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Cocaine use during pregnancy is evidence of neglect, therefore termination of mother's parental rights is proper

The trial court properly terminated the respondent-mother's parental rights to the child where the statutory grounds for termination were established by clear and convincing evidence and termination was in the child's best interests. It did not clearly err in finding that § (g) was established by clear and convincing evidence. Respondent failed to provide proper care or custody for the child by using cocaine during her pregnancy, which exposed him to a risk of harm and caused him to suffer severe withdrawal symptoms following his birth. "Prenatal drug use is evidence of neglect." The trial court did not clearly err in finding that she did not substantially comply with reunification services as ordered. Respondent failed to "obtain psychiatric and substance abuse evaluations to assess her needs, refused to cooperate with a life-skills worker, cooperated with a Families First worker but failed to benefit because she minimized her problems, failed to complete outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment, and continued to use drugs as shown by both positive drug screens and her admissions to a CPS worker." Respondent "made no effort to obtain a legal source of income and did not maintain stable, suitable housing." Her "last-minute attempt to participate in counseling was of little significance; she attended only one appointment, there was no evidence that she continued with treatment, and the therapist gave no prognosis for her recovery." A parent's "failure to participate in and benefit from a service plan is evidence that the parent will not be able to provide a child with proper care and custody." Thus, the trial court did not clearly err in finding that she was not reasonably likely to be able to provide proper care and custody within a reasonable time considering the child's age. It also did not clearly err in finding that § (j) was established by clear and convincing evidence. Respondent, who had "a long-term history of drug abuse, subjected the child to a risk of harm by using cocaine during her pregnancy. She minimized her drug problem, did not successfully complete inpatient or outpatient treatment, and continued to use drugs. She attended family visits while under the influence of substances and her condition was sometimes so bad that she could not be allowed to hold the child." The evidence showed that he was reasonably likely to be harmed if returned to her custody. Affirmed.

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Originally posted on 06/22/2018. When filing for divorce in Michigan, you may seek alimony, spousal support, from their spouse whenever they require financial aid. A judge may order your spouse to pay certain alimony. However, it depends...

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PROBATE 45: The court held that the probate court did not err by granting summary disposition for Plaintiff, or by denying Defendant’s request for an extension of the discovery period, adjournment of mediation, and issuance of subpoenas and by dismi

This case arises out of competing petitions for probate. On November 19, 2018, Defendant initiated this case by filing a petition for probate, attaching Decedent’s death certificate and purported last will and testament, dated March 9, 2007,...

DIVORCE 57: Holding that the trial court’s factual findings were not supported by the record evidence, and thus could not stand, the court reversed, vacated the portion of the Amended Default JOD ordering defendant to pay $3,325 to plaintiff, and re

Plaintiff first testified that she and defendant purchased the marital home in 1995. At the time the first default judgment of divorce was entered in September 2017, plaintiff had the home appraised. The value of the home was determined to be...

FAMILY LAW 68: The court held that the satisfaction of the statute relating to the termination of parental rights does not necessarily provide clear and convincing evidence in a parenting time dispute that a child will be harmed by reintroduction to

In a separate case, defendant’s parents filed a petition to terminate plaintiff’s parental rights and adopt RM on the ground that plaintiff had been absent from RM’s life for over three years. One month before the petition was...

FAMILY LAW 66: The court affirmed the trial court’s retroactive child support modification as to the second credit to which plaintiff-mother admitted at the referee hearing, and reversed and remanded as to the trial court’s equitable abatement of th

The parties have two children in common, and both children are now adults. The parties were never married, but plaintiff was granted custody and defendant was ordered to pay child support. After the youngest child turned eighteen, defendant sought a...

FAMILY LAW 65: The court held that because the ECE was not altered by the change of school districts, the referee properly applied the preponderance of the evidence standard when reviewing the best interest and parenting time factors.

BASIC FACTS The parties divorced in 2018. Their judgment of divorce provided that plaintiff would have primary physical custody and that the parties would have joint legal custody of the two minor children. The judgment of divorce stated that the...

FAMILY LAW 64: The court reversed the trial court’s order granting joint physical and legal custody of the parties’ children to defendant-father, concluding that the trial court improperly conflated his motion to change custody with plaintiff-mother

The parties divorced in 2013. The judgment of divorce granted mother sole physical and legal custody and ordered that the child’s domicile would remain in Michigan. In 2015, the trial court granted mother’s motion to change domicile,...

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