Category Archives:Family Law / Divorce

The Case of the Vanishing Assets: Embezzlement


Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly withholding assets for the purpose of theft. More specifically, embezzlement is financial fraud, an example of this would be a financial advisor who embezzle the funds of his investors. The act of embezzlement is normally a premeditated act that is methodically performed since the embezzler needs to cover their tracks. In order to remain undetected, embezzlers might take small sums throughout the years. While embezzlement can be seen as a clear-cut case, the act of embezzlement can be broken down.

Breaking Down the Crime

In the U.S., embezzlement is a statutory offense and the definition of the crime of embezzlement varies according to the given statue. The criminal elements of embezzlement can range from fraudulent to Lawful possession. Here is the breakdown of each element:

  • Fraudulence– This requires that the embezzler willfully, and without claim of right or mistake, converted the entrusted property to his or her own use.
  • Criminal Conversion– Embezzlement is a crime against ownership, such as voiding the right of the owner to control the disposition and use of the property entrusted to them. Criminal conversion requires substantial interference with the property rights of the owner.
  • Property– Embezzlement statues are written so that they do not limit the scope of the crime to conversions of personal property. The statues also include the conversion of tangible personal property, intangible personal property and choses in action. The exception is real property not being included, such as real estate or realty of any kind.
  • Of Another– The embezzler does not have to be a second or third party individual(s). A person can also embezzle their own property. Reasons might include to hiding money from the government for tax reasons or giving money to an ex during divorce proceedings.
  • Lawful Possession– A key element in an embezzlement case is that the embezzler had been in lawful possession of the property during the time of the fraudulent conversion. This helps differentiate the case from larceny, since larceny is if the thief merely had custody of the property.

Troy Embezzlement Lawyer

Entrusting your property to someone else should not mean that it gets stolen out from under you. If you have had your assets embezzled then it is time to hire a lawyer. At Garmo & Kiste, we have lawyers experienced in embezzlement cases to make sure you get the justice you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us at (248)398-7100.

Caught in a Compromising Position: Prostitution Laws in Michigan

What Constitutes Prostitution?

The practice of engaging in sexual relations in exchange for payment or some other means which benefits you, is illegal in the state of Michigan. The law prohibits both the practice and participation of the act. Which is why many who do practice it tend to do so in secret, but there are times when police catch wind of such activity and go undercover to catch individuals. Here is what you need to know were you caught in such a compromising position. 

Prostitution Laws

There are specific laws when it comes to prostitution. In Michigan, they include several that include those aiding and abetting prostitutes. Here are a few of them:

  • 750.448- A person of 16 years of age or older who accosts, solicits, or invites another individual in a public place, building, or vehicle to commit prostitution or a lewd act is a punishable crime.
  • 750.449- A person 16 years of age or older who receives or offers to admit a person into a place, structure, or vehicle for the purpose of prostitution can also be convicted of a crime.
  • 750.449a-A male person who engages or offers to engage a female person, that is not his partner or wife, for prostitution or a lewd act in exchange for payment, be it money or other compensation, can be convicted of a crime.
  • 750.450- A person 16 years of age or older who aids, assists, or abets another person to commit and act prohibited by the above mentioned laws is also subjected to punishment.

Repercussions of Engaging in Prostitution

A person convicted of violating these laws and are guilty of a misdemeanor are punishable by imprisonment a maximum of 93 days and/or a fine of $500.
A person 16 years of age or older, who also has 1 prior conviction, and is found guilty of a misdemeanor can be punished with imprisonment of 1 year and/or a fine of $1,000.
If you have 2 or more prior convictions, violating the above laws can be punished with up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine of $2,000. 

Detroit Prostitution Lawyer

If you are caught in violation of any of these laws, it would be in your best interest to hire legal representation. At Garmo & Kiste PLC, we are experienced in cases that involve violations of Michigan’s prostitution laws. Do not let your freedom go to chance, contact us at (248)398-7100 for a free consultation.

Michigan Child Custody Attorney

Michigan Child Custody Attorney

Michigan Child Custody Attorney

Our experienced family law attorneys can help you work through your divorce.

