What is an established custodial environment?

Where a change of custody is sought, the initial inquiry is whether there is an established custodial environment.

An established custodial environment (ECE)  is an environment of “significant duration in which a parent provides care, discipline, love, guidance, and attention that is appropriate to the age and individual needs of the child. It is both a physical and a psychological environment that fosters a relationship between custodian and child and is marked by security, stability, and performance.” Berger v. Berger, 277 Mich. App 700 (2008).

Determining which party has the ECE is a question of fact. The court may find that an ECE exists with both parents.

For more information regarding the established custodial environment, contact the attorneys at SMDA, P.C. for a free consultation.