Opinion & Order
Is Judge Adams A Bad Judge? HELL YES!!!
BTW: Judge adams, You said that neither parent has a monolpoy on telling the truth, I CHALLENGE you to so prove that I told a single lie.
This opinion is proof positive of the biased that I have complained about for years.
STATE OF MICHIGAN
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF WAYNE
LEANDER O. RICHMOND,
Plaintiff, Cane No. 01-138612-DM
my ex RICHMOND,
CHILDERS SHKRELI, PL.L.C.
By: NICOLE M. CHILDERS (P72613)
By: DIANA SHKRELI (P7370S)
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Ford Building. Suite 1105
615 Griswold Street
Detroit, Michigan 48226
(313) 784·9637 (facsimile)
LAW OFFICES OF WAYNE P. KRISTALL
By: WAYNE P. KRISTALL (P24471)
Attorney for Defendant
17200 W. 10 Mile Road, #203
Southfield, Michigan 48075
(248) 440·9097 (facsimile)
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
CHANGE OF CUSTODY AND REFERRAL TO FRIEND OF
THE COURT AS TO CHILD SUPPORT
At a session of said Court, held in the Circuit Court
for the County of Wayne, Detroit. Michigan
ON: AUG 20 20ll
PRESENT: DEBORAH ROSS ADAMS
Hon. Deborah Ross Adams
This case was initiated on November 12, 2001 as a domestic relations divorce
action. An Order of Support was entered on November 27, 2001 . which established
child support and awarded physical custody of QXXX Richmond , born October 16,
2000, to my ex (Richmond) Gates (Mother). A Consent Judgment of Divorce was
entered in the case on May 28, 2002.
The case involves a highly contentious custody matterwith parties who have a long history of major conflict relating to parenting of the subject minor child. On September 17, 2009, Father filed a Motion for Change of Custody seeking a modification of the existing custody order to grant him sale custody of the minor child
based on Mother's alleged neglect of the minor child. Said Motion represented the third Motion to Change Custody filed by the Father since the Court's entry of the original custody order (by consent) in this case on May 28, 2002 (Consent Judgment of Divorce entered by Judge Kathleen McDonald which granted Mother sole physical custody and parenting time to Father (alternate weekends from Saturday until Monday).1
As a result of the filing of the instant motion, the matter was referred to FAME on December 18, 2009, for an evaluation and review of the 12-factors concerning custody
and parenting time. An evaluation of the parties was conducted by Angela Asteriou,
FAME Family Clinician on February 10, 2010. A report was submitted to this Court on
referrals to FAME in 2002 and based on these prior motion filings, Court records show that the 5/21/2002 referral
to FAME was administratively closed on 8/3/2002 due to no payment by either party; the 6/17/2003 referral to
FAME by Referee Lemire/Judge McDonald on Plaintiff's Motion to Change Custody was administratively closed on
8/20/ 2003 due to no payment - no appointment held; 5/14/2004 Motion before Referee Calandro referral to
FAME - 5/14/2004 was administratively closed on 8/10/2004 due to no clinical contact -Incomplete paperwork.
3/21/2005 referral to FAME by Judge William Cabalan re: custody and parenting time - evaluation conducted on
5/3/2005, with report submitted to Court on 9/29/2005; Order entered by Judge Cahalan on 1/17/2006 - Joint
legal custody, sale physical custody to defendant-Mother and specific parenting time to Father (Stipulated Order);
Order entered by Judge John Kirwan on 11/8/2006 amending parenting time and child support - Plaintiff Father to
have parenting time every Thursday, 4:30 p.m. and Defendant Mother to pick up minor child on Sunday, 6:00 p.m.
Child Support modified to $675 .00 per month. Plaintiffs new Motion to Change custody filed 9/17/2009 - Referral
to FAME for recommendation on 12-18-09, evaluation conducted 2/10/2010, initial report submitted to Court on
5/4/2010. Addendum to FAME initial report (A. Asteriou - Family Clinician) submitted to Court 6/29/2010;
Referral to FAME on July 19, 2010 for evaluation by different FAME clinician due to A. Asteriou's alleged bias - by
stipulated agreement/ order and OK of J. Frasik, FAME Director obtained - in lieu of court signing subpoena to
review all of A. Asteriou's case file s. Evaluation concluded 8/4/2010, report of P. wells, FAME Supervisor,
submitted to Court on 11/3/2010.
May 4, 2010. The report recommended modification of the existing child custody in the
case, awarding Plaintiff sole custody of the minor child, with parenting time to the
Defendant. An Addendum to the initial FAME report, containing further review/
application of the 12 factors - and consideration of the established custodial
environment requirement was submitted to the Court (and to the parties) by Ms.
