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Bid to remove allegedly biased judge in child custody case denied

A couple months ago, we wrote about an ongoing child custody dispute here in Michigan involving a father whose children were ordered to participate in controversial reunification therapy in order to heal parental alienation perpetrated by the mother. The mother in the case was not happy about this decision, or the way the case was being handled in general, and subsequently moved to have the judge removed from the case.

Her allegation was that the judge was showing bias toward the father in the case. The motion ended up being unsuccessful, with a supervising judge saying there was no evidence the judge was biased in the case. The likely explanation is that the mother feels helpless in her fight to keep the children away from their father. The judge handling the case said that the case was a tie for the worst parental alienation case she has ever had.

While bias was determined not to be at play in this case, it can happen, at times. Identifying bias is not always an easy matter, though, because judges have a good deal of discretion in child custody cases when it comes to making best interests determinations. What looks like favoritism toward one or another parent may only be the judge making an informed decision based on what he or she believes is truly best for the child.

If, however, a parent in a custody dispute suspects that a judge may be biased or abusing his or her discretion, it is important to explore the issue with an experienced attorney and take appropriate action. In our next post, we’ll speak a bit about some of the signs of potential judicial bias in the context of child custody disputes. 

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Bid to remove allegedly biased judge in child custody case denied | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC