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Incident at Tigers' Game May Lead to Child Custody Law Change

Child custody issues arise in many different forms. One form, of course, is when parents divorce. Another is when unmarried parents split up. In these cases, arrangements for custody and visitation or parenting time must be worked out.

Another form of child custody, however, involves intervention by government authorities to take custody of a child in need of protection.

Changes may be coming in the way Michigan handles protective child custody cases following an incident at a Detroit Tigers game in which a father accidentally gave his 7-year-old son an alcoholic drink.

In 2008 a father attending a Tigers game with his son purchased a bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade for the 7-year-old. The drink is an alcoholic beverage, despite the word "lemonade" in its name.

The father told authorities he did not know the drink contained alcohol. The state's child protective services division, though, took the boy out of his parents' home and kept him in protective custody for two nights. The state then returned the child to his home after determining that the child did not face abuse or neglect.

The father said that the vendors selling the drink did not have signs saying that the beverage contained alcohol. Tests showed that the 7-year-old boy did not have any alcohol in his system before protective services took custody of him.

The Michigan House of Representatives recently voted 106-1 to approve stricter guidelines for placing children into emergency protective services. The state Senate, too, has passed its own version of the legislation. The legislation could soon be sent to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration, once the House and Senate agree on some minor changes.

Source: "Ann Arbor child custody case may spark change in regulations," Ann Arbor.com, 5-23-12

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