Asteriou on June 29, 2010. The matter was subsequently re-referred to FAME for an
evaluation by another FAME clinician, as a result of allegations of bias on the part of
the original FAME clinician, and A. Asteriou . amidst allegations of her failure to spend
equal time with the parties in conducting her evaluation. (Factoid)The matter was assigned to a
different clinician by FAME Director John Frasik2 and another evaluation of the parties
was conducted on August 4, 2010. A report was submitted to the Court on November
3,2010, recommending joint legal and joint physical custody regarding the minor child,
with specific parenting time to the Father on alternate weekends during the school year,
holiday parenting time, and extensive parenting time in the summer months, and daily
telephone contact with the minor child .
Because of the extreme level of conflict in these proceedings and the severity of
impact on the minor Child, the Court continuously encouraged the parties throughout the
pendancy of the matter to cooperate in parenting QXXX and to work towards a
resolution of their issues absent litigation -- a full evidentiary hearing to determine the
"best interest of the child ." A settlement agreement regarding Plaintiffs Motion for
Change of Custody was placed on the record on May 29, 2011 but was later set aside (FACTOID)
Asteriou', case files to show bias, after communications with J. Frasik, FAME Director, and with attorney's
by the Court. The Court took this to mean no consent agreement regarding the
pending custody motion was actually reached by the parties. Evidentiary proceedings
regarding said motion took place on nine dates in February 2012 and concluding on
QXXX Richmond was born October 16, 2000. QXXX is currently 11 years old.
The parties were married to each other for a short period of time before divorcing on
May 28, 2002. Counsel representing the parties stipulated that there was proper cause
or sufficient change in circumstances to warrant an evidentiary hearing on Father's
Motion for Change of Custody. Generally, in order to establish a change of
circumstances, the moving party must prove that, since the entry of the last custody
order, the conditions surrounding custody of the child, which have or could have a
significant effect on the child's well being, have materially changed. Vodvarka v
Grasmeyer, 259 Mich App 499 (2003). These must not be simply normal life changes,
and there must be at least some evidence that the material changes have had or will
almost certainly have an effect on the child.
In this case, the Court confirms that. since the entry of the initial custody order in
this case, which granted Mother sale physical custody and parenting time to Father,
proper cause a change in circumstances from the time of entry of the original custody
Findings of Fact:
proceedings "for appeal purposes" the next day after placing the purported agreement on the
record and based on the parties' failure to submit an order signed by both attorneys and the
parties that complied with the settlement terms placed on the record by the date set by the Court.
Angela Asteriou Family Clinician FEMC Unit (Plaintiffs Exhibit 34). She testified that
the parties were equal on factors a. b. e. f, h, and I. In her report she said the father
was favored on the other factors not including child preference.
Her initial report was dated February 12. 2010 but was submitted to the Court
and parties on May 4, 20100. It is more than 28 months old . Ms. Asteriou indicated
that she has not reinvestigated since the January 27. 2010 interview date. She testified
that she did not recall how long she spent with the mother but that it typically would
have been around 30 minutes. She recalled that the meeting with the two parties and
her was very brief.
She testified that she felt the mother was deficient in providing for the asthma
care of QXXX. She based this on statements of the Father and Dr. Marcus. She gave
much consideration to the CPS investigations of the Mother even though no abuse was
substantiated nor any official action taken. She indicated in summary that she did not
believe the mother's statements that she gave the child medication as prescribed by Dr.
Marcus. She did not show any knowledge of QXXX's medical condition since January
27.2010. however, she testified as to events that occurred in 2002. 2003, 2004. 2007,
and 2008; no recent update.
She indicated there was a problem with school and medication. Hawver. there
was no documentation provided to the clinician by the school that supports her
recommendation. Ms. Asteriou appeared to take Father's word without verification.
Regarding factor 0 the clinician found that both parties had resided in two homes
during the past 8 or more years. Testimony indicated there was a very short time when
there was a delinquency in paying utilities. The clinician did not provide a basis for
favoring the Father in this factor.
Regarding factor g, the Mother testified that she was taking medication for stress
and anxiety. No finding was made that there was any impact on parenting time to
Father. The clinician did not have knowledge that QXXX's medication has been
reduced since then.
Regarding factor j, there is reference to the show cause hearing over the years.
This is the basis for her finding. The Court has considered these previously and
considered it in rendering its decision in this matter.
Regarding k, the clinician may have relied on outdated information. The Mother
has obtained two PPO's against the father, one lasting a year. A PPO against the
mother from the stepmother was obtained for a year in 2004 . Mr. Richmond has never
obtained a PPO against the Mother. There was at least one police visit to the home of
the Mother. Based on this, the clinician favored the Father. The police visits were not
documented by the clinician and later testimony minimized these events. This finding is the evidence provided.
