Divorce Blog
Battle Creek - Divorce Law Blog


Enforcing Custody and Parenting Time Orders

Posted January 31, 2019

The FOC is required to enforce custody and parenting time orders. You can file a written complaint with the FOC to start enforcement proceedings if you:

Were denied parenting time or

Believe your ex-spouse violated the custody or parenting time terms of your Judgment of Divorce.

The FOC will notify your ex-spouse of your complaint. It will encourage you to resolve the dispute yourselves. If it can’t be resolved, or if your ex-spouse doesn’t respond to the complaint, the FOC can:

Order make-up visitation (for missed parenting time) or

Request an order for a show cause hearing

At a show cause hearing the judge will decide whether your ex-spouse is in contempt for failing to obey the terms of the JOD. The judge will also decide what remedies to use.

If the court schedules a show cause hearing you should attend. You can let the FOC know about the custody or parenting time violation and what remedy you want to ask the court for.

If your ex-spouse doesn’t pay a debt assigned to him or her in the Judgment of Divorce and you pay it, you can file a motion asking the court to make your ex-spouse repay you.

If the Judgment of Divorce ordered your ex-spouse to return certain items to you and they have not been returned, you can file a motion asking the court to enforce their return. To enforce property provisions of your Judgment of Divorce the court can also:

Appoint a receiver to take physical control of the property

Award interest

Use contempt proceedings

If your ex-spouse doesn’t sign the paperwork needed to transfer title to property you were awarded in your Judgment of Divorce, you can file a motion asking the court to enforce the title transfer.

If there are any other terms from the Judgment of Divorce that your ex-spouse doesn’t obey, you can file a motion asking the court to enforce those terms.


Interstate Custody Cases

Posted December 7, 2018

A Michigan court may exercise jurisdiction in a child protective proceeding under the Uniform ChildCustody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), MCL 722.1101 et seq. The UCCJEA, MCL 722.1101 et seq., governs the procedures in child custody proceedings when one or both of a child’s parents reside outside of Michigan.27 It also provides for enforcement and modification of out-of state custody decrees, judgments, or orders. The UCCJEA does not apply to proceedings involving adoption or the authorization of emergency medical care for a child. MCL 722.1103.28

The UCCJEA defines a child custody proceeding as “a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, or parenting time with respect to a child is an issue.” MCL 722.1102(d). Child custody proceedings include cases involving:

(1) divorce, separate maintenance, and separation;

(2) neglect, abuse, and dependency;

(3) guardianship matters;

(4) paternity and termination of parental rights; and

(5) protection from domestic violence. MCL 722.1102(d).

For purposes of child protective proceedings, a Michigan court may exercise temporary emergency jurisdiction over a child. A Michigan court obtains temporary emergency jurisdiction when:

(1) There is an abandoned child in Michigan; or

(2) A child, the child’s sibling, or the child’s parent is being mistreated or abused or being threatened with mistreatment or abuse. MCL 722.1204(1).

A Michigan court may issue an order to take a child into custody if it appears likely that a child will suffer imminent physical harm or will be removed from the state. MCL 722.1310(1). If a proceeding has been commenced in or a custody determination has been made by another state’s court, a Michigan court’s order must specify a time period during which it will remain in effect. MCL 722.1204(3). The time period must be adequate to allow a person to seek an order from the other state’s court. In such circumstances, the Michigan court must immediately communicate with a court in the other state in order to “resolve the emergency, protect the safety of the parties and the child, and determine a period for the duration of the temporary order.” MCL 722.1204(4).

If there is no previous child custody determination or no commencement of a child custody proceeding, entry of a court’s order during the temporary emergency will remain in effect until entry of an order by another court having jurisdiction. MCL 722.1204(2). If a childcustody proceeding has not been, and is not, commenced in another state’s court with jurisdiction over the matter, the determination made by the Michigan court during the temporary emergency becomes the final child custody determination, if the Michigan court intends its determination to be final and Michigan becomes the child’s home state.

Can Federal Child Tax Exemptions be Modified Post-Judgment of Divorce?

Posted November 23, 2018

A recent child custody and support case, the court examined the issue of modifying federal child tax exemptions post judgment of divorce. One of the issue of the appeal in Clarke was the circuit court’s decision to modify the child support order and award child tax exemptions to the Plaintiff’s ex-wife. The Plaintiff argued that the circuit court did not have the authority to order a modified award of a child tax exemption. The appellate held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion on this issue. The appellate court stated, “the trial court has the authority to modify an order regarding the federal dependency tax exemption because it is considered part of the child support award".


Mediation is an Alternative to Trial

Posted October 2, 2018

Mediation is a settlement process. It can help you resolve issues in your divorce case. Mediation can be used instead of going to court and having a judge make decisions. In mediation you and your spouse meet with a neutral mediator. The mediator will help you find solutions to your divorce issues. The goal of mediation is to reach a fair agreement that both you and your spouse accept.

Mediation can be voluntary or the court can order you to attend mediation. Mediation works best when it's voluntary and both parties think it will help them resolve their disputes. But, mediation can still work well when the court orders it.

Issues that Mediation May Address:

Mediation can resolve the issues that you and your spouse don’t agree on. Before going to mediation, you should think about the problems that you want to cover. The following family law issues are often mediated:

  • Child custody and parenting time
  • Child support
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • Property and debt division

Normally you and your spouse will meet together with the mediator several times. You will each have a chance to tell the mediator and what you want to happen in the divorce. The mediator is not a judge and won’t decide who is right or wrong in your case. The mediator won’t make decisions for you. Mediation is a cooperative process. The mediator will help you and your spouse make joint decisions. This type of mediation is called facilitative mediation.

You and your spouse can ask the mediator to make a written recommendation about any issues you can't resolve during mediation. This is called evaluative mediation. The mediator can only make a recommendation if both you and your spouse ask for one. Neither of you can be punished if you don’t accept your mediator’s recommendation. No one can tell the judge what the recommendation said if one or both of you reject it.