A Macomb County Circuit Court judge recently awarded custody of 12-year-boy to his 63-year-old grandfather after the child's mother was fatally shot on a Detroit freeway, deciding not to grant custody to the boy's father. Michigan courts typically choose to preserve the parental rights of a child's biological parent rather than transfer custody to a grandparent or other relative, but the father's criminal history and a number of other factors prompted a different decision in this case.
The victim's former boyfriend, who fathered the boy, was found guilty on child molestation charges following his arrest in connection to an incident that reportedly occurred in July of 2012 in another state. He had recently served a 60-day jail sentence and was beginning his five-year probationary period when he appeared at the hearing. He had been granted parenting time following the end of his relationship with the child's mother, but that right was suspended after his arrest.
The judge told the boy's father she appreciated his interest in obtaining child custody, but explained she had decided to grant care of the boy to his maternal grandfather. She cited the grandfather's apparent love and concern for the child, noting he moved into the boy's home immediately after the victim's death. He was quickly appointed as the child's legal guardian and began making plans for securing full custody. The judge explained the grandfather's ability to provide a nurturing and stable home for the boy appropriately served the child's best interests.
The boy's father had been making monthly child support payments of $174 plus medical expenses, but halted those payments upon the slaying of his ex-girlfriend. The judge ordered the man to resume those payments and suggested he seek professional counseling in effort to obtain better control on his life.
Source: Advisor and Source, "Slain Sterling Heights woman's father wins custody of her son" Jameson Cook, Jul. 08, 2013