Child custody often creates tension and stress for parents who are pursuing a legal separation or divorce. Custody issues are central to many legal battles for divorcing couples. A skilled Michigan child custody attorney can help streamline the custody process for you and protect your interests both in and outside the courtroom. If you have questions about child custody, the knowledgeable custody attorneys at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office have answers.
Custody is divided into two categories; legal and physical. Legal custody involves crucial decisions for your child, for example, those concerning health care, religion, education, and general welfare. If parents have joint legal custody, they both have the right to make these kinds of decisions. Still, they should discuss matters with the other parent before making significant decisions. With sole custody, one parent has the responsibility and authority to make all the decisions for the child.
Physical custody concerns where the child resides. Joint physical custody provides for the child to live with both parents, although one usually has primary custody. With sole custody, the child only lives with one parent. However, the other parent might have scheduled parenting time or visitation rights. A Michigan child custody lawyer can explain more about these potential options.
Visitation in Michigan is now called parenting time. It is court-ordered time that allows each parent to spend time with their children. Keep in mind that whenever possible, the courts want children to have a relationship and to spend time with each parent. They might award the parents joint custody in which the child lives with one parent but has a visitation schedule to spend time at the other parent’s home.
A parenting plan, sometimes called a parenting time agreement, details each parent’s scheduled time with the child. It’s an agreement between the two parents that the judge signs.
It’s always best if parents can agree, although that isn’t always possible. If they can’t, there will be a court trial. Each parent or their Michigan child custody attorney on their behalf can submit evidence as to why their desired custody arrangement is in the child’s best interests. The judge might agree that one parent’s proposed custody arrangement is best for the child, or they might come up with their own.
Sometimes issues come up that require either a temporary or permanent change to the parenting plan. In these cases, you can talk to your child’s other parent to see if you can agree on a new arrangement. If so, you just need the judge to sign it. However, if you can’t agree, then you must petition the court for a change. Valid reasons to ask the court to modify a parenting plan include job or significant schedule changes or a move.
Child custody matters bring up many questions and concerns. The knowledgeable Michigan child custody lawyers at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office know that you need prompt and straightforward answers. They strive to provide those answers and to support you in any way they can. To learn more about the legal services we offer parents, contact us today.
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