Author Archives: Matt Van Steenkiste
Direct payments are when one parent gives a parent support payments directly, rather than paying through the friend of the court. Friend of the court provides payment coupons to send to their office with your payment so it can be properly attributed. Alternatively, you can even have support taken directly out of your paycheck.
If you have a good relationship with your co-parent, or sometimes even if you do not, at times it can be tempting to just make direct support payments. However, this is a very bad idea. When you make direct payments, instead of making payment through Friend of the Court these payments are not credited to your account. In other words, despite making consistent payments you may be accruing significant arrearages. This could include revocation of licenses, passport cancellations, real and personal property liens, booting your car, and others. You may end up paying your child support obligation twice. Unless you have a signed opt order from a judge, do not ever pay child support directly!
If you have already been making direct payments, all is not lost. Particularly if the payee is cooperative, or if you have kept a good paper trail of receipts, credits may sometimes be retroactively attributed to your account. However, this may not compensate you from all the damage that has accrued as a result of the arrearages. Credit reporting, attorney’s fees to have property liens removed, overdraft fees from bank liens, etc. None of these will be recompensated, so it is better to just pay through the system in the first place.
If you are facing a backlog of damages as a result of direct payments, our offices can help get your payments credited. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.
Have you received a Open Intox Charge while Tailgating in Ann Arbor, Michigan?
The tailgating season is in full force, and the University of Michigan is one of the best places to kick back and prepare to watch the game on TV or in person. Whether you are a student, an alumni, or an avid spectator it is always fun to put something on the grill, wear your jersey, and usually indulge in a few adult beverages while hanging out with your friends on State Street. Michigan rivalry games especially, Michigan State and Ohio State home games in particular, seem to result in a rash of open intoxication tickets due to overindulgence during the festivities. Most people think they are out of the woods for alcohol crimes at football games once they are over the age of 21. However, even adults of legal drinking age can be cited for open intoxication. Many treat this ticket as no big deal, but it is in fact a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanors of this nature can carry a penalty of up to 90 days in jail, a term of probation, fines, as well as court costs and fees. Further, the cases are usually open and shut cases if you were drinking public you are guilty and stand no chance of mitigating damages on your own. Through our practice though, we have been able to get many of these open intoxication charges reduced to civil infractions, or even dismissed. The difference between having a misdemeanor on your record, versus a civil infraction is a big one. A misdemeanor follows you for the rest of your life. You will have to check that you have been convicted of a crime on job applications. While a minor open intox charge might not seem like a big deal once you explain it to a potential employer, many people never get that chance since their applications are summarily dismissed. Hiring a lawyer at this time can save you a lot more trouble down the line.
So if you have received a Open Intox Charge while Tailgating in Ann Arbor, Michigan, let us help you. For more information and/or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
In 2003 there were 340 deaths related to drinking and driving. The legislature acted to lower the BAC threshold for drinking and driving from .10 to .08. By 2011, drinking and driving related deaths had dropped to 253. The law lowering the limit was originally temporary. It would have reverted back to .10 on October 1st. The Senate unanimously voted to retain the .08 threshold. This was not entirely unexpected based on the relatively recent passage of the “Superdrunk” law. It seems the Michigan legislature aims to take a hard line with respect to drinking and driving offenses across the board. If you or someone you know is charged with a drinking and driving offense, it could have serious repercussions with respect to driving privileges and your criminal record. An experienced attorney can minimize this effect.
Late last month, a 47 year old man who had been drinking decided he had some pressing errands that couldn’t wait for him to sober up. Whether a lawnmower is Mr. Walton’s vehicle of choice, or he was trying to avoid drinking and driving is unknown, but he fired up his lawnmower to head to the store. Police spotted the lawn mower parked at a local store, observed him exiting and begin to drive it. Upon determining Mr. Walton was intoxicated the police pulled him over and he was promptly arrested for felony drinking and driving. As the original article notes “Michigan law doesn’t care whether it’s a lawn mower or a Lamborghini, if you drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated” you are subject to arrest for drinking and driving. Pursuant to Michigan law, any vehicle with a motor is covered. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drinking and driving offense of ANY kind contact Garmo &Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.