If you are a single parent of minor children you may be wondering what payments you could be required to make or could receive to provide for your children. Payments of this type that cover health care, child care and educational expenses are referred to as child support. Payment of child support is determined and ordered by Circuit Court and may be part of a divorce proceeding.
A person may receive child support if they are the parent or guardian of a minor that lives in the person’s home when one or both of the child’s parents do not live in that home, the child is financially dependent on that person, and a child support order has been issued by a court. There is a formal process you must undergo in order to receive a court order for child support. Once support is ordered, the individual required to pay must do so in a timely manner. An organization called Friend of the Court will enforce the child support order if an individual fails to pay. Friend of the Court may do this in a number of ways including income withholdings, tax refund interceptions, or by bringing an action for civil contempt of court.

If a court has ordered child support to be paid to you and the other parent is withholding these payments, contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC. We are experienced attorneys that have the resources to help you get the money you need to care for your family. For more information about divorce or child support or call Garmo & Kiste, PLC Michigan Child Custody Attorney s at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Holiday Parenting Time in Michigan

Holiday Parenting Time in Michigan

Holiday Parenting Time in Michigan

The holidays are approaching and this can be a very challenging time for families undergoing divorce, especially if there are minor children involved.   As parents going through a divorce, you should know that you can negotiate how the holiday time will be spent. A holiday schedule will ultimately be ordered by the court but it may take into account the arrangement the parties desire. You may choose to share holidays or split them evenly by assigning certain holidays to one parent on even years and the other on odd years.

The holidays can be an emotionally difficult time if you are undergoing a divorce.   One thing that may help is to try to plan events like dinners and present exchanges ahead of time. Take your schedule into account and plan ahead to ensure things run smoothly. If last-minute changes happen, try to be patient and flexible.

Additionally, consider reaching out to others for help when you’re working through a divorce during the holidays. Support from family and friends can help you focus on what the holidays are really about- enjoying the company of the people you care about.

If you have questions about holiday schedules or parenting time, call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. Our experienced family law attorneys / Holiday Parenting Time in Michigan can help you work through your divorce.

Family Law & Passport Cancellation

Child Support Passport Cancellation Child Support / Passport Cancellation :

The Friend of the Court has several major powers to enforce parenting time and payment of child support. These include license suspension, referral for felony non-support, booting your vehicle, property liens, credit reporting, etc. License suspension can include everything from recreational licenses such as hunting and fishing, to professional licenses such as a bar license or driver’s license. One such enforcement mechanism is the suspension of passports. The Friend of the Court can suspend a person’s passport once the payor is $2,500.00 in arrears. Once the passport denial request is in the system, it will not be released until the amount owed is zero.

In some circumstances, where there is a good reason, this cancellation may be lifted temporarily. Examples of circumstances which do not constitute good cause according to a recent publication in the Oakland County Bar Association Laches November Issue, include “a desire to attend a friend or relative’s destination wedding, a real estate training junket in the Caribbean even though the payor has stated for some time that they have not actually earned any income as a real estate agent, a honeymoon that is supposedly being paid for by the bride’s family, or to go on vacation because their significant other has a timeshare in Mexico….” The sole example given of a situation where good cause may actually exist is where international travel is necessary to secure a job which can be shown will be used to pay child support. However, in this scenario significant documentation will be required. The easier solution is to avoid getting to this point in the first place.

If you or someone you know is having an issue with Friend of the Court it is important to retain an experienced attorney to represent you. By opening up a dialogue with FOC, such enforcement measures can be avoided. If you cannot afford your child support or if circumstances have changed we can work to get your support obligation changed going forward.

Child Support Passport Cancellation? To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Direct Payments and Friend of the Court

Direct Payments and Friend of the CourtDirect 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.

Direct Payments and Friend of the Court? 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.


How Hard is it to get Onto Social Security Disability? SSI Program Size

How Hard is it to get Onto Social Security Disability? With all of the debate about cutting government programs to reduce the deficit, it is easily to fall into the trap of thinking that the Social Security Disability program is the largest now that it has ever been. While it may be true that children’s SSI benefit awards are at an all-time high, adult benefits peaked in the early 1990s. Shortly thereafter, the legislature passed legislation that made it more difficult for noncitizens to obtain SSI, and eliminated drug addiction and alcoholism from the listings as basis for finding a person disabled. This resulted in a large increase in denials, especially for SSI. Additionally, the legislature overturned a court ruling which allowed for more findings of disability in children. Further, legislation killed the individualized function test, and limited the applicability of mental disorders disability. This legislation had an intense impact on SSD and SSI cases, and levels of awards dropped significantly. The rates of approval been slowly recovering ever since.

