In a new opinion issued on June 29, 2017 by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the COA admonished the trial court for apparently putting the issue of docket control ahead of the lawful exercise of the court's powers under the Child Custody Act. Fante v Nova, Docket Nos 334735; 336085 (Consolidated on appeal)
The defendant father appealed orders of the trial court modifying custody of the parties’ children to “return” sole physical custody to plaintiff mother after the children had spent more than a year in defendant’s sole care. The Court later dismissed defendant father’s motion to modify custody when he did not appear for a hearing, and later denied the father's renewed motion to modify custody and parenting time. He appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The COA vacated and remanded, requiring the trial court to hear the father's motion to change custody. This Court of Appeals Opinion concisely and clearly sets out the approach a trial court must take in a contest custody and/or parenting time case. It is an excellent summary of how these cases should proceed.