FINDING: Cross-examination elicited testimony that the clinician primarily accepted theunsubstantiated statements of Father and ignored/dismissed the statements of the Mother. She took little or no time to speak with the Mother. She appeared to have gathered little verification of the facts.
The testimony of Ms. Asteriou is not given great weight because she did not
spend adequate time with all of the parties, failed to document, seemed to rely on very outdated information, and gave the appearance of giving Ms. Gates little consideration. Priscilla Wells Fame Supervisor Defendant's Exhibit B Interview of August 4,2010
She testified that the parties were equal on factors a, b, d, e, f, and h.
She favored factor c for the father primarily on the asthma issue. Assuming
factually that QXXX's medical condition is vastly improved with no incidents of problem for a period in excess of a year, this factor would no longer be a concern for the Supervisor. Ms. Wells did not find that QXXX's blood was drawn by his mother.
Ms. Wells favored 9 for Father but appeared to give very little weight to it. The
Mother was following directives of her family doctor. No evidence was presented
indicating any impact on the child.
Ms. Wells did not address the issue of custody threshold when she made her
recommendation. She did not recommend a change in custody, only an increase in
parenting time for the Father.
She noted that the Father was controlling, inappropriate and exhibited poor
judgment in his numerous sexual behaviors. such as when he required the Mother (Ms. Gates) to perform certain sex acts upon demand. (as reported to her by Ms. Gates). She noted his cheating and his extensive use of pornography. She testified that the Mother indicated the Father was disrespectful and insulting to her.
She testified that the child seems to be doing well in school and the issue of
school absences was not deemed to be a significant issue, No complaints form the
school were presented to her.
The Child was thriving in his current surroundings and there was no need to
make any substantial changes other than having the parents get along better. No
change in custody was warranted as the mother had in effect an established custodial environment that was working for QXXX, according to the FAME clinician,
As a supervisor of Ms, Asteriou, Ms, Wells indicated that she spent a greater
amount of time talking to the parties separately and individually than did Ms, Asteriou.
She was less willing to accept the word of one party over the other, She felt that Father could benefit from anger management and that Ms, Gates should continue to her mental health, (i,e., anxiety, depression) issues, She saw no indication that QXXX was effected by Ms, Gates' mental health and noted that the child did extremely well with his step-father and siblings, She saw nothing in Ms, Asteriou's report that would cause her to conclude that QXXX was not doing well with his Mother, once QXXX's health issues have been appropriately addressed. Ms. Wells was more willing to attribute some of the problem to the lack of cooperation of the parties rather than to one parent. She indicated that much time had elapsed since her report and even more from Ms, Asteriou' report and that FAME input on medical might be less important at this point.
The Court finds the testimony of Priscilla Wells to be very credible and will give
credible weight to the testimony and adopt many of her recommendations, Ms. Wells' opinions are well thought out and relevant and are given considerable weight.
PAUL GATES: He testified that Mother is a very loving and caring parent to all of her
children, including QXXX, He sees affection in both directions between Mother and
son. He testified that the mother helps with school homework and there are no
discipline problems with QXXX. He stated that Qunicy is a very good child and the
child does not exhibit any stress while at the home, Qunicy loves and adores his
siblings. He did not witness the mother attempting to draw the blood of QXXX.
He gave testimony that on June 25, 2009, his wife took a prescription that was
later modified for being incorrect. She acted out through no fault of her own and the
police were called out to the home, There were no problems as a result of this incident between husband and wife relating to the fact that he was hurt by his wife during the incident. He said it was not her fault. There was no prosecution and no court proceedings resulting from the incident.
He testified that on a number of occasions he has witnessed or heard Mr.
Richmon be disrespectful and demanding of his wife and of him, He has learned to
tolerate it to minimize problems for his wife, He testfied that he and his wife are
Jehovah's Witnesses and they regularly attend meetings and try to raise their children in a good moral environment. Mr, Gates played voice mails for the Court showing Mr. Richmond's propensity to swear and be disrespectful -- calling people, him, his wife, his wife's attorney and the others stupid.
The Court adopts the testimony of Mr. Gates in its findings and finds him to be
Rozenia Johnson: She is a neighbor of my ex. She testified that she
sees Ms. Gates three times a week and her family nearly as often. The family works
well and my ex is a good mom to all of her children including QXXX according to
the witness. She observed the Mother spending time inside the custodial home with
QXXX including homework. She has not seen QXXX experiencing problems in the
home. She testified that QXXX appears to be doing well in the home.
