Fred and Mary had deeded their cottage on Houghton Lake to their three children as a way to pass along the property when it became too expensive to maintain as they entered retirement. But use of a deed to convey the cottage and lakefront to three people and their heirs became a source of friction -- the exact opposite of the family unity that Fred and Mary had hoped to create. (Link prior blog here.)
Their children Charlie, Nancy and Paul were enthusiastic at first about receiving a valuable recreation property for no initial cost, but they began to bicker about who would use the cottage during the prime summer season, how costs were divvied up, and even the cleanliness of premises after visits.
As they were raising their three children, Fred and Mary had managed to scrape together enough to buy a cottage on Houghton Lake and use it regularly for summer vacations.
The family thoroughly enjoyed the property and decorated the cottage with mementos of all the “firsts” that happened there: first swim without floaties, first fish caught by all three kids, first teenage party and cookout.
It is becoming increasingly common in the United States for babies to be born to unwed couples - a little more than 40 percent of all births in this country were to unmarried mothers in 2014, compared with less than 20 percent in 1980.
That is a sobering statistic for single mothers because studies show they face greater economic challenges than married mothers. And both parents face significant legal challenges as well, largely due to a number of misconceptions about the birth certificate, custody and parenting time.
For Harry and Sally, children entering adulthood was another parenthood milestone. They gradually accepted the need to talk with their children as full-fledged adults, particularly regarding family matters that could impact the children’s lives.
Although uncomfortable, those discussions focused on decisions that would have to be made if Harry and Sally became disabled or died.