How Do I Get Custody of My Child?
Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce or family law proceeding. For a parent fighting to have his or her child placed primarily in his or her custody, it can also seem to be a confusing issue to successfully navigate. In making child custody-related orders, the court is simply guided by 12 statutory factors and told to make a decision based on the “child’s best interest.”
Tips for Succeeding in Your Child Custody Case
Although courts are given a great deal of discretion when determining with which parent the child should primarily reside and which parenting time schedule is appropriate, there are certain steps you can take with your attorney’s assistance to increase the chances of obtaining the child custody arrangement you prefer:
- Have a concrete and fair plan. The court may require you to submit a proposed parenting plan as part of your case, but you should create such a plan even if the court does not order you to do so. Presenting a parenting plan to the court that is workable and that gives the other parent a fair amount of parenting time shows that you have given serious thought to the matter and that you are not attempting to shut out the other parent from the child’s life;
- Make it about the child and his or her needs. When discussing parenting time arrangements and custody orders, your talk should be about the child. Instead of answering “Why do I want my child to live with me?” answer this question: “Why is it best for my child to live with me?” Will you reside in the same neighborhood where your child is accustomed to living? Will the child be able to attend the same school and have the same friends? Have you traditionally provided primary care for your child, especially at night and/or on weekends? Focus your arguments in court on the benefits your child would have if he or she was to reside primarily with you as opposed to the other parent; and
- Consider dumping the partisan witnesses. It is common for parents fighting over custody to bring grandparents, aunts, and uncles to hearings in order to establish what a great parent that particular individual is and how terrible his or her former partner is as a parent. These witnesses are rarely helpful. Instead, consider interviewing and having “neutral” witnesses testify about your child and your relationship with your child. This can include teachers, parents of your child’s friends, neighbors, and therapists.
Seek Assistance from a Michigan Family Law Attorney
At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we understand the stress and angst that accompanies child custody proceedings. We seek to reduce these as much as possible by informing you of what you can expect during the pendency of your child custody case and by working aggressively to present your best case for child custody to the court. Our experienced and compassionate Michigan child custody attorneys are here to assist you. Contact us by calling (616) 698-0000 or contact us through our website to discuss your case with us today.