The court adopts the testimony of Ms. Johnson in its findings and finds her to be
Teacher Monique Dooley: She testified that she was Qunicy's teacher for Math
and English. She testified that QXXX is a nice child that does not cause problems in
the class and does a good job with his school work. While his attendance includes a
number of absences they have not affected his performance in school and are not a
concern to the school. His homework is not a problem for her but could be a problem
with another teacher, Ms. Andrews, per the report card.
Findings of the Court are that Ms. Dooley's testimony IS credible and her testimony is adopted by the Court.
MICHAEL PETTY: He testified that he helps with return of QXXX to Ms. Gates.
Officer Darryl Lightfoot: He observed slurred speech of Ms. Gates and irregulary body
movements when he came on June 25, 2009. An arrest was made but he is not aware
if anything further action occurred. It appeared to him that Ms. Gates was under the
influence of drugs.
The testimony of the officer is accepted by the court. It may have appeared to
him that physical contact occurred between Ms. Gates and the Mother but no
competent evidence that a crime had been committed in view of other testimony
presented in this case.
LEANDER RICHMOND: He is employed by AD Transport Express and works 8am to 5
pm and his wife is a stay at home mom. His chief complaints relate to QXXX's asthma
condition and the Mother's failure to obey orders of the Court. He claims the mother
does not give the medication to QXXX and does not follow Dr. Marcus's instructions.
He says that he supplied all the mdication to Ms. Gates that she needed. He presented
information regarding the number of vials to demonstrate that Ms. Gates is not providing
QXXX with enough medication. When asked about QXXX's medications, he admitted
that he did not know that hydrocortisone was for treatment of seasonal allergies and not
asthma. He feels Qunicy has had too many asthma attacks and therefore he should
have custody because it is the Mother's fault. He did not testify to any such episodes
since Dr. Marks has been treating QXXX in February 2011 .
He testified that Mother does not properly monitor to see if QXXX is bathed, his
teeth brushed, and properly clothed. This testimony regarding the number of said
instances of these behaviors was limited in terms of time and duration. Most of these
alleged instances came after he questions QXXX about them. He testified that Mother
does not follow the Court orders as written and he produced text messages in support
of his position He complained about missing a few hours of parenting time and
acknowledges that he has received time in addition to the court ordered . He
acknowledged that he did not clearly state that he would not enroll the child in Canton
schools in the fall of 2011 . Confusion about Christmas and Halloween 2011 are major issues for him even though they only accounted for several hours each time.
He testified about not receiving daily phone contact with QXXX but yet admitted that he was not calling QXXX's correct cell phone number.
He testified about QXXX's absences in school but provided no documentation that this affects his school performance. He provided no documentation that QXXX was poorly dressed in school nor that the school complained of his hygiene including bathing and brushing.
Regarding the blood draw incident, Mr. Richmond testified to his outrage
regarding the incident. He did not provide evidence that QXXX was negatively
impacted by this action, however, or that in any way it affected the child·parent
relationship; nor did he say the child suffered pain.
He admitted to having sex with is current wife while still married to Mother.
It is the Finding of the Court that Father had legitimate concerns relative to
QXXX's health but that the health concerns are not currently as significant as he
portrays them. Father's failure to cooperate with the Mother suggests Father is more
interested in using these issues for purposes of "winning" than for the purpose of
helping QXXX --parenting QXXX in a manner that is in his best interests. It appears
that his belief structure requires that decisions involving QXXX should be made by him exclusively and that Mother should have little or no input. There are many examples in the record of how little regard he has for the Mother. Plaintiff nearly had a physical altercation with Mother's attorney in the Court room during the trial.
Findings Re: Father:
His disrespecting FEMC supervisor Priscella Wells on internet.
Contacting Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to take action against Mother on PPO's.
Contacting Chief of Family Court in inappropriate manner during pendancy of case.
Filing bar grievance against the attorney for the Mother.
Inapproriate verbal communication with QXXX.
His making inappropriate and demeaning (offensive) comments to Ms. Gates and Mr.
Gates as evidenced by the voice mails that were listened to in Court; such as "Hey
stupid" dumbasses, "that time of day again", "your attorney is such a retard", "you aren't
goint to do shit", "you blow everything off', "Fuck Judge Adams", "not a fucking secret",
"dufus, "heartless clod", "ignorant mother of my child", "worst mother on the planet"
Father told son they were moving to Minnesota per testimony of the Mother.
QXXX is not allowed to call mom freely per Mother. (FACTOID)
Findings of Mr. Richmond showing his control of Ms. Gates and inappropriate attitude
and behavior towards her:
Uncontradicted testimony of Ms. Gates as follows:
DURING MARRIAGE: Mother testified that she was not allowed to wear make-up
except when he made her go to sex clubs with him
Mother was not allowed to wear necklace because it brought attention to her breasts
Mother was not allowed to go to hair dresser because he told her she could not account
for the time she was gone.
