FIT PARENT issue of first impression. 6/13/17

Presented here by Flint Divorce Attorney Terry R. Bankert. (810) 235-1970.

“In this case, Geering and King each signed affidavits stating, in relevant part, that, as fit parents, they opposed an order regarding grandparenting time. ”

(See Geering v King and Robinson Michigan Court of Appeals Published 6/13/17, e-journal #65373)

“Therefore, it was and remains their position that the circuit court was required to dismiss Robinson’s motion for grandparenting time pursuant to MCL 722.27b(5). ”
“Robinson, on the other hand, contends that the circuit court was not required to dismiss his motion because one or both parents were unfit. ”

“Consequently, the issue before this Court focuses on the interpretation and application of the term “fit” as used in MCL 722.27b. The Child Custody Act, MCL § 722.21 et seq., including the definitions provision of that act, MCL 722.22, does not define the terms “fit” or “unfit” in this context.”
” It also appears that neither this Court nor our Supreme Court have defined the term in this context. However, the United States Supreme Court, in Troxel v Granville, 530 US 57, 68; 120 S Ct 2054; 147 L Ed 2d 49 (2000), defined a “fit” parent as a parent who “adequately cares for his or her children[.]” It did so in the context of determining whether statutes allowing for third-party parenting time must afford deference to the children’s parents. It held that they must. Id. at 68- 69. That decision led this Court to declare a previous version of our state’s grandparenting time statute unconstitutional, DeRose v DeRose, 469 Mich 320, 333-334; 666 NW2d 636 (2003), and it was the Troxel and DeRose decisions that ultimately led the Legislature to amend MCL 722.27b to its current form, Brinkley, 277 Mich App at 28-29. ”

“It is well established that the Legislature is presumed to act with knowledge of current judicial interpretations, Gordon Sel- Way, Inc v Spence Bros, Inc, 438 Mich 488, 505-506; 475 NW2d 704 (1991), and, “[w]hen statutory provisions are construed by the court and the Legislature reenacts the statute, it is assumed that the Legislature acquiesced to the judicial interpretation,” GMAC LLC v Dep’t of Treasury, 286 Mich App 365, 373; 781 NW2d 310 (2009). For these reasons, we choose to incorporate the definition of the term “fit” as set forth in Troxel—as a parent who “adequately cares for his or her children”—to MCL 722.27b.”see cute above @TerryBankert.

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