e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 53596
Opinion Date : 12/20/2012
e-Journal Date : 01/22/2013
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Chakkour v. Chakkour
Practice Area(s) : Family Law, Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam – Stephens, Owens, and Murray
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Divorce; Whether the trial court properly found respondent/plaintiff-wife in criminal contempt for violating the PPO held by petitioner/defendant-husband; In re Contempt of Henry; Porter v. Porter; MCR 3.708(B)(1); MCR 3.708(H)(3); Denial of the wife's motions for makeup parenting time; Borowsky v. Borowsky; The Child Custody Act; MCL 722.27a(1); MCL 722.27a(6); Factor (c); Whether the trial court should have entered a default judgment against the husband; Kowalski v. Fiutowski; Huntington Nat'l Bank v. Ristich; MCR 2.603(A), (A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(2)(b); MCR 2.108(A)(1); MCR 2.603(A)(2)(b); MCR 2.603(B); MCR 2.603(B)(1)(a); "Waiver"; Reed Estate v. Reed; "Implied waiver"; Requirement that the trial court hold a custody hearing; In re AP; Whether the trial court used the correct legal standards for determining its award of child custody; Brausch v. Brausch; Shade v. Wright; Berger v. Berger; Whether the trial court's findings of fact were against the great weight of the evidence; Custodial environment; Rittershaus v. Rittershaus; Whether the trial court properly retroactively abated the husband's child support obligations; Rivette v. Rose-Molina; "Plain error"; Duray Dev., LLC v. Perrin; MCL 552.603(2); Denial of the wife's motion for spousal support; Woodington v. Shokoohi; Claim related to the husband's sale of property he allegedly fraudulently purchased as a "single man"; Alleged bias on the part of the trial judge and hearing referee; MCR 2.003(D)(1)(a); Welch v. District Court; Child Protective Services (CPS)

Summary

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court held that respondent/plaintiff-wife violated the PPO held by the petitioner/defendant-husband. The court also held, inter alia, that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the wife's motion for makeup parenting time. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's order in Docket No. 309854 finding her in criminal contempt for violating a PPO. The court also affirmed the judgment of divorce in Docket No. 310006, but remanded for the trial court to vacate any orders that retroactively abated the husband's child support obligations. The court noted that the wife was found in contempt for violating the PPO held by the husband, not for violating the trial court's 2/10/12 oral ruling, which provided for "curbside" pick up and drop off of the children when the wife exercised her parenting time. Thus, the court held that the wife's arguments that the trial court's 2/10/12 oral ruling was a not valid custody modification, that the trial court erred in not providing her with a written order, and that the order was impermissibly vague, were not properly part of this appeal, as they did not relate to the PPO or the order finding her in criminal contempt. The trial court's provision for curbside pickup was merely to ensure she could exercise her parenting time while still complying with the PPO. Thus, the court only addressed whether there was sufficient evidence to find the wife in criminal contempt for violating the PPO. The husband testified that the wife entered his apartment. Thus, she violated the PPO. The trial court's decision to deny the wife parenting time focused on factor (c) - the "reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time." The trial court concluded that the wife continued to have anger management issues, even after completing a court-ordered anger management program. The trial court characterized her actions in disciplining the children "as 'wreaking vengeance' on them for their misbehavior" and said that she had "an 'antagonistic approach' to her children." The trial court also discussed the wife's "lack of stability and self-control and other mental health problems," as evidenced by her filing a false CPS report that the husband had sexually abused one of the children. The court concluded that the trial court's findings were supported by the evidence. As to the husband's child support obligations, the court noted that the 2/2/12 order abated his child support beginning 8/1/10 and thus, clearly retroactively modified the prior support order, which was legally impermissible. Thus, that order had to be vacated.

Full Text Opinion