Wednesday, November 9, 2016

BASICS IN DIVORCE PROPERTY DIVISION

@terrybankert #divorce #spousalsupport #childsupport #Flint #Genesee
BRIEF REVIEW OF LAW APPLIED IN SOME DIVORCE CASES
By Terry Bankert 810-235-1970 Flint/Genesee County Michigan

In a recent Michigan Divorce Case The Wife  Plaintiff appealed as of right the trial court’s judgment of divorce. Plaintiff challenges the trial court’s distribution of the marital property, the spousal support order, and the court’s order to impute income to plaintiff to calculate the amount of child support that defendant is required to pay to plaintiff. The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision. Here the case opinion has been modified to state some of the facts and the law applied. The court's analysis can be found in the case as cited below.

BACKGROUND

The parties married in June 1990. Husband  Defendant is 50 years old;wife  plaintiff is 46. Defendant is employed with the State of Michigan.

Plaintiff graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in biology a short time before the marriage and thereafter worked in a laboratory for ten months.

WIFE AGREED TO BE A STAY AT HOME MOM.

Plaintiff explained that she and defendant decided to start a family and that they agreed that she would stay home and raise the children.

FOUR CHILDREN ONE WAS A MINOR MINOR

The parties have four children, the first of which was born in September 1992.

At the time of the trial, only one of the children remained a minor and was 16 years old.

WIFE WENT BACK TO WORK

In September 2004, plaintiff began working as a substitute teacher in the same school district that all four children attended.

Plaintiff explained that she began this job because she wanted to help defendant out by “bringing in some money,” while still remaining a stay-at-home mom.

Plaintiff testified that it was her job to pay the family bills and that the parties had equal access to their funds during the marriage.


Plaintiff testified that defendant’s income decreased at one point during their marriage, so they used credit cards to support the family.

She admitted that the parties were in debt.

WIFE WENT BACK TO SCHOOL

When the debt became overwhelming, plaintiff explained, she decided to go back to school so that she could further her education and get a higher paying job. Plaintiff enrolled in an accelerated nursing program.

HUSBAND BEGAN A SECOND JOB

Defendant stated that he began working a second job when he learned that the -2- parties were “upside down in [their] bills.” He also claimed that he asked plaintiff to obtain employment to help remedy the situation.

HUSBAND ASKED WIFE TO RETURN TO WORK

Plaintiff claimed that defendant never asked her to get a job until she was already enrolled in nursing school and had already accumulated student loans.

PROPERTY

In addition to the marital home, the parties owned a vacant lot. An appraiser testified that the marital home is worth $175,000 and the lot is worth $20,000. Defendant testified that a similar empty lot in their neighborhood has been listed for sale for $10,000, yet it has not sold, despite being on the market for ten years. The marital home is subject to two mortgages, with $138,674.04 still due on the first mortgage and $30,727.96 still due on the second mortgage. Defendant stated that he believes that the house is worth less than what he owes on the mortgages. Plaintiff testified that she filed for bankruptcy in September 2014. Plaintiff acknowledged that, on the bankruptcy petition, she listed the marital home as having a $160,000 value and the parties’ empty lot as having an $8,000 value. Over $28,000 in credit-card debt was discharged, plaintiff testified.

CREDIT CARD

Defendant testified that there is still credit-card debt in his name, totaling $18,202.38, which was accrued during the marriage.

AUTOMOBILE

Plaintiff testified that she drives a Town and Country van. She initially leased the vehicle and, in February 2014, the lease expired. She then borrowed $14,500 from her father to purchase the vehicle.

LOAN LISTED IN BANKRUPTCY

Plaintiff acknowledged that she listed this loan in her bankruptcy petition and that the loan was discharged.

STUDENT LOANS USED TO PAY FAMILY BILLS

Plaintiff testified that she owes approximately $30,000 in student loans. She explained that in 2012 and 2013 she received “excess aid” checks for $4,550 and $4,245. Plaintiff said that she used this money to help pay the family bills.

