Hogwash Volume 30

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October 2014
Welcome to Hogwash!

 

Rosi and Gardner

 

If this is the first edition of Hogwash! you’ve received it’s because someone you know thought that you would like to receive it and perhaps pass it on to a friend.   

 

If you enjoy this E-newsletter and know others who you think would like to be on our list or receive a copy by mail, please let us know at info@rosigardner.com   

 

The highest compliment we can receive is a referral from a friend.   Although we’ve been in business together for more than twelve years, have more than 50 years of combined legal experience experience, we are never too busy to help those you refer to us: your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Same-Sex Marriage… and Divorce

 

October is LGBT History Month, celebrated in the U.S. since 1994. The Supreme Court of the United States inadvertently stoked this year’s celebration when, earlier this month, it declined an opportunity to rule on the issue of same-sex marriage.  


Specifically, the Supreme Court chose not to review appeals from five states that had their bans on same-sex marriage wiped off by lower courts. As a result, the lower courts’ decisions striking down these marriage bans will not only stand but also proliferate, leading to same-sex marriage being legal in an estimated 30 states. While the Supreme Court will probably have another opportunity to rule on this issue in the future, that has not stopped celebrations and marriages from being held throughout the country, including in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

Meanwhile, Michigan still does not recognize same-sex unions although Michigan’s ban was struck down by a lower court as long as an appeal is pending. And although it would be relatively easy for a same-sex couple to travel to and get married in one of these neighboring states, getting divorced is a much more complicated matter. Because there is no right to same-sex marriage in Michigan, there is also no such thing as a same-sex divorce under Michigan law.   

Issues that face married same-sex couples when a split occurs include:

  • The split of property owned together.
  • Property that is in one spouse’s name only, but where both contributed to acquiring and maintaining it.
  • The division of accumulated debt.

And despite their physical proximity, a quick trip to your favorite Indiana or Wisconsin courthouse will not help, either. Like Michigan, many states require that, to file for divorce, at least one spouse must be a resident of that state for 180 days or more. That means a same-sex couple (or at least one of the two) would have to pack up and move to a state that recognizes same-sex unions, live there for the requisite amount of time, and only then file for divorce. Most people would not find it convenient to leave home, career, family, and friends behind… just to have the right to get a divorce.      

 

One practical solution for same-sex couples in Michigan who would like to call it quits but cannot get divorced is a separation contract. Similar to a post-nuptial or property settlement agreement, the contract can cover all the property-related issues that arise in the context of divorce, including division of assets and debts, spousal support, and so on. Although such a contract does not dissolve the marriage, it does allow the couple to separate their finances, and preemptively resolves all property issues that could come up once one of the spouses is eventually able to file for divorce—which appears to be only a matter of time. 

 

The law surrounding same-sex marriage and divorce continues to emerge. If you are in a same-sex relationship or know someone who is and have questions regarding same-sex unions or separations, Rosi & Gardner can help.

 

Another approach, to address some issues that would otherwise be handled in a divorce, is the economic partnership model. When a partnership, which was formed for the purpose of accumulating assets, dissolves, both partners are entitled to an accounting under Michigan law. That accounting would, as much as possible, itemize and allocate all contributions (of capital, labor, etc.) to the partnership, to arrive at a fair division of the “profits.” The use of this approach by heterosexual couples has been frowned upon by Michigan courts, usually because the Court has said that couples who have chosen not to “tie the knot,” should not receive the benefits of marriage. There is little to no case law interpreting its application to a gay or lesbian couple who had, as an element of their partnership, the accumulation of assets and who did not, under Michigan law, have the option to marry.

Issue: 30         
In This Issue
Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce?
The State of the Law and the Law of the State of Michigan
Can You Believe It?
Grouches Unite!
Ciao!
Karen’s Home Cooking

The State of the Law and the Law of the State of Michigan   

    

Members of the Michigan LGBT community and legal scholars are awaiting the results of the a ruling and opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati about the legality of same-sex marriage in the state – an appeal that was filed after a ban on same sex marriage was struck down by a lower court.

