Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Case Law Developments: Judicial Bias in Custody Decisions

With one judge dissenting, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s parenting time decision on the basis that the judge was biased against mother's status as primary wage earner.  The appellate court provides plenty of details about the trial, which involved fascinating contrasts of cultural perspectives on the role of women.

Peric v. Peric, 2005 Mich. App. LEXIS 2143(August 30, 2005)

Text of opinion on the web at

Appellate court found that the trial court demonstrated a "deep-seated favoritism such that the exercise of fair judgment does not appear possible.”  The court concluded that the trial judge was biased against mother’s role as primary breadwinner and favored her husband’s Eastern European, traditional views.  The per curiam opinion reviews numerous examples of the trial court’s statements evincing bias and its disregard for mother’s evidence of father’s irresponsibility, domestic violence in his parent’s home (where he lived) and other negative evidence.  The court reversed for a new hearing before a different judge. Justice Joel P. Hoekstra dissented.


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