PROPERTY INTENDED AS A GIFT

She also admitted that she purchased a riding lawnmower with that money, explaining that it was intended to be a gift for defendant for Father’s Day. Defendant said that he told plaintiff, before she purchased the lawnmower, that she should not purchase it because they could not afford it, but that he nevertheless accepted the gift and used it during the marriage.

TEMPORARY SPOUSAL SUPPORT

Before trial, the court ordered defendant to pay $1,229 a month in temporary spousal support and $1,271 a month in temporary child support.

MODIFIABILITY
Plaintiff requested $1,900 in non modifiable spousal support until July 2016, $2,700 in non-modifiable spousal support for 36 months thereafter (to assist with student-loan payments), and $1,200 in modifiable spousal support for 60 months thereafter.

SUPPORT OF ADULT CHILDREN

Plaintiff testified that she financially supports the parties’ adult children and that those expenses were included in her expectations for spousal support. Defendant requested that if any spousal support were ordered, “it should be modifiable, of a minimal amount and for a very short duration.”
ISSUES DECIDED BY THE COURT WITH A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE LAW

FAULT
In an oral opinion, the court stated that it was not finding fault in this case.

HOME
It awarded defendant the marital home, along with full responsibility for the mortgages and outstanding taxes.

CREDIT CARD
The court further ordered that defendant was responsible for the debt attributable to the credit cards and line of credit in his name.

AUTOMOBILE
Defendant also received a 2007 Chevy Aveo and a motorcycle, although the court noted that there was no evidence of the value of these vehicles. The court awarded plaintiff the Town and Country van, finding that its value was $14,500 because “that was the price she, as a willing buyer, actually paid to pay off that lease when it -3- came due.”

PERSONAL PROPERTY

Further, each party received the personal property in their possession, although the court awarded defendant the lawnmower and a few other miscellaneous items. The court also attributed plaintiff’s student-loan debt to her.

SPOUSAL SUPPORT

The court ordered that the spousal support be reduced to $800 a month effective February 2015 and continue through September 2015. The court noted that plaintiff was expecting to complete her nursing-school program in June 2015 and that this order would result in her receiving spousal support for two full years.

CHILD SUPPORT

Finally, the court ordered that child support be recalculated by the Friend of the Court. To calculate the child support, the court imputed income to plaintiff for 20 hours of work a week at minimum wage. Defendant was ultimately ordered to pay plaintiff $860 a month for child support.

PLAINTIFF WIFE  APPEALED THE LOCAL COURT DIVORCE RULING

Plaintiff first argues that the trial court’s distribution of the marital property was not equitable.

LAW

ISSUE PROPERTY MUST BE  FAIR AND EQUITABLE

When reviewing a trial court’s divorce disposition, an “appellate court must first review the trial court’s findings of fact under the clearly erroneous standard. If the findings of fact are upheld, the appellate court must decide whether the dispositive ruling was fair and equitable in light of those facts.” Sparks v Sparks, 440 Mich 141, 151-152; 485 NW2d 893 (1992).

ISSUE THE COURT MUST HAVE A FIRM CONVICTION THE DISPOSITION INEQUITABLE
The Sparks Court stated, “[B]ecause the dispositional ruling is an exercise of discretion and . . . appellate courts are often reluctant to reverse such rulings, we hold that the ruling should be affirmed unless the appellate court is left with the firm conviction that the division was inequitable.” Id. at 152 (citations omitted).

ISSUE THE PROPERTY MUST NOT HAVE TO BE DIVIDED EQUITABLY

A reviewing court must defer to a trial court’s factual findings regarding credibility. Richards v Richards, 310 Mich App 683, 694; 874 NW2d 704 (2015). “The goal in distributing marital assets in a divorce proceeding is to reach an equitable distribution of property in light of all the circumstances.” Gates v Gates, 256 Mich App 420, 423; 664 NW2d 231 (2003).

ISSUE PROPERTY DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DIVIDED EQUALLY

The court does not need to divide the property equally, but it must divide it equitably considering the parties’ contributions, faults, and needs. Richards, 310 Mich App at 694.

