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Michigan Supreme Court Says Children In Custody Battle Will Stay With Foster Family

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered a grandmother to return four children who are the center of a custody dispute to their foster family while it decides whether to take the case.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta reports.

The Michigan Court of Appeals awarded custody of the four children to their grandmother last June. The court said Michigan law automatically gives preference to relatives when parents’ rights are terminated – especially relatives with an existing relationship with the children. In this case, the appeals court found the grandmother, who lives in Florida, is in good health, is employed as a registered nurse, and can meet the children’s needs. But the Muskegon County prosecutor and a court-appointed guardian argued the children were already in a stable environment with a foster family and shouldn’t be moved.

In a brief order and without further explanation of its reasons, the Supreme Court said the children should be returned to the foster family they were living with while it makes further decisions in the case, including whether to hear the appeal.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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