Michigan House Bill 4691 provides for significant revisions of the Child Custody Act. Under the Child Custody Act, when a child custody dispute is before the circuit court, the court may take certain actions for the best interests of the child. These include awarding custody of the child to one or more of the parties involved or to others, and providing for the payment of child support; providing for reasonable parenting time; and modifying or amending the court’s previous judgments or orders for proper cause shown or because of a change of circumstances. The court may not modify or amend its previous judgments or orders, or issue a new order changing the child’s established custodial environment, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child. Michigan House Bill 4691 revises the manner in which a court will determine custody in custody disputes.
The significant revisions proposed by Michigan House Bill 4691 include but are not limited to the following:
Revises the factors that constitute “best interests of the child.”
Under the bill, the current meaning of “best interests of the child” will be replaced with new and/or revised factors and will mean both of the following:
Maintaining an ongoing relationship with each parent and the right of the child to a substantially equal parenting time arrangement that promotes a strong relationship between a child and his or her parents.
The sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court, recognizing that both parents, individually and collectively, contribute directly and financially and that parenting includes a division of labor:
o The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child (this is current law).
o The capacity and a history of the parents providing for, through financial support or otherwise, the child’s education endeavors and health care needs.
o The capacity and a history of the parents providing, through financial support or otherwise, food, clothing, and other necessities of the child’s daily life.
o A history of the parents maintaining regular and ongoing contact with the child and the impact on the child if regular and ongoing contact with the parents is not maintained.
o The capacity and a history of the parents to provide age-appropriate emotional and social development.
o A parent’s behavior extending beyond reasonable parenting practices that materially compromises the stability of the home or the health, safety, or well-being of the child.
o A mental or physical condition of a parent that materially compromises the stability of the home or the health, safety, or well-being of the child.
o The impact on the child’s academics if regular and ongoing contact with both parents is not maintained.
o If a parent is engaged in criminal activity or substance use that materially compromises the stability of the home or the health, safety, or well-being of the child.
o The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and other parent or the child and the parents. A court may not consider negatively for the purposes of this factor any reasonable action taken by a parent to protect a child or that parent from sexual assault or domestic violence by the child’s other parent or a person in the child’s home.
o Any other factor considered by the court that may materially compromise the stability of the home or the health, safety, or well-being of the child.
Creates a presumption of joint legal custody and substantially equal parenting time and defines those terms.
With some exceptions, requires a court to grant joint legal custody and substantially equal parenting time.
Requires a “clear and convincing” standard of proof to rebut a presumption of established custodial environment or to demonstrate why joint legal custody or substantially equal parenting time should not be granted.
“Substantially equal parenting time” means the child resides for alternating periods of time with each parent and that the court seeks to provide balance and equality in overnights, with one parent not to exceed 200 overnights in a year unless otherwise adjusted for or agreed to by the parties.
Requires, instead of allows, a court to consider certain factors when determining parenting time orders.
For a child at least 16 years of age, gives predominant weight to the child’s preference.
Prohibits a parent from changing a child’s residence over 40 miles (instead of 100) from the child’s residence or school unless a court finds that the 40-mile distance negatively impacts the child’s access to parenting time and the child’s involvement in support groups and extracurricular activities.
On Tuesday, August 22, 6:00 PM you can discuss with your representatives, educators, and other members of the public your position regarding Michigan House Bill 4691 at Antonio’s Cucina Italiana which is located at 2220 North Canton Center Road Canton, MI 48187
Your specific situation may be somewhat different from the norm; please call, 734.927.9782, the Canton Michigan Divorce Lawyers and Canton Michigan Custody Attorneys at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your matter. We represent clients in the Metro Detroit area (Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Livonia, Westland, Ann Arbor, Novi) and throughout Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Livingston counties. The firm’s office is located at 8556 N. Canton Center Road, Canton, Michigan 48187
By: Robert J. Stelmock, Attorney, GAL, Parenting Coordinator & Mediator at Stelmock Law Firm, PC