Of note in the Legislature: Divorce property divisions and COA filing fees

Statutory presumption for marital property splits proposed: Property acquired during a marriage, regardless of how the title is held, would be presumed to be marital property under HB 4672 and HB 4673.

The presumption could be rebutted by evidence to the contrary. The presumption would apply to real property and stocks.

HB 4673 also contains a list of factors courts must consider when untangling commingled marital and nonmarital assets, and another list of factors to determine how marital property should be divided.

The bills are currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

Bill would nix lower COA filing fees: Two statutory motion fees in the Court of Appeals would remain intact under HB 4731. The standard $100 motion fee and $200 fee for expedited appeals, see MCL 600.321, would have dropped to $75 and $150, respectively, on Oct. 1, 2012.

The bill is in the House Appropriations Committee. A hearing is set for June 22.

Mo Money Mo Problems: Growing economy leads to more divorces

Looking to diversify? Need a growing area of law to jump into? Try divorces.

In a romantic Valentine’s Day story, NPR reported that, as the economy improves, more people are getting divorced.

In a grim sign of the economic recovery, the divorce rate, which dipped during the recession, appears to be on the rebound.

Divorce is expensive, so when the economy tanked, a lot of unhappy couples decided it just wasn’t the time to split. Some held off when they couldn’t sell their home. Federal figures suggest the divorce rate fell about 7 percent between 2006 and 2009, and divorce lawyers across the country saw business dry up. But that’s changing.

“I would say that over the last six months, the activity in our firm has probably picked up by 20, 25 percent,” says Sandy Ain, a divorce lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Ain said business is so good that he can’t see all of the people who call him. (Yes, it’s a him.)

It seems divorces have been down in recent years. The reason is unknown but …

Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project says a lot of couples report that the recession actually strengthened their union.

Strengthened their union? Or living with someone you’ve grown to despise is cheaper than divorce and more legal than murder?

Still, money woes are notoriously tough on marriages, and Wilcox says the recession has hit lower-income Americans hardest.

You don’t say. (BTW, the National Marriage Project is not what you might think it is. It’s a University of Virginia study on the health of American marriages.)

In a survey released this week, Wilcox finds that married people without a college degree are twice as likely to say they are thinking about divorce.

Also: married people with a college degree are twice as likely to know what AshleyMadison.com is. (NSFW. Can’t link to it. Sry.)