 

In Missouri the state Supreme Court just issued a decision holding that the out-of-state marriage of same-sex couples, if performed in a state that recognizes that marriage as valid, will be recognized in Missouri. What we don’t know is what “recognizes” means. Time will tell if a same-sex couple whose marriage was solemnized in another state can get divorced in Missouri.

 

Could that be true for Michigan same-sex couples? Not at present. Michigan does not currently recognize the out-of-state marriage of a same-sex couple, even if that couple had a valid marriage license. The problems created by this lack of recognition are discussed separately in this newsletter.

 

While we await the decision of Sixth Circuit, there are some legal tools to address some of the problems caused by Michigan’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage which are detailed in this newsletter. They are less than perfect, and each has its limitations. Within the state, they do not sever the bonds of matrimony. But for some couples’ situations, one or more of them might address a critical issue.

Can You Believe It?

 

The nameless, faceless gurus who have taken it upon themselves to anoint months with a National title have declared that October – other than being the time of nature’s beauty with the every changing colors of autumn around every corner – as National Sarcastic Month.    

 

Is it because once again we are heading into an election cycle?   After all, who can truly argue with the mantra “If you can’t trust political candidates to always speak the truth, not only about themselves but also their opponents, who can you trust?” Or am I being sarcastic?

 

If so, why limit the mantle to October? After all, similar questions can be raised throughout the year. If you can’t trust your (INSERT YOUR CHOICE HERE – e.g. newspapers, talk show hosts, teenage children and government) who can you trust? That such questions are timeless, and not limited to only October is reinforced by what we see and hear on the TV, the radio, and the printed media most every day.

 

Sarcasm, as defined in Wikipedia (and for those so interested, a look there is encouraged) comes from the Greek word sarkasmos derived from an earlier word meaning “to tear flesh, bite the lip in rage, sneer.” The content of sarcastic statements, while commonly used to put down others, may also be a useful tool to release personal frustration about matters beyond ones control. Here in Traverse City, one may ask, wasn’t it a wonderful summer this year? With the cold weather we did not have to worry too much about sunburn. Also, we did not have to worry that our swimming attire was overly used?

 

With the ever changing use of sarcasm in slang, a sarcastic comment may be consist of only few words. For example, when responding to an outrageous statement, begin with “With the greatest respect…” Or, after receiving a put down, one may respond “Thanks for your help,  

 

Now, in some circumstances you have to know current slang!

  • “Cool” now means “This is terrible.”
  • “Obviously” now means “This cannot be true,” and
  • “I have had a great time” means “I don t want to ever see you again.”

 

So, why limit Sarcasm to only October? We at Hogwash! welcome the use of sarcasm year round, and we hope, with all due respect, that you, our faithful readers agree. 

Grouches Unite!

 

What do Grumpy the Dwarf, Felix Unger, Archie Bunker and Mr. Filch have in common? They can all be celebrated on October 15 of each year, National Grouch Day! But don’t “poke” your favorite grouch too hard . . . “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry . . . “

 

Rough, gruff, and plain spoken: Archie Bunker we miss you (sometimes!) The Wicked Witch of the West (and her alter ego character very early in the film, Miss Almira Gulch) are indelible etched into American culture as the personification of grouches – in this case with an evil edge. Walter Matthau gets a double gold star here: he starred on Broadway in one of the original casts of “The Odd Couple” (though he portrayed the less-grouchy Oscar Madison, which was later played on television by Jack Klugman) AND he was one of the title characters of the film “Grumpy Old Men.” Last, but not least, the famous, infamous, lovable and irascible . . . Oscar! He is green, grumpy, and gregarious. Everyone, from Main Street, to Wall Street, knows Oscar. What is it, though, about being green and grumpy . . . the Wicked Witch of the West, Oscar, and even the Incredible Hulk?

 

Can being a grouch be a good thing? Some say that being grouchy gives you a healthy infusion of skepticism, and makes it much less likely that you will be fooled, by a trickster or an advertiser. A study in the United Kingdom concluded that the more grumpy you are, the more likely you are to get things done, and the less likely you are to make mistakes. Hmmmm . . . a dose of the grouchies, anyone?