She a 9:00 pm curfew with QXXX per Mr. Richmond.
She was not allowed to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes.
She was not allowed to work.
Her job was to have sex with him when he felt like it.
Her job was to stay home with QXXX.
He made her got to sex clubs where he would pick out the women he wanted her to
have sex with: if there was a woman he wanted sex with she would have to have sex
with the man.
He required her to host and participate in sex parties at home.
Her driving was limited to her aunt and the grocery store.
Plaintiff never cared for or valued her opinion.
Regarding medical: QXXX's asthma/allergy condition is under control and has been for more than a year per Ms. Gates. The medications have been reduced more than once by the treating doctor, Dr. Amy marks, who in her written reports, that are exhibits, indicated how well QXXX is doing. QXXX's asthma is under control. Testimony indicated that when the parents see Dr. Marks that the mother usually asks more questions.
Problems occurred in the past per Ms. Gates because Dr. Marcus did not give
her prescriptions at her pharmacy and because he gave medication to only Mr.
Richmond who did not always give her same. She went to another doctor because Dr.
Marcus was not willing to see her. She testified that Dr. Marcus did not listen to her and
she had no choice but to see another doctor. She disputes Mr. Richmond's testimony
that she did not give medication as prescribed.
Regarding attempt at blood draw from QXXX: Ms. Gates testified that she never
drew blood from QXXX. There is no testimony that said she did. She admitted to
using poor judment in attempting to draw blood and expressed remorse. The child was
not hurt and did not complain.
CPS was told that no blood was drawn as that was the question asked by the
She denies that QXXX has a problem with brushing, bathing, dressing.
Regarding school QXXX is doing pretty well with an occasional problem
handling homework in one class. Mother is working together with him to improve this
area. Attendance has not affected his schoolwork. His average is about a B.
Parent-child relationship is excellent and QXXX gets along well with his siblings.
He goes with the family to Jehovah Witnesses hall. He enjoys his family. Whether it is
schoolwork or play, Mother is there for him. The level of affection between child and
Mother is very high.
Mother testified that the problem in 2009 where the police came out arose
because she was prescribed the wrong medication and she reacted to it. The
medication was changed and that problem was never repeated.
FINDINGS: Together the Mother and Father have been dysfunctional, creating too
much conflict for the child , Neither party has a monoply telling the truth, Sometimes it
may appear that one or both parties would not know the truth if it hit them in their fact.
Regarding QXXX the mother showed poor judgment trying to draw his blood ,
Fortunately QXXX did not suffer in any way,
Neither party had dealt with their disputes in a way that is QXXX's best interests,
The past 17months have shown that cooperation and treatment with Dr. Marks
did work in the best interest of QXXX and that is what is important to the Court,
The issue of giving medications is unclear. The Mother may not be fully believed
and neither is the father, Dr, Marcus last contacted CPS in 2008 and QXXX has not
documented asthma problems since 2009, Therefore, the Court cannot conclude that
Mother's behavior towards giving of medicine is significat enough to disturb the
established custodial environment that exists.
Witness, Dr. Todd Marcus
After a lengthy voir dire, Dr. Marcus was not qualified as an expert, He said that
Mother was not in parental compliance and the failure to comply was not in the best
interest of QXXX. He recalled seeing QXXX in approximately six months ago only for
a physical examination , He remembered nothing about examining him for asthma or
allergy issues then, He did not bring any records more recent than 2009 and could not
say anything about QXXX's asthma for the years 2010, 2011 or 2012,
The Established Custodial Environment
Under the Child Custody Act, the first question the Court must address is
whether an established custodial environment exists with either parent or both parents.
MCl 722.27(1 )(c) provides: "The court shall not modify or amend its previous
judgments or order or issue a new order so as to change the established custodial
environment of a child unless there is presented clear and convincing evidence that it is
in the best interest of the child" The statute then defines an established custodial
environment in the following manner:
"The custodial environment of a child is established if over an appreciable time the child
naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance. discipline, the
necessities of life, and parental comfort. The age of the child, the physical environment.
and the inclination of the custodian and the child as to the permanency of the
relationship shall also be considered. The determination of whether a child has an
established custodial environment is a factual determination of the Court."
determine whether a custodial environment exists under MCl 722.27(A)(c). The
testimony is undisputed that QXXX has lived continuously with his Mother from October
16, 2000 to the present. Mother is his primary custodial parent.
The Court finds that QXXX has an established custodial environment with both
of his parents. While Mother has provided the primary residence for QXXX since birth,
QXXX looks to both of them for love, affection, guidance and discipline. Both have
been involved in his medical treatment and his education.
