Monday, July 26, 2021

Change of Schools?

 By:  Katie Cushman

 This can be a popular time of year for this question, not to mention after a pandemic...

What happens when one parent wants to change the school of the minor child(ren)?  

If the parent has sole legal custody, then that parent has 100% of the decision making power and he/she can make the switch.  However, more typically, parents share legal custody (joint legal custody) and in order to change the school of the child(ren), there either needs to be a) an agreement between the parties, or b) the court must hold an evidentiary hearing.  

An evidentiary hearing to determine a change of schools is known as a Lombardo hearing, based upon the case of Lombardo v Lombardo, 202 Mich App 151 (1993).  This case provides that the trial court must make an analysis of the school choice using the Best Interest Factors (MCL 722.23).  This is far more than just a regular motion hearing, it is a trial-type of event where witnesses and exhibits are presented.  School statistics are reviewed and considered by the court.  Expert witnesses are also utilized in this regard.  

Should you have a school issue brewing in your case, time is of the essence... waiting until just before school starts is a problem -- resolving this type of joint legal custody issue is complicated and takes time and strategy.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Are the Courts open yet?

By:  Katie Cushman



This is one of the most popular questions we get lately from clients (and non-clients!) as things are starting to return to normal.  The answer basically depends upon what county your case resides...

On Monday, June 21, the State Court Administrative Office moved all courts in the State to Phase 4 of their four-phase Return to Full Capacity Plan. The pertinent Local Administrative Orders restricting court activities, including jury trials, were administratively closed and rescinded, and replaced by directives that all Court’s comply with local county health department directives and MIOSHA requirements. MIOSHA, in turn, removed the majority of its mandatory restrictions as well.  With all of this being said, each court is doing things a bit differently.

Macomb County Friend of the Court recently announced that they will continue to conduct all referee hearings, motions, investigations, and enforcement hearings remotely to the greatest extent possible, however the Friend of the Court office itself is open to the public (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) from Monday to Friday.  Enforcement of child support, interstate, and medical can be handled on a walk-in basis. As for matters before a particular Judge, it all depends on the Judge. Their individual protocols can be found here:

Oakland County has resumed in-person jury trials.  As for family law matters, most is still via Zoom.  We expect this to change soon.  Again, it will likely be on a judge-by-judge basis and will depend upon the matter before the court.

As for Wayne County Family Division, it is still 100% Zoom and will likely be that way into 2022.  

Should you have any questions about your particular case, please reach out.  We are happy to answer your questions.