Child Custody and Parenting Time
Child custody resolutions for families
Divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences in one’s life. When combined with child custody disputes and questions, the need for an attorney with specialized skill in the area becomes clear.
At Boyer Dawson & St. Pierre we have guided many families through this difficult process. Our skills go beyond expert knowledge in the points of law. We have an understanding of the human element, and we care deeply that all decisions are made rationally in the best interest of the children.
Considerations for custody
In accordance with state law on divorces involving minor children, a 180 day waiting period is required before the granting of a divorce decree. The court has the option to waive up to 120 days, if it is in the best interests of the minor children and all other issues are resolved. In a contested custody action, the court will review a series of considerations relative to both parents and their abilities to provide for the best interests of the children:
- Love, affection and other emotional ties between the child and both parents
- Capacity of each parent to reciprocate love, affection, and emotion
- Disposition and capacity of each parent to provide guidance and education in his or her religion or creed (if any)
- Disposition and capacity to provide essentials including food, clothing, other material needs, medical care, or remedial care as permitted by Michigan law
- Willingness of each parent to facilitate and encourage the relationship the child has with the other parent
- Incidences of domestic violence, either directed at the child, the other parent, both, or third parties
- The permanence of the existing or proposed custodial homes
- Moral fitness, as well as mental and physical health of each parent
- The current home, school and community history for the child
- Preferences of the child (if the child is determined to be of sufficient age to make such determinations)
- Any other factor the court deems relevant
The crucial role of the child custody attorney
When a family faces a divorce, the complexity of emotions and financial decisions are difficult for everyone. The role of the child support attorney is to negotiate the delicate balance of family dynamics and well-being with money matters that have significant impact on all concerned. Consider these challenges of the divorce process:
- Emotional strain. On parents and the children. Your lawyer must consider how negotiations and agreements will affect everyone psychologically as well as financially.
- Child custody decisions. How a child is parented, logistical arrangements, holidays and where the children go to school all are crucial factors in a divorce. If a parent moves a great distance away, the situation becomes even more complicated. And of course the moral and psychological fitness of a parent needs to be addressed.
Whether your situation is contentious or amenable, our lawyers work diligently and aggressively to protect your rights and your privacy while honoring the well-being of the children first and foremost in all proceedings.
The law provides for legal custody, i.e. who makes the major decisions involving the children, such as schooling, non-emergency medical, religion and other factors. Generally, the parent who has the child makes the day to day decisions concerning the child. Quite often the courts will grant joint legal custody, which means that both spouses are required to attempt to agree as to what is best for the child on a long-term basis. If they are unable to do so, the Court will make the decision, instead of the parents.
Physical custody generally refers to who the child lives with the majority of the time. An Order may provide for joint physical custody, which may or may not mean equal time with the children. Physical custody ties in very closely with the parenting time schedule that the parties have.
Parenting time quite simply is the amount of time that each parent has with the children. Some courts have a minimum parenting time schedules, such as one evening per week, alternate weekends, a number of weeks in the summer and a division of holidays. Generally, the parties agreement on parenting time will be accepted by the court. If there is no agreement, then the court will decide what is best for the children and the parents with respect to how much time each parent will have with the child.
Change of domicile (relocation)
In Michigan when minor children are involved, a request to move more than 100 miles from where the party was living at the time the divorce was commenced must be agreed upon. If the parties do not agree, then the Judge will make the decision on whether or not a party can leave. That often impacts or affects custody and the school the child will attend.
In some instances a parent will want to move the children out of state. The court looks at various factors to determine whether or not the move should be allowed. Such factors include a. reasons why the parent wants to leave; b. the proposed parenting time schedule; c. whether the parent requesting to move will follow the Court Orders; and d. why the other parent is opposing the move.
Experienced, accessible child custody attorney in Sterling Heights
For more information on child custody and other divorce matters, contact the Law Offices of Boyer Dawson & St. Pierre, 43805 Van Dyke Ave, Sterling Heights, MI 48314. Phone: 888-559-4705, Fax: 586-731-6370, by e-mail: [email protected] or contact us online.