Since QXXX has an established custodial environment with both parents,
Father's motion for change in custody cannot be granted unless clear and convincing evidence shows that the change is in the child's best interest. Mel 722.27; Duperon v Duperon, 175 Mich App 77; 437 NW2d 318 (1989) .
The Court now turns to evaluation of the best interest factors. As set forth in
MCl 722.23, the best interest factors are:
(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties Involved and the child.
(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stabled, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
The Court shall consider each of these factors, in making its determination on the
Father's Motion to Change Custody. The best interest factors must be evaluated by the
court, but there is no scorecard. Lustig v Lustig, 99 Mich App 716; 299 NW2d 375
(1980). The weight each factor is accorded is left to the court's discretion. McCain v
McCain, 229 Mich App 123; 580 NW2d 485 (1998).
A. The Love, Affection, and Other Emotional Ties Existing Between the
Parties Involved and the Child,
Both parties clearly demonstrate love, affection and other emotional ties
with the child. The Mother has been the primary caregiver for throughout
QXXX's life, the Father has consistently exercised parenting time. There
was no testimony of Mother relinquishing physical custody, nor of QXXX
having only sporadic visitation with Father at any time. (FACTOID)
Love, Education and Guidance and to Continue the Education and
Raising of the Child in his or her Religion or Creed.
It was substantiated that both parents are supportive of QXXX's efforts and
achievements, being actively involved. the Mother assists QXXX consistently
with homework and tutoring, while the Father has exposed the child to
There was testimony that each parent participates in religious service.
although the Mother testified that she and QXXX attend regularly, while the
Father attends only occasionally. There was no testimony that either parent
engages in the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline for QXXX.
This factor favors both parties equally.
C. The Capacity and Disposition of the Parties to Provide the Child with
Food, Clothing, Medical Care or Other Remedial Care Recognized and
Permitted Under the laws of this State in Place of Medical Care, and
Other Material Needs
The Mother is currently a stay at home caregiver and the Father is
employed at XXXXXXXX in an information technology position and
works the day shift, reportedly earning approximately $XX,000.00 per year.
The mother has been previously employed but testified she lost her most
recent employment as a result of having to come to Court so often to deal
with the various issues raised by Father relating to QXXX (parenting time
enforcement, QXXX's medical treatment, FAME interviews and evaluation,
other various motions brought before the Court). Both parties have been
involved in QXXX's medical treatment for asthma and allergies with
continuous conflicts between the parents - with Father alleging the Mother
was neglectful. Dr. Todd Marcus, the child's former general physician,
testified about filing 3200 complaints with Child Protective Services on Mother
in 2007 and 2008 because of QXXX having acute asthma episodes. Aside
from the testimony of Dr. Todd Marcus, who testified briefly at the court
proceedings on June 1, 2012, testimony was unsubstantiated for medical
negligence from 2006-2009 resulting in the Court ordered medical directives,
and holding the Mother in contempt. Complaints to the Department of Human
Services Child Protective Services by the Father against the Mother were
unsubstantiated to the extent that no competent evidence was presented at
the hearing substantiating that any formal neglect charges were initiated
brought against Mother as a result of CPS investigation(s). A change in
medical doctor/pediatrician occurred from Dr. Todd Marcus to Dr. Amy Marks,
an asthma specialist. Dr. Marcus indicated that QXXX did not show any
acute asthma systems when he saw him 6 months ago for a general physical
Testimony substantiated that the Mother exercised poor judgment by
injecting the child with a needle in an isolated incident occurring as part of
practicing for her new job. Mother admitted to this poor choice - to subjecting
QXXX to this highly inappropriate act. The Mother testified that she made this
attempt only on one occasion and has assured the Court that she no longer
engages in this practice. This Court finds that Mother is clearly remorseful about this unfortunate incident, and her poor decision and lapse in judgment. She has presented documentation to the Court evidencing her completion of parenting skills classes. indicating that she is now better educated as a result of the classes she completed.
It has been Substantiated that QXXX's medical health is in good
condition; his asthma/allergy condition is under control and has been for more
than a year, approximately 17 months. Dr. Marks reduced QXXX's medication
more than once, On April 18, 2012, Mother specifically testified that as of his last visit with Dr. Marks in March 2012, Dr. Marks reduced QXXX's medication by 50% due to the child's asthma/allergy systems arresting, Medications are Albuterol and Streizen, an allergy pill of 10 milligrams, and Dr. Marks wanted to see him back in three (3) months.
