Court Order Did Not Change Parenting Time


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Case: Ludwig v. Ludwig

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Published Opinion )

Judges: Per Curiam – Jansen, Cavanagh, and Cameron

Issues:

Custody; Vodvarka v. Grasmeyer; Dailey v. Kloenhamer; Fletcher v. Fletcher; Maier v. Maier; Order to begin family therapy & reunification between defendant & the parties’ two children; Whether the order modified a parenting time order; MCL 722.27a(1); Rozek v. Rozek; Shade v. Wright; The Child Custody Act; Blaskowski v. Blaskowski; MCL 722.27(1)(e); Lieberman v. Orr; Due process; Al-Maliki v. LaGrant; Spranger v. City of Warren

Summary:

Holding that the trial court’s order to begin family therapy and reunification between defendant-father and the parties’ two children did not modify parenting time, and the trial court did abide by the most general requirements of due process, the court affirmed.Plaintiff-mother argued that the trial court committed clear legal error by ordering the children and defendant to engage in family therapy with therapists, all by way of video conference, as part of the reunification process without first holding an evidentiary hearing. The primary issue presented was whether the trial court’s order modified a parenting time order. “If it did, then the trial court made a clear error of law by entering the order without first holding an evidentiary hearing regarding the contested best interests of the children.” The court held that “the trial court order was not an order modifying parenting time, and a full evidentiary hearing was not required.” It also found that it was important to note the Child Custody Act (CCA) “provides the trial court with broad power to enter orders in custody and parenting time disputes.” Because the order did not modify parenting time, the various procedural requirements necessitated under the CCA when parenting time is modified were inapplicable here. “Instead, the trial court entered the order pursuant to its broad statutory power in custody cases.” Because plaintiff’s entire argument on appeal relied on the fact that the order modified parenting time, her appeal was without merit.

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