ISSUE PROPERTY DIVISION AND SPARKS FACTORS
The Supreme Court has held that the trial court must consider the following factors, when relevant:
(1) duration of the marriage,
(2) contributions of the parties to the marital estate,
(3) age of the parties,
(4) health of the parties,
(5) life status of the parties,
(6) necessities and circumstances of the parties,
(7) earning abilities of the parties,
(8) past relations and conduct of the parties, and
(9) general principles of equity. [Sparks, 440 Mich at 159-160.]

ISSUE OTHER FACTORS LIKE SCHOOLING
The court may consider additional relevant factors, including “the interruption of the personal career or education of either party.” Id. at 160. The court may not give disproportionate weight to one factor. See id. at 163. Plaintiff argues that several of the trial court’s factual findings were erroneous. Plaintiff argues that the court should have attributed $8,795 of her student loans to the marital estate.

ISSUE DISCHARGED DEBTS NOT PART OF MARITAL DEBT
The trial court’s decision not to consider this discharged debt as marital debt attributable to plaintiff was not clearly erroneous.

ISSUE VALUE OF PROPERTY AND BANKRUPTCY VALUATION

Next, plaintiff claims that the court erred by valuing the parties’ vacant lot at $8,000, despite an appraiser’s testimony that it was worth $20,000. However, plaintiff listed the value of the lot on her bankruptcy petition as $8,000. Also, the trial court noted that the appraiser used lots in different areas to determine the value, while defendant testified that a similar lot in the area had been listed for sale at $10,000 for years but had not yet sold. In its opinion, the trial court considered the appraiser’s testimony but noted that it found defendant’s valuation more credible. The court acted within its discretion to credit one valuation over another, especially in light of plaintiff’s bankruptcy petition. No error has been shown. The record indicates that the trial court considered the factors relevant to this case.

ISSUE LONG TERM MARRIAGE

Consistent with the parties’ testimony, the court found that this was a 24-year marriage. The court noted that defendant makes approximately $72,000 a year and plaintiff remained home to raise the parties’ children. Plaintiff has a bachelor’s degree that she claims is unmarketable, and, as of the date of trial, she had enrolled in a nursing program and plans on looking for a job once she obtains her degree.

ISSUE OF NO FAULT

The court attributed no fault to either party. While plaintiff contests the court’s finding of “no fault” on appeal, this, again, was a credibility determination, and given the contradictory evidence contained in the record, we defer to that finding. Richards, 310 Mich App at 694.

Defendant’s total distribution resulted in a negative net value. Plaintiff’s awarded net value, on the other hand, was nearly $15,000 because she received a valuable asset, but was not ordered responsible for any marital debt. Given these circumstances, we are not “left with the firm conviction that the division was inequitable.” Sparks, 440 Mich at 152.

Plaintiff also argues that the trial court abused its discretion by awarding spousal support of $800 a month for a total of eight months, beginning in February 2015.5

LAW ON SPOUSAL SUPPORT

“The object in awarding spousal support is to balance the incomes and needs of the parties so that neither will be impoverished; spousal support is to be based on what is just and reasonable under the circumstances of the case.” Berger v Berger, 277 Mich App 700, 726; 747 NW2d 336 (2008).

SPOUSAL SUPPORT FACTORS
In making this determination, the trial court should consider the following factors:
(1) the past relations and conduct of the parties,
(2) the length of the marriage,
(3) the abilities of the parties to work,
(4) the source and amount of property awarded to the parties,
(5) the parties’ ages,
(6) the abilities of the parties to pay alimony,
(7) the present situation of the parties,
(8) the needs of the parties,
(9) the parties’ health,
(10) the prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others,
(11) contributions of the parties to the joint estate,
(12) a party’s fault in causing the divorce,
(13) the effect of cohabitation on a party’s financial status, and
(14) general principles of equity. [Olson v Olson, 256 Mich App 619, 631; 671 NW2d 64 (2003).]

A review of the record shows that the trial court did consider the relevant factors. Again, the court found that neither party was at fault. Further, the court acknowledged that plaintiff removed herself from the workforce to raise the parties’ children and could not at the time of the divorce work full-time until at least June 2015, when she expec

However, the court reasonably weighed those factors against other relevant factors.

