Foster v. Wolkowitz
Foster v Wolkowitz is a case centered on the interpretation of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act (the "UCCJEA"), and as such, it is one of the few such cases to reach any of the highest courts in any state in the United States. The Michigan Supreme Court on December 16, 2009, granted leave to appeal in Foster v. Wolkowitz, Case No. 139872. On appeal, the Court ordered the parties to address (1) whether the Court of Appeals erred in relying on the Michigan Acknowledgment of Parentage Act (“MAPA”), MCL § 722.1001, et seq., rather than the UCCJEA, MCL § 722.1101, et seq., to determine that the Monroe Circuit Court had jurisdiction over this child custody dispute; (2) whether, if the Court of Appeals correctly relied on the MAPA, the statute violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the Michigan and United States Constitutions by creating a suspect class of unmarried fathers who are treated differently from married fathers; and (3) if Illinois is the “home state” of the child under the UCCJEA and therefore properly has jurisdiction over this dispute, whether Michigan is nonetheless a more convenient forum for resolution of this case.
Securing a Grant of Leave to Appeal
Once the Michigan Court of Appeals publishes a decision on case, a party to the case may ask the Michigan Supreme Court to hear the case. The party wishing to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, the highest court in Michigan, does not have an absolute right to appeal, but must file an Application for Leave to Appeal (the "Application"). Upon reviewing the Application, the Court may grant leave to appeal, which means it will hear the case. If it denies leave appeal, then it will not hear the case and the lower appellate ruling will remain in effect.
In Foster v Wolkowitz, the defendant filed an Application for Leave to Appeal, and the Court issued an order granting leave to appeal.
Amicus Brief Submitted by the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan
The Family Law section of the State Bar of Michigan submitted an amicus brief to the Michigan Supreme Court. In its amicus brief, the Section took the Appellant-father's position in each of the two issues it addressed in its brief. Further, the Section recommended that the Michigan Supreme Court reverse the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals in which that lower court retained jurisdiction of the case even though the trial court in Monroe County, Michigan, failed to apply the UCCJEA in this child custody jurisdictional dispute.