Tuesday, January 21, 2014
A Sad Case
When one parent asks the court to change a custody arrangement that has already been decided, the first thing the court looks at is where the children have an "established custodial environment" (ECE). The ECE exists with the parent or parents to whom the children look for love, guidance, comfort, and care. In this case (view the opinion here: http://www.michbar.org/opinions/appeals/2013/120513/55947.pdf), the court found that the children didn't have an ECE with either parent. It sounds like the children stayed primarily with the mother, and she had been leaving them with a babysitter more and more until (according to the dad), the babysitter had become the primary caregiver. The babysitter testified that "[s]he watched [the kids] 12 out of every 14 days and 90% of those times were overnight. Also, "during one holiday, [the mother] refused to let the children spend extra time with him despite the fact that she had to work; rather than let the children stay with him for a few more days, she had the children spend the remainder of the holiday with a sitter." I know this makes the mother sound horrible, but why wasn't there an ECE with the father? Either way, the court found that there was enough evidence to justify a change in custody to make the father the primary custodial parent.