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Father who failed to provide basic care for child during marriage to mother cannot prove established custodial environment with child

In light of the record and the trial court's findings, the court could not conclude that the trial court abused its discretion when it awarded plaintiff-Durbin (mother) sole custody of the child. Also, the trial court did not make any legal error as to its parenting time order, and it did not err when it denied defendant-Monday's (father) request for attorney fees. Monday argued the trial court erred by failing to find that the child had an ECE with both parents. He also argued the trial court erred when it concluded that the statutory best-interest factors favored Durbin and that she should be awarded sole custody, despite his request for joint custody. As to the trial court's determination that the child had an ECE with Durbin alone, the trial court "essentially found that Monday did not significantly participate in the child's care during the time at issue. On this record and given the child's age," the court could not conclude that the trial court's finding as to the child's custodial environment was against the great weight of the evidence. Monday failed to show that his relationship with the child was "marked by security, stability and permanence during the period at issue." Rather, the evidence showed that he was "in and out of the marital home throughout the child's young life," and had "not taken the lead in providing basic care for the child during the times that Durbin was working or sleeping." While he exercised parenting time as he was allotted under court orders after Durbin sued for divorce, "his role in the child's life has been inconsistent." The trial court's finding that the child had an ECE with Durbin alone was not against the great weight of the evidence. After analyzing the best-interest factors, the trial court found that Durbin had established by clear and convincing evidence that she should be awarded sole legal and physical custody of the child. Though Monday contested the trial court's findings as to the best-interest factors, he primarily disputed the trial court's assessments of credibility. But the court "will not second-guess the trial court's credibility assessments." Affirmed.


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