August 14, 2008
Recent Decision of First Impression On Michigan Property and Child Support Law
In Walters v. Leech, __ N.W.2d __ (Mich. App. July 22, 2008), the court analyzed an interesting property law/tax law question involving whether a child support lien could be asserted against real property owned by the plaintiff and spouse as a tenancy by the entirety. The statute at issue provided:
The amount of past due support that accrues under a judgment as provided in [MCL 552.6032] or under the law of another state constitutes a lien in favor of the recipient of support against the real and personal property of a payer.
The question the court faced was whether property owned under a tenancy by the entirety -- which essentially presents an undivided interest by both spouses -- was "property of a payer." The court held it was not, basing its decision on in pari materia and under the presumption that legislatures know the common law when enacting statutes.
I'm guessing that this presents an enormous loophole in the ability to enforce child support liens. Interesting case.
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I'm trying to find 6th Cir or Michigan case law that provides that when a statute disallows or excludes a benefit (i.e.payment) to one class of persons but not to another class of persons, the rules of statutory constructions would require the court to find that the benefit was to be paid to the class of persons not otherwise excluded. Can you cite me to any case in the 6th Cir or Michigan? Thanks.
Posted by: joel | Sep 8, 2008 5:15:52 PM
Very interesting article. Keep up the good work!
Posted by: Property Investing | Oct 3, 2008 6:48:34 AM