Divorce is always difficult, particularly for the children involved. Disputes over child custody and child support are some of the most contentious, but it is important to resolve these issues as peacefully and as quickly as possible to reduce the impact on the children. A Kentwood child custody lawyer will understand that this is an incredibly difficult and uncertain time for you and your children, and will always work in your best interests.
Generally speaking, there are two types of custody in Michigan. These are legal custody and physical custody. Physical child custody is the type most parents think of, as it dictates which parent the children will live with the majority of the time. Legal custody refers to the parent that has the authority to make important decisions for the child, such as what type of medication they will receive and where they will go to school.
The court may divide both physical and legal custody in the same manner, or they may divide them differently. For example, a court may award each parent joint physical custody, while awarding one parent sole legal custody.
Even when one parent is awarded sole physical custody, it is presumed that it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with each parent. As such, even in sole physical custody situations, the other parent is generally awarded some parenting or visitation time. In extreme cases, such as when a parent has a history of domestic violence, the court may award supervised visitation or no parenting time at all. Child custody issues, including visitation time, are always determined according to what is in the best interests of the child.
All parents in Kentwood are expected to financially support their children, even after divorce. The family courts will typically order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to meet this obligation. The court will use a formula to determine how much child support a parent is required to pay. In the event that the court deviates from this formula because it would produce an inappropriate or unjust result, the judge must explain the reason for the deviation.
Orders pertaining to child custody and child support typically remain in effect until the child is 18 years old, or 19.5 years old if they are still attending school. However, Michigan law recognizes that change is inevitable, and so either party may petition the court any time the situation changes, and they need to modify an order. For example, if it was found that the custodial parent is abusive to the children, the other party could petition the court to modify the existing child custody order.
Child custody issues are extremely emotional, and the law is very specific about these disputes. If you are going through a divorce or need an existing order modified, our Kentwood child custody lawyers at Van Den Heuvel Law Office can advise on the facts of your case. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys and to learn more about how we can help.