Other policy factors impacting the level at which applications are granted have been changes in the listings, such as the elimination of obesity. Claims rose again when the retirement age was raised to 67, as many people in their early 60s who were eligible for disability had previously been taking retirement benefits instead. Prior to 1983 recognition of mental illnesses, the primary mental disability receiving benefits was mental retardation. Many of these policies had significant effect whether they were intended to or not. The one area where the SSA has attempted to create policy for the purpose of changing behavior though, has largely fallen flat.

The SSA has, since the 1960s, been focused on getting people back to work in order to increase successful exits from the program and limit re-entry. These have included trial work periods not affecting benefits, providing re-applicants a waiver on the Medicaid waiting period, and others. Unfortunately, this has largely not been successful. In my experience, most people on SSD or SSI would really just like to be healthy enough to get back to work. This would tend to imply that these programs are ineffective not because people are lazy, but because they do not meet the needs of disabled people. Perhaps they are not realistic solutions and may require for example, a more gradual wean off benefits or more workplace support. Not surprisingly, the economy and disability discrimination may also play a role here.

So what does this all mean for you? If you are thinking about applying, or your application has been recently denied upcoming policy changes could really affect your chances of being successful. The trend seems to be towards limiting the awards by legislation followed by ALJ’s expanding the definitions in small ways until awards rise to the level they come to the attention of Congress again.  This seems to reflect a tendency that I have noticed even in my own practice. Often claims don’t seem very strong on paper, which is why many initial applications get denied. However, then when clients come into our office it is clear their disability, which did not seem so severe on paper, has a major effect on their life. This is where having the benefit of an ALJ hearing comes in. We can work with you to present the most compelling argument why your application should be granted in a memo to the Judge. Then, we will see the Judge in person and have the opportunity to describe all the ways your disability prevents you from working. This is why, whenever possible, our office would rather wait and have an in person hearing with the ALJ than schedule an earlier video conference. The above research, and our record, supports this theory that it is much harder to turn down a claim once the Judge has met you than on paper.

How Hard is it to get onto Social Security Disability? Let us help you, to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Missed the Wayne County Child Support Amnesty Program? No problem, Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Missed Wayne County Child Support Amnesty

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.

Wanted for not paying child support? Missed the Wayne County Child Support Amnesty Program? We can help you, to retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100  for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Mom Who Left Children in the Car While Filling out Job Application May Face Charges in Rochester Hills

Child Endangerment Defense

A 35 year old Troy woman left her two children ages 1 and 5 in her vehicle in a parking lot as she went inside to fill out a job application.  From a shopping center located at Hamlin and Rochester Roads, observers called the police around 3:30 pm. When the police arrived the woman had just returned to her car, which had one window slightly open. She reported that the children had been asleep when she left them, although they were reportedly crying by the time she returned. Witnesses allege she was inside for more than twenty minutes. The children were taken to a local hospital where it was determined they were safe. They were released to their father’s custody. The potential case is under review by Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office who may issue charges, or may decline to prosecute. It is unclear if she would be charged with child endangerment, neglect, abuse, or another charge.

To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100  for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Wayne County’s Solutions Oriented Domestic Violence Prevention Court

PPOs & Domestic Violence Prevention Court

As part of a larger court of specialized courts such as the Drug Court, or Mental Health Court, Wayne County recently instituted the Wayne County’s Solutions Oriented Domestic Violence Prevention Court. On April 25th, 2011 it heard its first case.

Funded by federal grants, the Court is meant to address the larger problem of domestic violence within families through combining all cases involving the parties which will then be heard by one of three judges who are specially trained in issues of domestic violence.


Cases are selected for referral to the SODVPC at the time a Personal Protection Order petition is filed. If the filing clerk believes there is a high probability of fatality, or the abuse alleged is very severe, a representative will interview the Petitioner to further assess the probability of mortality. If it is considered probable, the Petitioner will be offered the opportunity to transfer the case to the SODVPC.

If it is transferred, all pending cases will be consolidated and heard by one of following Judges: Halloran, Elder, or Kelley. Other than that, the PPO matter will be handled in the same way as usual.

As a new court it is hard to know whether SODVPC will turn out to be advantageous or disadvantageous to a Defendant/PPO Respondent. On one hand, if your case is assigned to SODVPC it means it has been evaluated and found to be very severe. However this does not mean the allegations are true or not. If Petitioner’s claims are false, you stand just as good of a chance of being exonerated in SODVPC as any other court. Additionally, the Judge’s additional training may be to your advantage in rooting out the truth of what really happened.

Have a case involving the Wayne County’s Solutions Oriented Domestic Violence Prevention Court? To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100  for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.