e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 10967
Opinion Date : 07/24/2001
e-Journal Date : 07/26/2001
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Foskett v. Foskett
Practice Area(s) : Family Law
Judge(s) : Kelly, Hood, and Doctoroff
Full Text Opinion

Divorce; Order changing physical custody; Established custodial environment; Evidentiary standard; Best interest factors; In camera interview with the minor children


The trial court's finding that there was not an established custodial environment with either parent was against the great weight of the evidence. The trial court merely formed an "impression" regarding the alleged problems in the mother's home after an in camera interview with the three children. The court found that the record supported an established custodial environment with both parents, which could not be disrupted except on a showing by clear and convincing evidence that such a disruption was in the children's best interests. There was very little evidence in the record regarding the trial court's decision on the best interest factors. It seemed that the trial court's in camera interview strongly influenced, if not completely determined, its factual findings on all of the best interest factors. The court concluded that that there must be a modicum of extraneous testimony on the record that would support the veracity of the information obtained in the in camera interview with the children. Reversed and remanded.

Full Text Opinion