Ciao! 

 

What do Mario Batali, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rudy Giuliani have in common?  One answer is that they each have a reason to celebrate Italian American Heritage Month.

Set in October to coincide with the now-controversial Columbus Day, the month-long celebration recognizes the rich heritage of Americans of Italian descent and their contributions to our country.  Over 26 million Americans can trace their ancestry back to Italy, making Italian Americans one of the nation’s five largest ethnic groups.

The biggest wave of Italian immigration began in earnest in the 1880s and continued until after World War I. More than 4 million Italians arrived during this period, mostly Italian men who began their new lives as manual laborers in Eastern cities, working in mining and agriculture.  Gradually, Italian Americans moved from the lower rungs of the socio-economic status occupied by that first generation up to the national average by the 1970s, eventually becoming a consistent presence in contemporary pop culture like actor Robert de Niro, or musician Stefani Germanotta a.k.a. Lady GaGa, in sports where the NFL’s Super Bowl Trophy was renamed after famous Green Bay Packers coach Vincent Lombardi and in government where the also-controversial Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito sit on the bench, and so many other facets of modern America.

 

Oh, there is also the food. The folks at our editorial headquarters would be willing to bet that, out of pizza, lasagna, porchetta, cioppino, fettucini alfredo, eggplant parmesan, polenta, muffuletta, bruschetta, ciabatta, cannoli, and biscotti (perhaps with a shot of espresso in the end), HOGWASH! readers will walk away from this article with an idea of how to celebrate Italian American Heritage Month…
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Call us, mention “Hogwash!” and schedule a 30-minute, FREE, no-obligation consultation.
We will answer your questions about a trust, and see if it is right for you.
231-941-5878 

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Karen’s Home Cooking 

 

 

Food Memories!

 

I was recently driving across a country road in northern Michigan and I passed by an area where I used to dig up wild leeks with my great uncle. My grandmother grew up on a farm nearby and she once told us that the day after eating these wild leeks, her teacher would send her and her siblings home from school because they “reeked of leeks”. Thank you Grandma, I will forever love any version of onion, wild or tame. I also rediscovered the juniper berry which adds a unique, rustic (pine) flavor to dishes, perfect for smoky, grilled foods.

 

Here are a couple things we’ve eaten at our house recently. Be creative and enjoy!

 

Onion, Mushroom and Juniper Berry (Venison or Lamb or Beef) Burgers

 

1 large vidalia onion

tsp crushed juniper berries

lemon

olive oil

mushrooms

Blue cheese

green olives

4 burgers

 

Thickly slice the onions and fry in 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp olive oil and juice of half a lemon for about 15 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and fry for another ten minutes. Add sea salt, white pepper and crushed juniper berries. Top the cooked burgers with a little blue cheese, chopped green olives and a lot of the onion/mushroom mixture. Serve Dijon mustard on the side. There’s no need for a bun!

 

Spaghetti Squash and Pasta with Blackberry-Merlot Sauce

 

Roast the squash (poke holes in using a fork) for about an hour at 350 degrees, depending on the size of the squash. Let it cool, cut it in half, remove seeds and scrape out the squash.

 

Blackberry Sauce

 

1 cup fresh blackberries

1/3 cup water

2-3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp merlot (or whatever red wine you’ve got on hand, sweet or dry, you can adjust flavors)

tsp crushed juniper berries

Fresh Rosemary

 

Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree until smooth. Return to the pot and add more liquid , either wine or water, if the sauce becomes too thick. Add crushed juniper berries and black pepper. Adjust seasonings, sweetener to your taste.

 

Plating: Place squash on top of penne pasta, drizzle with blackberry sauce. Last, decorate the plate with fresh rosemary springs.

 

Serve this meal with fresh sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and chopped thyme, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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Rosi & Gardner, P.C.
735  S. Garfield Avenue
Suite 202
Traverse City, Michigan 49686
231-941-5878
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Philip R. Rosi

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Gary Allen Gardner
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