ISSUE CHILD SUPPORT

Finally, plaintiff argues that the trial court clearly erred by imputing income to her to calculate the child-support order. When determining a child-support award, the court must first determine each parent’s net income. Stallworth v Stallworth, 275 Mich App 282, 284; 738 NW2d 264 (2007).

“A trial court has the discretion to impute income when a parent voluntarily reduces or eliminates income or when it finds that the parent has a voluntarily unexercised ability to earn.” Id. at 286-287.

FACTORS REQUIRED FOR IMPUTED INCOME.

The court’s decision to impute income to a party must be “supported by adequate fact-finding that the parent has an actual ability and likelihood of earning the imputed income.” Id. at 285.

The court must consider the following factors:
(a) Prior employment experience and history, including reasons for any termination or changes in employment.
(b) Educational level and any special skills or training.
(c) Physical and mental disabilities that may affect a parent’s ability to obtain or maintain gainful employment.
(d) Availability for work (exclude periods when a parent could not work or seek work, e.g., hospitalization, incarceration, debilitating illness, etc.).
(e) Availability of opportunities to work in the local geographical area.
(f) The prevailing wage rates in the local geographical area.
(g) Diligence exercised in seeking appropriate employment.
(h) Evidence that the parent in question is able to earn the imputed income.
(i) Personal history, including present marital status and present means of support.
(j) The presence of the parties’ children in the parent’s home and its impact on that parent’s earnings.
(k) Whether there has been a significant reduction in income compared to the period that preceded the filing of the initial complaint or the motion for modification. [2013 MCSF 2.01(G)(2).]

The court noted that while plaintiff is enrolled in nursing school, “it would really be almost impractical for her to have any sort of job other than . . . a minimum wage, part-time job.” Impliedly, the court found that plaintiff had an unexercised ability to earn what was practical, i.e., a part-time minimum-wage income.

It also acknowledged plaintiff’s availability to work by finding that only a part-time, minimum-wage job was practical, given her school schedule. Further, the court stated that both parties were healthy and able to work. Plaintiff challenges the court’s finding that she was available to work twenty hours a week. She argues that her nursing-school program precluded her from seeking employment, asserting that her schedule required her attention “six days a week for at least eight hours each day.” She testified about further obligations in the program.

The trial court considered plaintiff’s testimony when it found that it was impractical for plaintiff to work more than parttime. Clearly, plaintiff had a demanding schedule. However, her schedule was not such that she would have no time to hold a part-time job. The issue of childcare could be a complication, but would be mitigated at least somewhat by the fact that the minor child is 16 years old. The trial court’s factual finding on the matter was not clearly erroneous.

Plaintiff also argues that there was no evidence presented regarding several of the relevant factors that need to be considered to impute income. However, defendant is correct that these factors, such as availability of work in the area and ability to earn the imputed level of income, were either not relevant or impliedly considered, because plaintiff testified that she would be qualified to work several common, minimum-wage positions—the same type of work imputed to her. While plaintiff testified that she tried to obtain employment at least once during the marriage, she acknowledged that the sought jobs required a relevant degree, which she lacked.

THE COURT OF APPEAL FINDING

The court’s factual findings were not clearly erroneous. The court did not impute the amount of income that a full-time job would generate. It did not impute the expected income of a college graduate. Instead, it considered plaintiff’s nursing-school commitment and imputed income available from a minimum-wage, part-time position. Reversal is unwarranted. Affirmed. /s/ Michael J. Riordan /s/ Patrick M. Meter /s/ Donald S. Owens

[BROWN]
STATE OF MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS SEANNEEN BROWN, Plaintiff-Appellant, UNPUBLISHED October 20, 2016 v No. 327826 Clinton Circuit Court Family Division LAWRENCE HERMAN BROWN, LC No. 13-024784-DM Defendant-Appellee. Before: RIORDAN, P.J., and METER and OWENS, JJ. PER CURIAM. [BROWN]


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Monday, February 16, 2015

SO YOU WANT CHANGE CHILD CUSTODY! WHAT DIO YOU DO?

THE CHILD CUSTODY ORDER MUST BE CHANGED ! What do I do?