At the conclusion of the evidentiary custody hearing in this case, there
remained some question as to who would be QXXX's treating physician for his
asthmal allergies condition. Through legal counsel, Dr. Marks sent a letler dated May 22 , 2012 to the Court indicating that she was unwilling to provide future medical care to QXXX due to the apparent escalation of the high degree of conflict between the parents regarding such care. The letler basically indicated that she simply did not want to be put in the middle of or subject to the level of conflict, lack of cooperation, and abuse exhibited by the parents. The Court admonished the parties about behavior causing Dr. Marks' termination of
provision of her services to QXXX, as being detrimental to his overall well being and clearly not in his best interests.
On the final day of proceedings, the Mother testified that she was in the
process of arranging for a new medical specialist to treat QXXX, giving
assurances that she would keep QXXX's medical care current
This factor favors the father.
D. The Length of Time the Child has lived in a Stabled, Satisfactory Environment, and the Desirability of Maintaining
The evidence established that both parents have facilitated a stable and
satisfactory Environment, and the Mother as the established custodial home. Mr. Gates testified that he has assisted QXXX with school work and community activities.
Both parents testified to living in more than one residence in the past 8
years, with Mother testifying to having at least two prior residences before
establishing her current residence Buena Vista Street in Detroit. There was
testimony that Mother allowed utilities to be turned off for a brief period at the
location on at least one occasion. The Mother gave testimony indicating that
QXXX considers her current residence to be his 'home." Mother did not express any intention to move from this location in the near future. Rozenia Johnson, a neighbor, testified relative to the cleanliness and adequacy of the custodial home and to her observations of healthy interactions between QXXX, his Mother and Step-Father and with his two younger siblings inside the home. No testimony was presented at the hearing citing any instances where QXXX's safety or personal well being has been compromised by virtue of living in the present custodial home (location). The current home environment is safe and stable for the child. Testimony indicated that QXXX is provided much love, affection, guidance, moral and spiritual training and educational opportunities within the present custodial home.
This factor favors the Mother.
E. The Permanence, as a Family Unit, of the Existing or Proposed
Custodial Home or Homes.
The Father lives with his wife whom he testified to having a good
relationship with QXXX, and this union has a female child in common, 4 years
old, and Ms. Richmond has 2 minor children from a previous relationship, 2
males, 12 years old and 11 years old, who reside in the home. The Mother lives
with her husband, and their children, a male 5 years old and a younger female
child. The evidence established that QXXX spends quality time with the
maternal relatives, and he is very much bonded and attached to the step·father
and step-sibling, Gates, the Father does take occasional trips out of state to visit
the paternal relatives,
QXXX is acclimated to living with his Mother and step-father, in their
home, and to spending time at his Father's and step-mother's home on alternate
weekends, He has his own bedroom at the custodial residence but has to share
bedroom accommodations with other individuals at Father's residence, There
was no testimony presented indicating Mother's intent to relocate from her
current residence, This factor focuses, not on the acceptability of the home (or
child care arrangements) but on stability, and permanence of the home, Ireland
v Smith, 451 Mich 457; 547 NW2d 686 (1996),
This factor favors the Mother.
F. The Moral Fitness of the Parties Involved
The evidence established that the parties had a history of sexual deviance
throughout their marriage, The Mother testified she was sexually abused and
complied in fear of Domestic Violence, and that there was infidelity on the part of
Father during their marriage.
Testimony substantiated that the Father made disrespectful and inappropriate
remarks about the FAME Supervisor, Priscilla Wells, and placed them on the internet, while the case was pending before this Court, reports that the Father was recording the Court proceedings, on and off the record, and using foul, demeaning, and offensive comments made via email and/or text messaging to others and to Mr. Gates, Mother testified that the child has communicated to her that Father has made disparaging and
offensive remarks about her and other type of females to QXXX (or in front of him) that appear to have had a significant. negative impact on the child (caused him to cry).
Mother admitted to driving the child to school while having open traffic·related
suspensions on her driving record . The Court had entered an Order requiring the Mother to clear all open suspensions and to obtain a valid Michigan operator's license by a specific date. Mother complied with the court order, providing evidence of her compliance at the custody hearing. Neither party admitted to having a criminal record.
This factor favors the Mother.
G. The Mental and Physical Health of the Parties Involved.
Evidence was presented that Father did not comply with a course in anger
management, while the Mother testified that she sough mental health treatment
for anxiety and depression, yet has been unable to participate due to a lack of
insurance coverage; documentation was not presented.
Both parties have made poor decisions as parents, with the Father
refusing to explore, or is unable to effectively address unresolved issues
between Mother and Father.
Both parties are in good physical health. No other evidence was
presented that either party has any mental or physical health problems which
would interfere with his or her ability to parent.
This factor does not favor either party.
