Now Accepting New Clients!

FAMILY LAW 56: The court held that the trial court erred by failing to consider up-to-date information before ordering the change of the child’s ECE.


The parties were involved in a romantic relationship when the minor child who is the subject of these proceedings was born on February 9, 2006. The parties did not live together and were never married. Approximately one year after the birth of the minor child, the parties ended their relationship and defendant and plaintiff both married other people. A prior court order established that plaintiff had sole legal and physical custody of the child and granted defendant “reasonable parenting time.” This case arose from defendant’s motion to change custody as a result of a Children’s Protective Services (CPS) investigation regarding plaintiff’s care and custody of the child. Following a preliminary hearing, the Family Division of the Allegan Circuit Court removed the child from plaintiff and placed the child in defendant’s care and custody. On December 15, 2017, defendant filed a motion to change custody and requested legal and physical custody of the minor child. The trial court granted defendant’s ex parte order pending the hearing on defendant’s motion to change custody. Following a series of hearings on the matter, the trial court granted the parties joint legal and physical custody of the child.  After remand, the trial court made factual findings and issued a new opinion and order changing its previous order of joint legal and physical custody to sole legal and physical custody in favor of defendant. The trial court based its decision on the evidence that existed in the record at the time of its previous ruling and did not seek further evidence from the parties. This appeal followed.


When reviewing a custody order, we review questions of law for clear legal error. We review a trial court’s factual findings in child custody cases to determine whether they were against the great weight of the evidence. A trial court’s factual findings are against the great weight of the evidence if the evidence clearly preponderates in the opposite direction.


Plaintiff argues that the trial court erred by failing to consider up-to-date information before ordering the change of the child’s established custodial environment. We agree. In Fletcher v Fletcher, 447 Mich 871, 889; 526 NW2d 889 (1994), our Supreme Court directed that, “on remand, the court should consider up-to-date information, including the child[‘s] current and reasonable preferences, as well as the fact that the child[ has] been living with [a party] during [an] appeal and any other changes in circumstances arising since the trial court’s original custody order.” Trial courts “may elicit testimony, interview children, and invoke other judicial resources to assure a thorough and careful evaluation of the child’s best interests.” In Ireland v Smith, 451 Mich 457, 468; 547 NW2d 686 (1996), our Supreme Court clarified its holding in Fletcher and instructed that the trial court “is to review the entire question of custody on remand” and “consider all the statutory factors and conduct whatever hearings or other proceedings are necessary to allow it to make an accurate decision concerning a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of [the child].” In this case, the record reflects that the trial court made its decision without soliciting up-to-date information from the parties or holding an evidentiary hearing to ascertain whether additional information existed that the trial court should have considered before making its child custody decision. The trial court erred by not seeking up-to-date information on remand and considering such information before making its child custody decision. The trial court failed to make a finding regarding the existence of a custodial environment or the best-interest factors based upon up-to-date information presented to the trial court, and the record lacks sufficient evidence properly admitted for this Court to make its own determination of this issue by de novo review. Therefore, we remand this matter once again so that the trial court may obtain and consider up-to-date information or changes that have occurred since the original custody order.


Aldrich Legal Services understands what a stressful time this is for you when you have custody issues.

Aldrich Legal Services represent parents throughout southeast Michigan with a wide range of family law related matters.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000


FAMILY LAW 53: The trial court erred by treating the parties’ GAL as an LGAL and denying the parties the right to question her at a hearing; however, the trial court did not err in requiring the parties to compensate the GAL for her services.

Plaintiff and Defendant were never married, but share a young son who was born in 2016. The parties have battled over custody, child support, and other parenting issues ever since. In the spring of 2019, the parties filed competing motions to modify...

The Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

Original Post: 1/11/2019 Often, burglary, robbery, and theft are used interchangeably even though there are distinct differences between all of them. Though, what all three do have in common is they may involve the unlawful taking of...

REAL ESTATE 59: Concluding that the one-year period contained in the parties’ home purchase agreement was not a statute of limitations, but rather akin to a statute of repose, and that it was plain and unambiguous, the court held that it barred plai

BACKGROUND On March 12, 2016, the parties entered into an agreement for the purchase of defendants’ home. The purchase agreement contained the following clause: TIME FOR LEGAL ACTION: Buyer and Seller agree that any legal action against...

CRIMINAL LAW 16: The trial court did not err in refusing to order a Daubert hearing as to the reliability of the DataMaster breathalyzer device as MCL 257.625a(6)(a) shows the Legislature has determined that the device’s results are valid and reliabl

UNDERLYING FACTS In the early afternoon of November 4, 2016, defendant was pulled over after an officer was dispatched for a possible drunk driver. The officer had defendant exit his vehicle and perform several field sobriety tests. Those tests...

FAMILY LAW 52: Defendant-mother was not entitled to relief on her claim the trial court did not comply with the requirements for a de novo hear, the trial court did not err in using the preponderance of the evidence standard, and its best interest f

PERTINENT FACTS In July 2017, plaintiff and defendant divorced by consent judgment. Under the judgment of divorce, the parties shared joint legal and physical custody of their three minor children. On September 24, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion...

Are you required to provide ID as a passenger?

Original Post: 05/14/2017 The preceding is for informational purposes only. Being stopped by the police is not usually a pleasant experience. Even with the most benign of infractions, the encounter can be adversarial. The idea of...

DIVORCE 45: Federal law preempts state law such that the parties’ consent judgment is unenforceable to the extent that it required defendant to reimburse plaintiff for the reduction in the amount payable to her due to his election to receive CRSC

BACKGROUND This case involves a dispute between former spouses who entered into a consent judgment of divorce (the consent judgment), which provided that defendant would pay plaintiff 50% of his military retirement benefits. Beyond that, the...

How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a DUI

No one wants to be arrested, and if you are, especially for the first time, you can be very confused. Being arrested for Drunk Driving, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) - formerly Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)...

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