Of Interest

IN FOCUS: Family Law January 2023


by Shelly Kester and Anthea Papista and Amy Spilman   |   Michigan Bar Journal


Ask a family lawyer for any good stories to share and you’ll likely be regaled with a tabloid-style tale of people behaving badly. Yet, behind every juicy anecdote lie complex problems across a variety of disciplines.

In compiling articles for this edition from the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section, we strove to provide a sampling of the disparate issues family law attorneys confront on a daily basis, many of which require familiarity with and competency in areas far removed from the traditional practice of law.

For example, unique issues are presented when domestic violence is involved. Katherine M. Sharkey’s article addresses ethical considerations when representing an accused or admitted batterer. Ryan M. Kelly’s feature on cryptocurrency issues that arise in family law cases underscores the imperative for family law attorneys to stay abreast of emerging trends; the advent and popularity of cryptocurrency exposes the inadequacy of traditional discovery tools vis-à-vis technological advances which defy easy understanding, forcing attorneys to use their creativity to address these challenges.

It is perhaps inevitable that in an area of law where uncertainty abounds regarding the most fundamental aspects of a client’s life, the quest to develop universal standards persists, a laudable but often elusive goal. Keela Johnson addresses the variety of approaches across Michigan’s 57 circuits to develop a standard parenting time schedule while balancing the need to consider the diversity inherent in family situations. Finally, Anne L. Argiroff and James W. Chryssikos provide an in-depth historical and contextual perspective on recent efforts to adopt the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act in Michigan.

The SBM Family Law Section’s mission is to provide support, education, information, and analysis for its members on issues related to family law and improve and advance both family law and the family court system. To accomplish this mission, the section engages in legislative and court-rule review and comment, files amicus briefs on important family law cases, works to improve the relations between its members and the public, increases public awareness of family law issues, promotes professionalism among members, and encourages continuing family law legal education. In service to its nearly 2,700 members, the section hosts meetings, seminars, public service programs, and webinars. It helps Michigan lawyers maintain their skills by sponsoring the Family Law Institute each fall and publishing the Family Law Journal.

The section is open to all State Bar of Michigan members. We invite you to become involved by joining one of the 16 committees which work to analyze and advance improvements to the law on a multitude of topics.

We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the dynamic and engaging practice of family law.