H. The Home, School, and Community Record of the Child
The Court does not have a concern with regard to QXXX's academic
progress. QXXX is a very bright young man; he is thriving. His current teacher
testified that QXXX does not cause problems in the class and he does a good
job with his schoolwork. While his attendance record includes a number of
absences, they have not affected his performance in school and are not a
concern to the school. His homework is not a problem for her. The Mother
testified that she would provide further assistance (check his homework every
night in the one class (social studies) the child was having difficulty with. The
child's slight decline in academic performance for the current card marking period is attributed to the impact of court proceedings on him and the uncertainty he feels.
The Mother and Step-Father testified that they have QXXX enrolled in
extra-curricular and community activities, i.e. Karate classes. QXXX is a
friendly, high achieving , well-mannered child . He is comfortable and socially
well-adjusted at his present school.
This factor favors Mother.
I. The Reasonable Preference of the Child, if the Court Considers the
Child to be of Sufficient Age to Express Preference.
that he is of sufficient age to express a reasonable preference. The Court has
taken his reasonable preference into consideration and has given considerable
weight to said preference because of the child's demonstrated level of maturity.
Duperon v Duperon, 175 Mich App 77; 437 NW2d 318 (1989).
J. The Willingness and Ability of Each of the Parties to Facilitate and
Encourage a Close and Continuing Parent-Child Relationship Between
The Child and the Other Parent or the Child and the Parents.
has battled the Mother for primary custody of QXXX at numerous times, since
the parties divorce, filling motions, complaints to DHS/CPS. Mr. Gates testified
that he generally deals with the Father rather than the Mother to lesson conflict.
Mother has testified that Father intimidated her in the past and was very
controlling and non-cooperative. She testified that he thinks, "his way is the only way", and that he views QXXX as a "possession". someone he owns, versus viewing him as an individual in his own right having specific needs that he considers. Father stated during evidentiary proceedings that "the present
parenting time/custody order is "wonderful", he just wants compliance from
This factor does not favor either party.
K. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed
against or witnessed by the child
Mother has made allegations that Father engaged in numerous acts of domestic violence over the years, including intimidation and physical acts of violence against her. The Mother gave testimony that the Father enters her home without permission or authorization. The Mother and Ms. Richmond had an incident of domestic dispute that resulted in the issuance of a Personal Protection Order (PPO).
There was testimony regarding a domestic incident which occurred at the
Mother's home that resulted in police being dispatched to the location.
This factor does not favor either party,
L. Any Other Factor Considered by the Court to be Relevant to a Particular Child Custody Dispute.
The family evaluation reports and testimony of Ms. Angela Asteriou/Family
Counselor and Ms, Priscilla Wells/ FAME Supervisor were considered and
weighed, with Ms. Wells' testimony determined to be more credible. Ms. Wells
has years more experience than Ms, Asteriou dealing with difficult parties. Ms.
Wells spent considerable time with both parties, versus Ms. Asteriou's limited
time with Ms. Gates. Ms. Asteriou's evaluation focused on past behavior of the
Mother relative to QXXX's Medical treatment versus Ms. Wells testifying that
QXXX's medical health had improved in the past year, that QXXX was
appropriately adjusted to the mother's home and parenting time with the Father.
She assessed that the mother did not draw blood from her son, and testified that throughout the evaluation process Mr, Richmond attempted to control the
session inappropriately and exhibited lack of anger management. Ms. Wells
testified that the Father was invested in son and appears to view custody as a
possession, while refusing to build an appropriate parental relationship. Yet, she recommended more parenting time.
Father asserted the Fifth Amendment to the Court's inquiries regarding his
unauthorized recording of court's proceedings.
After a considered evaluation of the best interest factors, this Court finds that
factors D, E, F, and H favor Mother and factor C favors Father. The remaining factors
either favor both parties equally or neither party.
Based upon a review and analysis of the best interest factors, it is the opinion of
this Court that Father has not established by clear and convincing evidence that a
change in custody would be in the best interest of the minor child of the parties.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT the Defendant Father's Motion for Change
of Custody is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT as for parenting time, the parties will
cooperate with one another and that Father shall have liberal and reasonable parenting
time with QXXX, which includes, but is not limited to:
transport QXXX to Palmer Park Academy on Monday mornings in a timely
odd numbered years; Mother shall have one-half of Christmas Break from school which shall include Christmas Day in even numbered years.
include Easter Day in even numbered years; Mother shall have one-half of
Easter/Winter Break from school which shall include Easter Day in odd
numbered years; Parties shall alternate all other holidays.
alternate QXXX's birthday with Father having parenting time on his birthday in
odd years and Mother having even years.
long as the vacation time occurs during the period of time when QXXX is not in
enroll QXXX in summer school as recommended by his teachers,
awarded two (2) make-up parenting time days to be exercised at his discretion,
IT IS FURTHERED ORDERED THAT this matter be referred to the Friend of the
Court for a recommendation regarding child support.