Of all the areas in family law, child custody cases tend to be the touchiest. When parents divorce or separate and they have disputes about what is in their child’s best interest, the courts intervene. This can often turn an uncontested divorce into a contested divorce and an attorney is invaluable in sorting these issues out. As a parent, you want to make sure that your child is protected. Having a skilled Michigan child custody attorney can make a world of difference in the outcome of your case. At the Heisler Law Group our goal is to help our clients fight for the client’s view of their child’s best interest.
At our firm, we take on cases and legal matters throughout the entire state of Michigan. No matter how complex or difficult your divorce may seem, an attorney with our firm can help. We understand what you are going through and will provide you with the legal support and representation you need in order to work out the child custody and child support issues you are facing.
Child custody refers to the legal guardianship over the children. In Michigan, there are two forms of custody, legal and physical.
- Legal Custody refers to the child’s Religious, medical, and educational decisions are made by the legal custodian(s). Legal custody can be granted to one or both parents.
- Physical Custody refers to where the child lives. One parent may have sole physical custody, and the other may have parenting time. Or, both parents may have physical custody, which means the child lives with each parent “about” half of the time.
If a parent has parenting time, the visits between parent and child occur on a schedule either agreed to by the parties and approved by the Judge or if the parties can’t agree on a schedule, then just by the judge. Usually it is best for the parties to try to reach an agreement on this issue.
If the parties can’t agree on custody, the Judge must consider:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
- The moral fitness of the parties involved.
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
- The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
- Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
- Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
Our firm can and has even addressed these issues successfully before the Michigan Court of Appeals when there has been a challenge if the judge interrupted the law correctly. We even have on staff a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar.
To change custody, there needs to be a change in circumstances or proper cause. Parents need to understand that the law limits their rights and creates duties when there is a divorce. For example, a party may not simply move with the children anyplace they desire.