Wayne County extended a program through the end of May whereby individuals who have a bench warrant out against them for nonsupport. The purpose of the program is that Wayne County had limited resources to pursue these individuals, and by paying 1% of the amount due, of $250 whichever is greater, there could be a fast influx of cash while releasing bench warrants. There is over 800 million dollars outstanding in child support in Wayne County. Approximately 15 people per day in May took advantage of the program. What should you do though if you have missed this program? Don’t despair, you will need to be arraigned on the bench warrant. An experienced attorney though can work to minimize the damages. While child support amounts may not be modified retroactively, if a material change in circumstances has resulted the arrearages, we may be able to get the amount of child support you pay adjusted.
Does this situation sound familiar? Your mid-twenties son or daughter currently lives in your basement. Or this one? You are in your mid-twenties and have had to approach your parents to move back home? This situation is becoming more and more common, and recent census data shows that there are 6 million young adults in this situation (meaning there are also 6 million parents wondering when their kids might finally leave the nest as well). It might seem like kids these days are just lazy, but in reality this is an example of national policy having a trickle-down effect. The vast amount of student loan debt seems to be impacting modern family structure. It is also preventing young people from making big ticket purchases such as a home or a new car. Americans between age 25 and 34 made up on 27% of home buyers in 2011, which is the smallest percentage in the last decade per the National Association of Realtors. Further, if you think about it, that is prime age for people to be buying a house so it should conceivably be the highest group.
For aggressive Debt Restructuring ideas and legal representation concerning all Debt Collection matters or to retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
In early April a series of changes to Michigan Arson law took effect. Prompted by a perceived increase in arson,and by a lack of awareness that arson is a violent crime rather than a mere property crime, the new set of laws provides for stricter penalties, and more prosecutorial discretion.
The sentence was raised to a term of years or life for the following offenses:
- First degree arson. This newly created category includes any arson that results in physical injury and any arson of a multi-unit dwelling even when no injury results.
- Arson of an insured dwelling with fraudulent intent.
- Maliciously setting fire to mines, any material in an underground mine or a structure over a mine shaft.
Fines are now available penalties, where previously only prison terms applied. A person may be fined up to $20,000.00 for first degree fraud arson.
Arson crimes at common law included only the malicious burning of the dwelling of another. Many states have made dramatic modernizing changes eliminating the dwelling of another requirement, or changing the intent requirement. The changes are meant to bring Michigan in line with stricter federal arson punishments which carry a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison. Law enforcement hopes that higher penalties will serve as a deterrent.
Michigan has a strong gambling economy, especially in Metro Detroit. With so many casinos, come gambling problems including addiction. In order to combat this problem, the Michigan Gambling Control Board maintains a list of Disassociated Persons pursuant to MCL 432.225, which reads:
(1) The board shall create a list of disassociated persons. The board shall, with the assistance of casino licensees, inform each patron of the list of disassociated persons and explain how the patron may add his or her name to the list.
(2) The board may add an individual’s name to the list of disassociated persons if the individual has notified the board in writing of his or her pledge not to visit a casino in this state by filing an application for placement on the list of disassociated persons with the board.
(3) The board shall create and make available an application for placement on the list of disassociated persons. The application shall include all of the following information about the individual who is applying:
(a) Full name and all aliases
(b) Physical description including height, weight, hair and eye color, skin color, and any other noticeable physical characteristics.
(d) Current home and work addresses and phone numbers.
(e) Social security number.
(f) Date of birth.
(g) Statement that the individual believes he or she is a problem gambler and is seeking treatment.
(h) A photograph suitable for the board and casino licensees to use to identify the individual.
(i) Other information that the board considers necessary.
(4) An individual s name shall be placed on the list of disassociated persons after all of the following have occurred:
(a) The individual has submitted an application to be placed on the list of disassociated persons to the Michigan gaming control board.
(b) The application has been verified by a representative of the board.
(c) The individual has signed an affidavit in which he or she affirms that he or she wishes to be placed on the list of disassociated persons and authorizing the board to release the contents of his or her application to all casino licensees in this state
(d) The individual signs a form releasing the state of Michigan, the board, and the casino licensees from any injury the individual suffers as a consequence of placing his or her name on the list of disassociated persons.
