If you have a child and you and your child’s other parent are separating or divorcing, with whom your child will live and which parent will make decisions in the child’s life are two very important matters. If you have questions about child custody in Allegan, our talented Allegan child custody attorney has answers.
Distinguishing Between Child Custody and Parenting Time in Allegan
Unlike some other states, the Michigan courts make a clear distinction between child custody and parenting time. A custodial parent is the parent who is the primary caregiver for the child, is responsible for making decisions about the child (i.e. healthcare, education, religion, etc.), and is the parent with whom the child lives. Both the mother and the father have the right to petition the court for custody in Allegan.
Parenting time, on the other hand, is the term that Michigan courts use to talk about the time that the non-custodial parent spends with the child. It is important that all parties honor parenting time in a custodial agreement.
The Child Custody Act
Child custody can be a very sensitive and emotional issue for all parties involved. While it can be a difficult issue to resolve, parents are strongly encouraged to define the terms of a child custody arrangement themselves, often during mediation. However, if a child’s parents cannot come to an agreement about who should have custody of the child or how parenting time should be divided, the courts will intervene. If the Michigan courts intervene, a child custody decision will be made by weighing factors outlined in the Child Custody Act. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The emotional ties between each parent and their child;
- The ability of each party to provide the child with love and guidance;
- The ability of each party to meet the child’s needs, including food, shelter, and clothing;
- Any history of domestic violence;
- The mental and physical health of each party, as well as parties’ mental fitness; and
- The preferences of the child, if the child is found of a mature age to express preference.
Filing a Motion for Child Custody
If you want custody of your child, you must go through the proper legal channels. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we can help you to petition for child custody for file a motion for reconsideration after a judge issues a decision. With 27 years of experience helping families like yours in Allegan and surrounding areas, our compassionate Michigan family law attorneys understand the nuances of family law in our state and can guide families through even the toughest of child custody situations. For a free case consultation, call our offices today or contact us online.