Having a child is a life-changing experience. What can be equally life changing is when you and your child’s parent separate or divorce, forcing the question of with whom the child will live. If you have questions about child custody in Grandville or want to fight for the custody of your child, our experienced family law attorneys can help.
Can I Make Decisions About My Child’s Life Even If I Don’t Have Physical Custody?
One major concern for non-custodial parents is whether or not they will be able to make decisions about the child’s life if they are not the primary physical custodian. For example, most parents – even those who do not live with their child – want to be involved in decisions about their child’s education, healthcare, religion, extracurricular activities, and more.
For parents who do not have physical custody of their children, it is possible to still make decisions regarding a child’s life. This is because the state of Michigan has two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Even parents who do not share physical custody may share legal custody, meaning that both parents have the right to be involved in the decision-making process.
Can My Child Decide Where They Want to Live?
Another question that many parents have is whether or not their child can decide where they want to live, or if this decision is the right of the parents alone. The answer is that it depends; a judge will determine whether or not it is reasonable to allow a child to make a decision as big as this. Factors that a judge will weigh to determine reasonability include:
- The age of the child – A child who is of a more mature age will likely have a better understanding of the circumstances, and a better ability to understand and voice their preferences; and
- The history of expressing reasonable preference – A judge will also consider whether or not the child has a “history of expressing reasonable preference,” and whether or not the child understands the choice they are making. This is described in more detail in Michigan Custody Guidelines.
Working with an Attorney Can Be Helpful
No matter the situation you find yourself, whether you are certain a judge will side with you, and regardless of the fact that you and your spouse are in agreement about child custody, you should work with a knowledgeable Grandville child custody attorney. Working with an attorney helps to protect your interests, ensures that you are following all laws and procedures correctly, and provides you guidance regarding disputes and child custody hearings.
At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our attorneys understand the sensitive nature of your situation, and pledge hard work and confidentiality. To learn more about our experience and what we can do for you, contact us today.