A common theme clients come to me with after a divorce judgement is in place involves dissatisfaction with the  award of physical and legal custody in their divorce. Usually I was not involved in the original action.


#Flint #Divorce


I am a Family Law Flint Divorce child custody attorney. Call 235-1970 for Terry Bankert if you have additional questions.


WHAT IS THE UNDERLYING ORDER CONCERNING CHILD CUSTODY.


Some judgements done with the best of intentions just will not work. The cause varies. Court want child custody decisions to be hard to change. My analysis usually begins by asking what is the current order of custody and what is different since that order was entered?


ISSUES YOU NEED TO KNOW IN YOUR ATTEMPT TO CHANGE CUSTODY


Under MCL 722.27(1)(c), before modifying a custody order, the court must consider three issues:
  1. YOU the moving party has met the initial burden of establishing either “proper cause” or a “change of circumstances;”
  2. Whether there is an established custodial environment; which will establish the burden of proof or how hard your task will be and
  3. Whether the modification is in the best interests of the child. [1]


WHAT HAVE YOU SAID IS THE REASON TO CHANGE CUSTODY. WHAT IS YOUR  PROPER CAUSE OR CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES.


THE FIRST QUESTION THE JUDGE MUST ANSWER.
The threshold question in any change of custody is whether the moving party has established proper cause or change of circumstances. MCL 722.27(1)(c); Vodvarka v. Grasmeyer, 259 Mich App. 499, 675 NW2d 847 (2003).[1]


YOU WILL HAVE THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS YOU WANT TO CHANGE  CHILD CUSTODY.


The moving party has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence to establish that either proper cause or a change of circumstances exists. Vodvarka, supra. at 509. [1]


WHAT REASONS FOR THE CHANGE IN CUSTODY WILL THE JUDGE THINK ARE PROPER CAUSE.


Proper cause means one or more appropriate grounds that have or could have a significant effect on the child’s life to the extent that a reevaluation of the child’s custodial situation should be undertaken.Vodvarka, supra. at 511. [1]


THE ATTORNEY OPPOSING YOUR CHANGE WILL ASK FOR A VODVARKA HEARING .


  1. In Vodvarka, the Court of Appeals held that grounds for proper cause should be relative to the twelve best interest factors contained in MCL 722.23(a)–(l). The grounds presented should be “legally sufficient,” i.e., they must be of a magnitude to have a significant effect on the child’s well-being to the extent that revisiting the custody order would be proper. Vodvarka, supra. at 512. [1]


EXAMPLES OF CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES


  1. In order for there to be a change of circumstances, the moving party must show that, since the entry of the last custody order, the conditions surrounding custody of the child, which have or could have a significant effect on the child’s well-being, have materially changed. Again, not just any change will suffice, for over time there will always be changes in a child’s environment, behavior and well-being. Instead, the evidence must demonstrate something more than the normal life changes (both good and bad) that occur in the life of a child, and there must be at least some evidence that material changes have had or will almost certainly have an effect on the child.Vodvarka, supra. at 513–514. [1]
  2. Evidence of the circumstances existing at the time of and before the entry of the prior custody order will be relevant for comparison purposes, but the change of circumstances must have occurred after entry of the last custody order. The moving party cannot rely on facts that existed before entry of the custody order to establish a “change” of circumstances. Vodvarka, supra. at 514. [1]
  3. A change in economic circumstances, standing alone, is insufficient to warrant revisiting a previously entered child custody order. Further, those concerns are more appropriately addressed through an increase in the child support paid to the custodial parent following a properly filed motion to modify child support. A decline in child’s grades was insufficient to constitute a change in circumstances sufficient to warrant modification of parties’ joint custody arrangement to change sole physical custody from mother to father; child was not in danger of failing any subject, and the decline in child’s grades could have been attributable to child’s change in schools or the different educational materials. Corporan v. Henton, 282 Mich. App. 599, 766 N.W.2d 903 (2009). [1]
  4. The 2006 judgment of divorce (JOD) contained clause that purported to allow the parties child to be moved out of Michigan without court approval and that the provisions of MCL 722.31 do not apply as the plaintiff mother had sole legal custody. Shortly after the entry of the JOD, the mother moved to Toronto, Canada. The father was still afforded parenting time, although less frequently than before. Father filed a motion to modify legal custody and to restore his parenting time. The trial court held that the clauses in the JOD allowing movement out of the state of Michigan were unenforceable and that a change in legal custody and parenting time was in the best interest of the child claiming the father met this burden by clear and convincing evidence. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that a mere change in residence is not enough to qualify as a change in circumstance or proper cause. Absent an alteration in an established custodial environment, changing residence is not enough. Brausch v. Brausch, 283 Mich.App. 339; 770 NW2d 77 (2009).[1]
  5. In Gerstenschlager v. Gerstenschlager, 292 Mich App 654; 808 NW2d 811 (2011) the trial court found there was a change of circumstances existed where defendant had taken in boarders and the child was getting older. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded to the Trial court, finding that the fact that a child is growing up, the fact that a child has started high school, and the fact that the child faces scheduling changes relating to school and extra-curricular activities “are the type of normal life changes that occur during a child’s life and that do not warrant a change in the child’s custodial environment.” The Court also found that the evidence suggested that the boarders’ presence in the house was a matter of minimal consequence to the child. [1]
WHAT IS AN ESTABLISHED CUSTODIAL ENVIRONMENT


