Now Accepting New Clients!

FAMILY LAW 31: Custody decisions require all best interest factors, but parenting time decisions only contested issues.

Following their divorce in 2013, the parties were awarded joint legal and physical custody of their minor children, with defendant having primary parenting time. In 2017, defendant and her new husband moved from Pinckney to Morrice and enrolled the children in the Morrice School District without consulting plaintiff or obtaining his consent.

The parties thereafter filed competing motions to determine which school district the children should attend, and plaintiff also sought sole custody of the children due to defendant’s refusal to cooperate with arrangements for plaintiff’s makeup parenting time, as well as alleged conduct by defendant to alienate the children against plaintiff.

On November 30, 2017, the trial court found that the children should remain in the Pinckney School District. The trial court issued a temporary order giving plaintiff primary parenting time with the children until defendant moved back to the Pinckney area, which she indicated that she planned to do. However, after defendant decided not to sell her Morrice home, the trial court held a custody hearing to determine whether its prior custody order should be changed.

Following the hearing, the trial court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody of the children, and modified the parenting time arrangement so that primary parenting time would be with plaintiff, with defendant receiving parenting time on Wednesday evenings, alternating weekends, and shared holidays and summer vacations.

Defendant now challenges the trial court’s decisions to award plaintiff sole legal custody of the children, and to modify the parenting time arrangement.

Evidence that one parent has been the primary caregiver does not preclude a finding that an established custodial environment exists with the other parent. This Court has clearly recognized that an established custodial environment can exist with both parents in their respective households.

The trial court found that defendant had engaged in misconduct that was designed to alienate the children from plaintiff.

With respect to the trial court’s November 2017 parenting time decision, defendant maintains that the trial court did not consider either the best interest factors under MCL 722.23 or the factors in MCL 722.27a(7).

Custody decisions require findings under all the best interest factors, but parenting time decisions may be made with findings on only the contested issues. Moreover, defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by temporarily changing the parenting time schedule is undercut by the fact that she had indicated to the trial court at the hearing that she planned to move back to Pinckney before the start of the second school semester, and the trial court’s indication that, if defendant did so, it would revisit its decision.

In this case, the evidence clearly supports the trial court’s finding that the parties, and defendant, were unable to effectively communicate or agree on the needs and best interests of their children. Defendant moved herself and the children to Morrice and enrolled the children in Morrice schools without informing plaintiff or seeking his consent. The trial court’s finding that joint custody was not feasible is not against the great weight of the evidence.

If the divorce or separation process does not turn out like you thought it would, you may not have the custody, visitation or child support you deserve. Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced family law and divorce attorney who will be by your side every step of the way.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

Three reasons to put a power of attorney in place

Originally posted on 11/08/2016 While no one wants to think of the unfortunate possibility of being incapacitated or of a time when we can't handle our own affairs, this circumstance is a real possibility. If something happens and this...

How to approach parents about estate planning

Originally posted on 12/09/2016 Family forms a strong foundation for many people's first and most intimate community. It is important to strengthen these first relationships so even uncommon questions become natural. For those...

PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

Originally posted on 04/12/2017 If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

Originally posted on 05/28/2017 When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another...

Understanding how the Miranda warning works

Originally posted on 11/25/2016 Michigan residents who have seen television police shows or movies involving law enforcement have no doubt watched many dramatic scenes with officers quoting something to the effect of, "You have the...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000