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Trial court errs in failing to find change of circumstances sufficient to warrant modification of custody order

Concluding that the trial court erred in finding no COC sufficient to warrant revisiting the original custody order, the court reversed the trial court's order denying the defendant-father's petition for a change of custody and remanded for further proceedings. A judgment of paternity was entered in Florida in 2008, granting the plaintiff-mother sole legal and physical custody, and granting defendant parenting time. In 2013, defendant filed a petition for modification of custody in the trial court. At that time, he was living in Michigan and plaintiff was living in Arizona. He alleged that the child had been residing with him since 11/5/11. At a hearing on 7/2/13, the trial court stated that there was "a sufficient change of circumstances to warrant a careful look at where we go." It entered a consent order providing that the child would attend kindergarten in Michigan, that the parties would have temporary joint legal and physical custody, and that plaintiff would have "reasonable liberal parenting time" until further order of the trial court. "Significantly, the consent order specifically stated that 'the parties stipulate to there being changed circumstances regarding Defendant's Petition for Chance [sic] of Custody.'" After a motion hearing in 2/14 as to the circumstances of the child's stay with defendant, the trial court ordered that the child be immediately returned to plaintiff. It acknowledged that the parties stipulated in the consent order that there was a sufficient COC to revisit the Florida judgment, but stated, "I don't think there is to revisit that order [sic]." The court noted that while the parties' stipulation as to a matter of law is not binding, it could not "characterize the factually based change-of-circumstances issue as purely a 'matter of law.'" They acknowledged that their child "shall attend kindergarten in the State of Michigan until there is a determination of change of custody" and further provided for plaintiff to pay child support to defendant. They "clearly acknowledged, in some fashion, that certain circumstances had changed." Also, the child moved from residing with one parent to residing with the other parent in another state for approximately two years, "which clearly constituted a material change that could have a significant effect on a child." Further, the trial court found a COC on 7/2/13. The court found Theroux distinguishable, noting that the consent order here "did not reflect a clear temporary arrangement."

Antenuptial agreement held to be valid and enforceable

The court held that the parties' antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, concluding that to invalidate it on the basis of one party's fault would contravene the agreement's clear and unambiguous language, and that as a matter of law, the...

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