With the change in economy and job situations, child support payments are not always predictible. Parents are sometimes having to find new and different sources of income to make ends meet. Especially when left with a house that no longer needs the space requirements of the entire family, the parent that remains in the home will find extra costs and no way to cover the expenses. One way that is becoming more and more common is to take in boarders to fill an extra bedroom or basement living area.
Of course, this new situation could cause the other parent to cry fowl when kids are present. Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals looked at such a situation. In that case, the father claimed that he should gain custody of the children because the mother and taken in 2 boarders to help with the mortgage payment and other expenses where the child support did not meet her obligations.
The father asserted that this amounted to a change in circumstance in that the child was being subjected to an erratic change in residence, as well as other changes in living style. The mother claimed that she took in the boarders, a police officer and an Air Force member, after checking references and completing a screening process. She further testified that the interaction between the boarders and the child was almost nothing.
Before modifying a child custody order, the court must determine that the moving party has demonstrated either proper cause or a change in circumstances sufficient to warrant reconsideration of the custody decision. In this case, the father was required to show that the conditions of the child, or children, which could have a significant effect on the childs well-being have materially changed.
While the trial court decided that this was a big change and compromised that the child space and privacy, the Court of Appeals held otherwise. They determined that the testimony established almost no interraction between the child and the boarders and, therefore, the impact was minimal. They concluded that there was no change in circumstance that would warrant any change in custody.
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