Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Flint Child Custody and Bankruptcy from Terry Bankert 235-1979

GOOD MORNING FLINT! date: 01/22/13
By Terry R. Bankert [trb] terry@attorneybankert.com
www.attorneybankert.com , https://www.facebook.com/attorneybankert, Flint Divorce & Bankruptcy 810-235-1970


Interstate custody action; Whether the trial court had jurisdiction to modify the Arizona order under MCL 722.1203;

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (MCL 722.1201 et seq.); International Union, UAW of Am. v. Central MI Univ. Trs.; Jamil v. Jahan; Fisher v. Belcher; In re Clausen; Atchison v. Atchison; MCL 722.1202; MCL 722.1102(c);

The UCCJEA prescribes the powers and duties of a court in a child custody proceeding
involving a Michigan court and a Sister State’s custody order. Fisher v Belcher, 269 Mich App
247, 260; 713 NW2d 6 (2005). The UCCJEA is a procedural statute. In re Clausen, 442 Mich
648, 681-684; 502 NW2d 649 (1993). This case falls under the purview of the UCCJEA because
it involves an attempt to modify an Arizona child custody order in Michigan.

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: Burnham v. Burnham
e-Journal Number: 53598 [primary source]
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Stephens, Owens, and Murray


Although the court held that the trial court had jurisdiction to modify the Arizona order under MCL 722.1203, it also held that the plaintiff-maternal grandfather did not have standing to challenge the custody order.

Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's grant of the defendant-mother's motion for summary disposition in this interstate custody action.

The case arose from a 2010 Arizona custody order that granted defendant full custody of the minor child.

Plaintiff had custody of the child until 2010, when he relinquished custody to defendant.

After the Arizona custody order was issued in 2010, defendant moved with the child to Michigan, where they have lived ever since.

In 2012, plaintiff filed a custody complaint in Michigan pursuant to the UCCJEA, seeking to modify the Arizona custody order.

Defendant moved for summary disposition, arguing that plaintiff lacked standing to challenge custody.

Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion for summary disposition by incorrectly holding that he lacked standing to challenge custody over the child. Plaintiff's argument was premised upon the assertion that the trial court had jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, and in particular under MCL 722.1201(1)(a), because it was the home state of the child at the time the complaint was filed and neither the child, the mother or father, nor for that matter plaintiff, remained in Arizona.


The case fell under the purview of the UCCJEA because it involved an attempt to modify an Arizona child custody order in Michigan


The Arizona court issued an initial custody decision on 7/26/10. The order was issued in a dependency proceeding, which is considered a child-custody proceeding under the UCCJEA.

The Arizona custody order awarded "the minor's legal care, custody and control" to defendant. Because Arizona issued an initial custody determination over the child, Arizona had exclusive, continuing jurisdiction.

However, because plaintiff was attempting to modify the Arizona custody order in Michigan, the court determined whether Michigan had jurisdiction to modify the order.


Under the specific requirements of the UCCJEA, the trial court clearly had jurisdiction over the complaint.

First, Michigan was the child's home state on the date of the commencement of the proceeding because he and his mother lived in Michigan for more than a year before the complaint was filed.

Second, the child and defendant no longer resided in Arizona.

Thus, the trial court had jurisdiction to modify the Arizona order under MCL 722.1203.

Despite the trial court's ability to exercise jurisdiction over the child, it dismissed plaintiff's complaint, finding that he lacked standing to challenge custody because he was a third party.


Even with this statutory jurisdiction, a Michigan court may still not modify a child
custody determination made by a court of another state unless either (1) the court of the other
state determines it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction or that the Michigan court
would be a more convenient forum, or (2) the Michigan court or a court of the other state
determines that neither the child, nor a parent of the child, nor a person acting as a parent,
presently resides in the other state.
Jamil, 280 Mich App at 101, citing MCL 722.1203. As
noted, it is undisputed that neither the child nor either parent, nor any person acting as a parent,
remain in Arizona.

The court held that "a conclusion that jurisdiction exists is not the equivalent of finding that the party invoking the court's jurisdiction has standing to maintain the complaint." The court held that UCCJEA does not confer standing on a party, and so the fact that jurisdiction exists for a court to act on a complaint did not mean plaintiff can maintain an action to modify custody.

The court also held that under Michigan law, which governs the trial court's substantive analysis once it exercises its jurisdiction and turns to the merits of the complaint to modify, plaintiff lacked standing to seek a modification of custody. [Plaintiff was a grandfather]

Purpose of Meeting and Procedure
The purpose of the 341 meeting is to allow the trustee or any party in interest to ask questions relating to the financial affairs of the debtor while the debtor is under oath. The 341 meeting is often the first official meeting for all parties involved in the bankruptcy case. The trustee, the debtor, and debtor’s counsel (to the extent the debtor has retained counsel) are required parties. The location of the 341 meeting will be disclosed on the Notice of Chapter 7/13 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines. Most 341 meetings are not conducted in a courtroom and the judge is not present. The trustee will typically be seated at a table in the front of the room. There will be seats available for the debtor, debtor’s counsel, and creditors.
The trustee will call the case and the debtor and debtor’s counsel, if any, will approach the trustee. If a creditor intends to ask the debtor any questions, the creditor should approach at this time as well. The trustee will place the debtor under oath and then the trustee will ask the debtor a series of questions designed to identify any assets and to verify that the information the debtor provided in the schedules and the statement of financial affairs is accurate.
After the trustee has examined the debtor, the trustee will allow creditors the opportunity to ask questions as well.

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