Child Custody Trial

Who is involved?

If you made it past the hearing at the last stage, testimony will be taken at an evidentiary hearing in front a referee, Scott T. Beatty. The same people are involved here as are in involved at the last stage.  The Friend of the Court will usually attend this hearing.

Where do I go?

This hearing is usually in the same place as the last hearing, in the Charlevoix County Circuit Courtroom.

What is the Process?

This is a hearing where witnesses are called, provided the person that filed the motion calls witnesses.  If they don’t call witnesses (which I have seen before), their motion will be dismissed.  All parties are expected to follow the rules of evidence at this hearing as if you were an attorney and to know the Michigan Court Rules, which govern the process.  However, most of the time the judge will not pose objections for you or make the other party follow the rules of evidence.  So if you don’t know what evidence is admissible and how to object when the other side is presenting their case, the judge may consider evidence that never should have come in.  If it comes in without objection, the objection is waived for purposes of your case and any appeal.

The person that filed the motion is asked to present their case first and is expected to know the rules.   If you do not, the judge won’t listen to you.  You must now present evidence to satisfy the burden of proof in your case.  The standard varies depending on whether this is a motion to change custody, a motion to establish custody, a motion regarding parenting time, a motion for specific parenting time, or a motion for child support (or some other kind of motion).