(e) The individual signs a form stating that he or she understands and authorizes all of the following:
(i) That a criminal complaint for trespassing will be filed against him or her if he or she is found on the premises of a casino in this state and he or she will be immediately removed from the casino premises.
(ii) That if he or she enters a casino and wins any money, the board will confiscate the winnings.
(5) An individual who has his or her name placed on the list of disassociated persons shall remain on the list for the remainder of his or her life.
(6) After an application has been submitted to the board, the chairperson of the board shall file a notice of placement on the list of disassociated persons with the board at the next closed session. Information contained in an application under subsection (4) is exempt from disclosure under section 4c of this act and is not open for public inspection. The information shall be disclosed to the board, each casino licensee in this state, the department of attorney general, and the department of state police.
(7) The list of disassociated persons shall be provided to each casino licensee, the department of attorney general, and the department of state police.
(8) Each casino licensee in this state shall submit to the board a plan for disseminating the information contained in the applications for placement on the list of disassociated persons. The board shall approve the plan. The plan shall be designed to safeguard the confidentiality of the information but shall include dissemination to all of the following:
(a) The general casino manager or the managerial employee who has responsibility over the entire casino operations.
(b) All security and surveillance personnel.
(c) The department of state police.
(9) A casino licensee shall not extend credit, offer check cashing privileges, offer coupons, market its services, or send advertisements to, or otherwise solicit the patronage of, those persons whose names are on the list of disassociated persons.
(10) The casino licensee shall keep a computer record of each individual whose name is on the list of disassociated persons. If a casino licensee identifies a person on the premises of a casino, the licensee shall immediately notify the board, a representative of the board, or a representative of the department of state police who is on the premises of the casino. After the licensee confirms that the individual has filed an affidavit under this section, the licensee shall do all of the following:
(a) Immediately remove the individual from the casino premises.
(b) Report the incident to the prosecutor for the county in which the casino is located.
(11) A casino licensee who violates this act is subject to disciplinary action by the board.
(12) The board shall promulgate rules to implement and administer this act.
(13) An individual who has placed his or her name on the list of disassociated persons who enters a casino in this state is guilty of criminal trespassing punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
(14) This act does not create any right or cause of action on behalf of the individual whose name is placed on the list of disassociated persons against the state of Michigan, the board, or a casino licensee.
(15) Any winnings collected by the board under this act shall be deposited into the compulsive gaming prevention fund.
As you can see, individuals who have a compulsive gambling problem can opt onto the list and will be prohibited from entering a Detroit Casino.
If the individual subsequently enters the casino they are guilty of misdemeanor trespassing and any winnings will be forfeited to the board to fight compulsive gambling. Once you are on the list, it is permanent. If you or someone you know has been charged with disassociated persons, it is critical to retain an experienced attorney ASAP.
We can work to protect your rights so this misdemeanor doesn’t become a bigger deal than it has to be. To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Brian F. Garmo has been selected to the 2013 Michigan Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.
Have you been thinking about “walking away” from your home? Many people, especially those who bought between 2004 and 2006 at the top of the market, now find that even with the dust settling on the housing market, they still owe more on their home then it is worth. This is called being “underwater” on your home. In some circumstances it can make good financial sense to walk away from the home. This means to just take the negative credit reporting of a foreclosure on your record, and let the house go into foreclosure. Especially where only one of two spouses has their name on the mortgage, and no one is too emotionally invested in the house this type of “strategic exit” can make a lot of financial sense for everyone involved. Everyone that is, except for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These government corporations lose out big every time a family walks away from a house secured by a note they hold. As more and more people recognize the value of walking away, they face a trend of loss. As such, the two have come together to offer a program to decentivize walking away from a property.
This program allows a homeowner to offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure. This program applies to homeowners who are current, and unlike many previous systems that required a homeowner to be in default. The homeowner gets to leave the property with limited liability, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac avoid the cost of foreclosing. The homeowner will release all rights to the property. One big advantage to the homeowner is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac waive any rights to pursue you on a deficiency. Generally if you are foreclosed on and the bank makes less then you owed them re-selling the house, the mortgage holder can pursue you for the remaining amount you owed them, which is called a deficiency. The deficiency is often thousands of dollars and the lender can pursue you for up to six years in Michigan. By taking advantage of the new program, effective March 1, 2013 you can avoid all of the hassle.