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One Court of Justice Blog

Aug 2017
August 23, 2017

COA: Court order for physical transfer of a child from a parent constitutes removal triggering the protections of the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act

In In re Detmer/Beaudry, No. 336348, the Court considered the custody situation of a mother and two minor children that were eligible for membership in the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and thus subject to the protections of the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA).  In particular, the mother alleged that the children had been placed with the non-respondent father without trial court findings regarding remedial services or risk of harm, as required by the MIFPA.  During the pendancy of the appeal, the case became moot as the children were returned to the mother's custody.  Nevertheless, because the issue had public significance, was likely to recur, and would avoid judicial review because of the nature of temporary placements, the Court decided to rule on the case even though it was moot.  In doing so, the Court found that the MIFPA required particular findings from the trial court before a child could be "removed" from parental custody.  Although the MIFPA did not define the word "removed," and the Court concluded that a court order physically transferring placement of the child constitutes removal and triggers the MIFPA protections, but that a voluntary placement of a child is not a removal, and the protections do not apply in that situation.   

Jul 2017
July 19, 2017

COA: There is no statute of limitations for filing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

It seems there is no longer a statute of limitations on entering a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). In Joughin v. Joughin, No. 329993, the defendant ex-husband attempted to appeal an order entering a QDRO that would entitle his ex-wife to $23,823 from his Iron Workers Local #55 Profit Sharing Annuity Plan and Trust, arguing that 10-year statute of limitations bars the entry of that order given the fact that the divorce judgment was finalized almost 12 years prior. The majority of the Court of Appeals panel stated that the entering of a QDRO as part of a divorce judgment is considered a “ministerial” task, not a non-contractual money obligation, which carries the 10 year statute of limitations. This allowed the plaintiff to file the order and receive payment.

Jun 2017
June 21, 2017

COA: Fit parents have the right to adjust grandparenting time

“MCL 722.27b provides grandparents in certain situations the means to seek an order for grandparenting time.” However, in Geering v. King, No. 335794, the Court of Appeals found that this cannot come at the expense of limiting the right of fit parents, who may, for reasons the courts may disagree with, choose to limit the amount of time that their children spend with their grandparents.

May 2017
May 11, 2017

Department of Health and Human Services failed to accommodate disabilities by using a one-size-fits-all family reunification plan, says MSC

The Department of Health and Human Services may not use a standard family plan when attempting to reunify families in probate matters, said the Michigan Supreme Court in In re Hicks, No. 15378.  Specifically, the Court held that the Department has not complied with its duty to make reasonable efforts at family reunification when it fails to modify its services to reasonably accommodate a parent with a disability. 

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