  1. The definition of an established custodial environment is found in MCL 722.27(1)(c), which states as follows:
  2. The custodial environment of a child is established if over an appreciable time the child naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort. The age of the child, the physical environment, and the inclination of the custodian and the child as to permanency of the relationship shall also be considered. [1]
  3. The Court must determine whether an established custodial environment exists before it makes a determination regarding the child’s best interests in a custody proceeding. Whether an established custodial environment exists is a question of fact. Mogle v. Scriver, 241 Mich App 192, 197; 614 NW2d 696 (2000).[1]
  4. An established custodial environment, for the purposes of determining an appropriate child custody arrangement, is one of significant duration in which the relationship between the custodian and child is marked by qualities of security, stability and permanence; however, an established custodial environment need not be limited to one household, it can exist in more than one home.Mogle, supra. at 197. See also MCL 722.27(1)(c).[1]
  5. Custody orders, by themselves, do not establish a custodial environment. The court will look to the actual circumstances. Bowers v. Bowers, 198 Mich App 320, 497 NW2d 602 (1993).[1]
  6. In Shann v. Shann, 293 Mich App 302, 809 NW2d 435 (2011) the Court of Appeals held that the fact that CPS removed the child from the home is in and of itself sufficient evidence of a change in circumstances to warrant a trial court to consider a change of custody.[1]
  7. The Trial Court granted Plaintiff a change of domicile from Plymouth to Windsor (less than 100 miles). The move would result in the loss of Defendant’s weeknight visits. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the established custodial environment would not change if Defendant were awarded additional weekend visitation, which would allow him to have the same number of overnights. The Court also noted that Defendant could attend the child’s school functions. Gagnon v. Glowacki, 295 Mich App 557, 815 NW2d 141 (2012).[1]
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO PROVE AND BY HOW MUCH.


The court will take testimony and accept evidence that will be used in a Best Interest analysis concerning your case.  The Best Interest REFERS TO A  State Statute MCL 722.23 arranged by  alphabetical letter a-l, The court will weigh and measure each element. But since the  the system does not like to change custody your burden may be high.  


WHAT IS THE STANDARD OF PROOF.


The court shall not modify or amend its previous judgments or orders or issue a new order so as to change the established custodial environment of a child unless there is presented clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child. MCL 722.27(1)(c). If no established custodial environment exists, custody may be modified by showing that a change would be in the best interests of the child by a preponderance of the evidence. Hall v. Hall, 156 Mich App 286, 289; 401 NW2d 353 (1986).[1]


The best interests of the child is defined in MCL 722.23, which states:
As used in this act, “best interests of the child” means the sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court:
(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

This is just an overview. I would not suggest doing this without an attorney.

Terry Bankert Flint Child Custody Lawyer 810-235-1970.

[1]
Modification of Custody

Hon. Linda S. Hallmark, Oakland County Probate Court

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