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Primary custody with mother is proper where child looks to mother for all essential care and emotional support

The trial court did not err in evaluating the evidence and concluding that no ECE existed in either parent's home. The trial court also properly found a CIC, and the court found no error requiring reversal in the trial court's analysis of the best-interest factors. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's order granting the plaintiff-mother's motion for modification of parenting time. The parties were married in 2000 and divorced in 2006. They have one child (KV) born in 2002. The consent judgment of divorce granted joint legal and physical custody, but provided that "primary custody . . . shall reside with the Plaintiff." The defendant-father claimed that the trial court erred by failing to find an ECE in his home. The trial court found that "KV looked to plaintiff for all essential care and emotional support . . . ." However, the trial court found no ECE based on shared parenting time. Its findings as to the existence of an ECE "should be affirmed unless the evidence clearly preponderates in the opposite direction." In evaluating the evidence, the court deferred to "the credibility determinations of the trial judge, who had the opportunity to evaluate the testimony firsthand." The court perceived no error in the trial court's finding. It also concluded that the "child's new medical diagnosis, the parties' disagreement over treatment, and the child's resulting anxiety were sufficient" to show a CIC. Further, the record provided no basis to disturb the trial court's credibility determination as to the experts, and the court rejected defendant's argument that the trial judge should be disqualified from any further proceedings.


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