children’s safety and well-being by seeking an adjudication against both parents. In contrast, when the state seeks only to deprive one parent of the right to care, custody and control, the state is only required to adjudicate that parent. In this case, for example, there was no constitutional or jurisdictional impediment to disrupting the parental rights of Sanders, who was afforded the right to a determination of fitness. Adjudication protects the parents’ fundamental right to direct the care, custody, and control of their children, while also ensuring that the state can protect the health and safety of the children. Admittedly, in some cases this process may impose a greater burden on the state than would application of the one-parent doctrine because “[p]rocedure by presumption is always cheaper and easier than individualized determination.” Stanley, 405 US at 656-657. But as the United States Supreme Court made clear in Eldridge, constitutional rights do not always come cheap. The Constitution does not permit the state to presume rather than prove a parent’s unfitness “solely because it is more convenient to presume than to prove.” Stanley, 405 US at 658. We accordingly hold that due process requires a specific adjudication of a parent’s unfitness before the state can infringe the constitutionally protected parent-child relationship. In doing so, we announce no new constitutional right. Rather, we affirm that an old constitutional right—a parent’s right to control the care, custody, and control of his or her children—applies to everyone, which is the very nature of constitutional rights. Because the one-parent doctrine allows the court to deprive a parent of this fundamental right without any finding that he or he is unfit, it is an unconstitutional violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. We therefore overrule.[3]




SOURCES THIS ARTICLE
[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]



_______________________________________________________
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-TERRY TALKS .COM- www.terrytalks.com --
-TERRY TALKS Twitter -www.twitter.com/terrybankert -
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