custody modification

Changing legal custody for a sick child

There is a three step process to change legal custody. First, a showing of proper cause or change of circumstances since the entry of the last order. Second, the established custodial environment determines the burden of proof and; Third a best interest of the child analysis.

Custody in Michigan

Child custody laws in Michigan

Michigan child custody laws provide a two-step process for determining child custody. The first step determines the existence of an establish custodial environment which determines the burden of proof required. The second step examines the best interest of the child factors which must be examined by the court applying the applicable burden of proof.

Custody in Michigan

Child custody steps

The first step is a threshold question which asks, what has changed since the entry of the last court order under Vodvarka; The second step requires determining the existence of an established custodial environment and the burden of proof. The third step is to apply the best interest factors using the appropriate burden of proof.

Objection to Friend of the Court

I object to the Friend of the Court Recommendation.

Under MCL 552.507(4), if a party timely objects to a referee’s recommendation, the trial court “shall hold a de novo hearing.” The Michigan Court of Appeals further decided that a trial court cannot simply review the record created at the referee hearing, however the trial court can impose reasonable restrictions on duplicative evidence (e.g. only allowing new evidence).

custody
parenting time

The difference between parenting time and visitation.

Visitation and parenting time mean exactly the same thing under Michigan law. The term visitation is old and more appropriate for visiting someone in prison than enjoying time with a child. Some time ago, in an effort to avoid marginalizing or insulting a parent, courts began replacing visitation with the term parenting time, a kinder[…]

legal residence

How far away can you move after a divorce with a minor child?

There are two legal restrictions on how far you can move after a divorce with a minor child. First, MCL 722.31(1) prohibits a parent from moving after divorce with a minor child to another home more than 100 miles (as the crow flies) from your current residence without court permission. However, MCL 722.31(2) provides that this restriction does not apply if a parent is awarded sole legal custody. Second, Michigan Court Rule 3.211(C)(1) prohibits a parent from moving outside of the State of Michigan without approval from the Judge who awarded custody.

Custody in Michigan

Michigan custody laws – the videos

Michigan child custody law can be complex but don’t worry. We make it easy to help you understand this area of the law with the Michigan Divorce Education Series of videos on custody.

Child Custody in Michigan

Parenting time modification and and the established custodial environment

A change in the established custodial environment occurs if parenting-time adjustments change whom the child naturally looks to for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort.

Parenting Time

Parenting time agreement

MCL 722.27a(2): If the parents of a child agree on parenting time terms, the court shall order the parenting time terms unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child.

Parenting Time

Motion to modify parenting time

Although the threshold requirements to modify custody or a motion to modify parenting time go by the same names, proper cause or a change of circumstance to change custody or modify parenting time have different meanings.

Custody in Michigan
Established custodial environment

Is there an established custodial environment?

A determination of an established custodial environment is important because a court cannot enter an order for child custody (or modify an existing order) without first determining if an established custodial environment exists and the trial court must make clear findings on this issue before deciding custody.

Best Interest Factor

The most important best interest of the child factor.

The willingness and ability of each of the parties to encourage a continuing parent-child relationship with the other parent is the most important best interest of the child factor.

Custody in Michigan

What exactly is joint custody in Michigan?

Michigan Compiled Laws section 722.26a, requires parents to be advised of joint custody and the court must consider an award of joint custody at the request of either party.

Oakland County Divorce

Divorce in Oakland County

You may think that there is no difference in the divorce laws by County and you are right, sort of. Divorce law is uniform throughout the state, a divorce in Oakland County is different for a number of reasons.

Custody in Michigan

What is a custodial parent in Michigan?

In Michigan, a custodial parent is the the parent with whom a child spends the majority of overnights with during the course of a year. This definition is similar to that used by the Internal Revenue Service when determining dependent status for tax purposes.

statute of limitations

Determining Income for support

Determining income for child support or alimony purposes in Michigan often requires looking beyond the tax returns. So what is considered income for support in Michigan? Income for support and the 2021 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual Chapter 2 of the 2021 Michigan Child Support Formula Manual is a good resource in how to determine[…]

Custody in Michigan

The role of the custodial parent in Michigan Divorce.

The phrase custodial parent is not defined in Michigan divorce or custody law. However, the term has evolved to mean the parent that is awarded the majority of parenting time in a specific Michigan divorce or custody case. Michigan statutes and case law have defined two types of custody in Michigan. Legal custody and physical[…]

Custody in Michigan

Proper cause or change of circumstances

There is a barrier to modification of custody, child support, spousal support (alimony) and parenting time. The barrier is proper cause or change of circumstances. In a prior article, we examined the seminal case on the subject, Vodvarka v. Grassmeyer which defines both proper cause and change of circumstances in the context of a child[…]

move on

Can you move with kids now that you can work from anywhere?

In Michigan, several key legal provisions govern with respect to where you can live and move with your kids including Michigan Compiled Laws section 723.31(1). and Michigan Compiled Laws section 723.31(4)

Michigan divorce process

The Michigan Divorce Education Series.

In 2012, we envisioned a divorce video education series which evolved into the The Michigan Divorce Education Series by Findling Law. The idea was to provide quality information (more than just the basics with case law and statutory support) on Michigan Divorce, Custody, Alimony and support.

Divorce Trial

Your Divorce Deposition – Think, don’t guess, don’t lie

A divorce deposition is a form of discovery. Discovery is the formal process by which you “discover” information relevant to the case. There are three forms of discovery in a Michigan divorce. First, Interrogatories (think to interrogate) which are written questions which must be answered under oath and subject to the felony of perjury.  Second, a[…]

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