There are 12 best interest factors for assisting the courts in determining which parent and home might be better suited to raise a child. Our judge didn't really care to much for the facts surrounding each factor. Here is an example of how she opined factor D.
The COURT says:
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 Q 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 Q 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 Q, 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 Q'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 Quincy is provided much love, affection, guidance, moral and spiritual training and educational opportunities within the present custodial home.
This factor favors the Mother.
What Really came Out In Court:
The trial court's finding that factor (d) favored the Defendant is against
the great weight of the evidence and the record supports the conclusion that the
evidence clearly preponderates in the direction that this factor should favor
Factor (d) involves the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
The trial court made specific findings under this factor that are unsupported by the record. Specifically, the trial court's findings that "the evidence established that both parents have facilitated a stable and satisfactory environment,,, and the trial court's further express finding that "no testimony was presented at the at the hearing citing any instances where [the child ' s] safety or personal well-being has been compromised by virtue of living in the present custodial home (location) are both against the great weight of the evidence. The evidence adduced not only supports the assertion, but concrete conclusion that the Defendant's home is not only unstable and unsatisfactory environment, but also an absolutely unsafe environment for the minor child.
The testimony established that the Defendant's home for the minor child was blighted and condemned by the City of Detroit on September 15, 2010, citing several violations including, defective roofing material, defective/missing gutters, defective/missing garage members, defective/missing porch and step members, defective or missing front porch, stairs, decking, rails posts ceiling and skirting. This evidence did not evade the trial court 's attention, as the trial court, in one its many attempts to downplay the significance of the evidence admitted against the Defendant, expressly commented, "I mean, every house-counsel, the reason why this is important is practically every house in the city has a - I mean my house has violations on it. Further, Defendant's own testimony, as well as her admissions to both Angela Asteriou and Priscilla Wells, established that she had allowed the utilities in her home to be shutoff on more than one (I) occasion for non-payment of the bill.
Further testimony and evidence established that the minor child's safety was certainly at risk in the Defendant's home, as the Defendant's home is the place where Defendant brought home the blood-drawing kit from her previous place of employment and used the needles and other equipment to practice her blood-drawing techniques on the minor child. Moreover, Priscilla Wells unequivocally testified that if it were true that Defendant was practicing blood-drawing techniques on the child (i.e. inserting a needle into the child's arm in an attempt to get some blood out of his arm) it would "gravely concern her." Priscilla Wells further testified that that conduct alone, even if it only occurred one (1) time, would serve as a basis to modify custody.
Additional testimony established that the Defendant had been married a total of four (4) times, twice since the entry of the last custody order, and divorced once since the entry of the last custody order. The Defendant further testified that she and the minor child had moved in with her current husband before she was divorced from her previous husband because she had conceived (and ultimately gave birth to) a child before she was divorced from her previous husband.
In contrast, the evidence established that the Plaintiff remarried five (5) years ago, to his current wife, who he began dating in August 2001, when the child was still an infant. The Plaintiff resides with his wife, their daughter and his two (2) stepchildren in a home in Canton, Michigan. He and his family, as well as the minor child when he is in Plaintiffs care, attend church at (Removed) every week. Unlike the Defendant, the Plaintiff has never allowed the utilities in his home to be shut-off for non-payment. Further, Plaintiff has been employed at (company removed) and has maintained that employment for twenty (20) years; while the testimony established that Defendant is currently unemployed and has an unstable employment history.
Comparing the evidence of Plaintiffs stable, safe and satisfactory environment to the overwhelming evidence of Defendant's extreme instability and unsafe environment, the trial court's finding that factor (d) favored the Defendant is against the great weight of the evidence, as the evidence clearly preponderates in the finding that this factor should favor the Plaintiff and Plaintiff requests that this Court set aside the trial court 's finding
as to this factor.