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Domestic Relations

LSP 240

Domestic Relations

LSP 240

Course Description

Prerequisite: ENG 111 ( OAT 151) with a minimum grade of "C", and enrollment in Legal Support Professional program or permission of instructor. Studies the theoretical and practical aspects of family law with an emphasis on Michigan family law including dissolution of marriage, child custody, support, property settlements, judgments and the role of the Friend of the Court. Presents basic techniques in obtaining facts from clients in order to prepare and draft complaints, answers, financial affidavits and verified statements. (30-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Demonstrate an introductory knowledge of the historical development of Domestic Relations law.

Objectives:

  • Identify major changes in Domestic Relations law.
  • Identify societal shifts that drive the changes.
  • Explain pros and cons of changes in Domestic Relations law.

Demonstrate a working knowledge of the jurisdiction of the Michigan Probate Court/Family Court in regards to neglected and abused children.

Objectives:

  • Define "neglect".
  • Differentiate between "culpable neglect" and "non-culpable neglect".
  • Explain the 365-day time line in neglect proceedings.
  • Explain "termination of parental rights".
  • Discuss and describe circumstances which justify a court terminating a person's parental rights.
  • Recognize the special circumstance of parent/clients.
  • Recognize the special circumstance of child/clients.
  • Explain the relationship between this subject and other topics covered.

Demonstrate a working knowledge of Michigan's Domestic Violence laws.

Objectives:

  • Define "domestic violence".
  • Explain how domestic violence impacts a client's interests.
  • Explain the need for client referral to specialists.
  • Explain the procedure for obtaining Personal Protection Orders.

Demonstrate a working knowledge of the responsibilities of a legal support professional in a Domestic Relations practice.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the diversity of knowledge required of a DR practitioner.
  • Identify the limits of the duties and responsibilities of the legal support professional.
  • Define the concept of the Domestic Relations "team".
  • Identify "who is the client?"
  • Discuss and describe possible conflicts of interest in domestic situations.
  • Differentiate between professional listening and personal sympathy.
  • Identify problem clients.
  • Describe and define proper boundaries between client and legal support professional.

Demonstrate an ability to identify the requirements of a valid antenuptial agreement.

Objectives:

  • Identify marriage as a contract.
  • Differentiate between express and implied contracts.
  • Explain the primacy of full financial disclosure.
  • Describe the concept of "palimony".
  • Identify the requirements of an enforceable antenuptial agreement in Michigan.
  • Describe circumstances that would invalidate an otherwise valid contract.

Demonstrate an introductory knowledge of the law of marriage.

Objectives:

  • Identify marriage as a contract.
  • Explain the requirements of a basic, enforceable contract.
  • Identify the parties involved in a marriage.
  • Explain the concepts of consent and capacity to marry.
  • Discuss the State's interest in regulating marriage.
  • Differentiate between cohabitation and marriage and explain the rights and responsibilities of the parties in both relationships.
  • Define consanguinity and affinity.
  • Identify who one may not marry under law.
  • Define annulment and "void vs. voidable" marriages.
  • Discuss and describe concepts of full faith and credit, state's police power, and common law marriage.

Demonstrate the ability to identify domestic relations issues.

Objectives:

  • Describe equitable doctrines and maxims.
  • Differentiate between equal distribution and equitable distribution.
  • Differentiate between a community property system and a common law system.
  • Identify that fault is a factor considered in property division.
  • Describe behavior that would impact property division.
  • Discuss and define marital property and separate property.
  • Explain when separate property is most likely to be distributed to a spouse.
  • Describe factors commonly used in making distributions.
  • Explain the significance of prenuptial agreements in divorce distribution.
  • Define a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
  • Explain if and when professional degrees become marital property.
  • Explain the significance of debt distribution.

Demonstrate a working knowledge of the law and circumstances of spousal support (alimony).

Objectives:

  • Explain the factors considered by a court in determining the appropriateness of spousal support.
  • Define and differentiate between traditional alimony and rehabilitative alimony.
  • Define alimony in gross.
  • Explain the societal changes which have affected the awarding of alimony.
  • Discuss the significance of case law in the area of alimony.
  • Describe the circumstances under which the obligation of alimony is discharged.
  • Describe the circumstances supporting the modification of alimony.

Explain the factors considered by Michigan courts in awarding and enforcing custody and visitation.

Objectives:

  • Define and describe the factors required by law for consideration of custody.
  • Define legal custody and physical custody.
  • Differentiate between legal custody and physical custody.
  • Explain joint legal custody.
  • Explain the impact of the UCCJA on custody determinations.
  • Differentiate between the standards for awarding and modifying custody.
  • Explain the concept of parental kidnapping.
  • Explain the concept to third party standing to assert custody and grandparent visitation.
  • Define "best interests of the child".
  • Define "established custodial environment".

Calculate a child support figure from information provided by clients.

Objectives:

  • Identify what assets may be considered in determining child support.
  • Discuss the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual to determine child support.
  • Explain the basis for modification of child support obligations.
  • Explain the mechanisms for child support enforcement.
  • Describe the interaction between the federal government and local jurisdictions in the area of public assistance and child support.
  • List the requirements of any child support order.
  • Define imputation of income.
  • Define Income Withholding Order (IWO).
  • Demonstrate understanding of what is and is not income for purposes of the child support calculation.

Demonstrate a working knowledge of Michigan Law regarding issues of legitimacy.

Objectives:

  • Explain the marital presumption of paternity.
  • Explain the historical background of bastardy.
  • Define "child born out of wedlock".
  • Explain the standing of putative fathers in establishing paternity.
  • Explain the use of forensic testing to establish or disestablish paternity.
  • Define "equitable parenthood".