Now Accepting New Clients!

FAMILY LAW 32: Trial court committed error in failing to address whether there was an established custodial environment.

The parties were not married when the minor child was born in September 2017. Plaintiff filed a paternity complaint and subsequently signed an affidavit of parentage. Plaintiff also filed a motion requesting joint legal and physical custody in addition to parenting time. The parties signed a temporary consent order that gave defendant physical custody of the child and awarded plaintiff a parenting-time schedule.

At a pretrial hearing, the parties stipulated to joint legal custody, and the trial court concluded that only parenting time was at issue.

At the evidentiary hearing, plaintiff sought an increased parenting-time schedule, describing his ideal parenting-time schedule as all day, three days per week, and one overnight. Plaintiff’s proposed schedule depended on his ability to bring the child to the daycare facility where he worked. Plaintiff maintained that he would be able to watch his own child while also caring for the other children at the daycare facility. The owner of the daycare facility confirmed plaintiff’s testimony about this arrangement. The trial court was skeptical that plaintiff would be able to care for the other children while watching his own child and refused to grant plaintiff the parenting-time schedule he requested. Instead, after hearing testimony about both parties’ work schedules and childcare arrangements, in addition to testimony about plaintiff’s parenting skills and the parties’ co-parenting abilities, the trial court determined that plaintiff should have parenting time for four hours on three weekday evenings and for a six-hour block of time on Sunday afternoons.

The final order governing custody and parenting time also granted the parties joint legal custody and defendant primary physical custody.

On appeal, plaintiff argues that the trial court failed to make any findings regarding (1) the child’s established custodial environment, (2) the child’s best interests regarding the grant of primary physical custody to defendant, (3) the child’s best interests with respect to parenting time, and (4) the child’s best interests pertaining to the parties’ dispute over daycare.

The appeals court agreed that the trial court failed to articulate its findings about the child’s established custodial environment and the child’s best interests related to physical custody and parenting time but disagreed that the trial court was required to make separate best-interest findings about which daycare the child attended.

A trial court is required to determine whether there is an established custodial environment with one or both parents before making any custody determination. Similarly, the trial court is required to make a finding about the child’s established custodial environment before ordering parenting time. This determination is mandatory because the burden of proof with respect to the child’s best interests depends on whether an established custodial environment exists.

Here, the trial court committed clear legal error in failing to address whether there was an established custodial environment.

If you are going through a divorce or are separating from the mother or father of your children, it is important to protect your custodial rights.

Our family law attorneys at Aldrich Legal Services have helped countless family law clients across southeast Michigan, including in Wayne, Washtenaw and Oakland counties. Contact us at our law firm and we can help protect your custodial rights.

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