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154776 - Vanessa Ozimek v Lee J Rogers

Vanessa Ozimek,
 
Anne Argiroff
 
Plaintiff-Appellant,
 
V
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Wayne – Halloran, R.)
 
Lee J. Rodgers,
 
[unrepresented by counsel]
 
Defendant-Appellee.
 

Summary

These two cases concern the definition of “final order” in MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii) as it pertains to a postjudgment order affecting parenting time or a child’s school district. The cases will be argued together. 
 
In Marik, the divorced parents share joint legal and joint physical custody of their twin boys. The defendant father filed a motion to change the children’s school enrollment and to modify parenting time. The Friend of the Court hearing referee recommended that the motion be denied, the defendant objected, and the circuit court denied his objections and his motion. The Court of Appeals administratively dismissed the defendant’s claim of appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that it did not concern a postjudgment order affecting the custody of a minor and, therefore, was not a “final order” under MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii). The Court of Appeals also denied reconsideration. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument to address whether the trial court’s order denying the defendant’s motion to change the children’s school enrollment and to modify parenting time was “a postjudgment order affecting the custody of a minor” and, therefore, a “final order” under MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii).   
 
In Ozimek, the parties share joint legal custody of their minor daughter. The plaintiff mother lives in Livonia, and the defendant father lives in Riverview. The plaintiff filed a motion to change the child’s school to the Livonia district. After consideration of the child’s best interests, the circuit court denied the plaintiff’s motion and ordered that the child would remain in the Allen Park school that she had been attending. The Court of Appeals administratively dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the plaintiff’s claim of appeal. In July 2016, the Supreme Court vacated that order and remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for further consideration. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals again dismissed the plaintiff’s claim of appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding, in part, that MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii), which defines “final order” to include “a postjudgment order affecting the custody of a minor,” does not include orders affecting “legal custody.” The Supreme Court has directed oral argument to address whether the circuit court’s order denying the plaintiff’s motion to change her child’s school district is a “final order” under MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii).