Must Michigan Courts Grant a De Novo Hearing Upon Request?

By Member Lawyer

After a referee hearing in Michigan child custody matters litigants usually have the right to request a new hearing before the Judge assigned to the matter if they are not satisfied. What happens if that request is denied? Do litigants have a leg to stand on in an appeal?

In a recent Michigan case, Butters v Butters, a parent filed a timely objection to the result of a referee hearing and requested a new hearing in front of the Judge. The Court denied that request. However, the appeals court overturned that decision noting that the parent had timely filed the objection and that they were entitled to a new hearing, not just a review of the referee’s record. Furthermore the Appeals Court found that it was improper that the lower court had required the aggrieved parent to file a bond which the referee had imposed to ensure cooperation with the custody order. The Appeals Court determined that the bond should be evaluated for reasonableness taking into consideration that a parent’s difficulty in posting that bond may interfere with their parenting time with the child.

If you need assistance with your family law matter, contact Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law.

Trevor Neely
Author: Trevor Neely

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