Establishing child custody arrangements is a crucial step when determining the rights and duties of both parents following a divorce. According to a recent study on child custody, fathers in Michigan are likely to receive only 27% of child custody time. In every divorce or legal separation, child custody is among the key issues that cause disputes. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the court can step in to determine child custody based on the best interests of the child.
Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg is committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients facing family law matters, including child custody arrangements and parenting time. As an experienced Michigan family law attorney, Steven is available to discuss the details of your case and help you understand all of your legal options. Whether you are trying to establish a child custody agreement, outline your parental rights, or modify an existing custody arrangement, Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg can guide you through the process from start to finish.
Steven is proud to serve clients in Bingham Farms, Michigan, and throughout the surrounding areas of Monroe, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, and the greater Detroit, Michigan area. Call today to schedule your own case consultation.
Before a divorce can be finalized, child custody and parenting time are among the key issues that must be resolved. In Michigan, the court will make custody decisions based on the needs and best interests of the child. With that said, child custody issues are typically either contested or uncontested.
In an uncontested custody agreement, both parents are able to work together, draft mutually acceptable terms, and establish child custody arrangements amicably and efficiently. All terms agreed upon must be documented and presented to the court for official approval. When possible, uncontested custody remains the most cost-efficient and most painless option. An experienced child custody lawyer can help keep the conversation productive so that both parents can be heard and have their needs and desires addressed.
If both parents are unable to agree on a feasible custody arrangement and/or visitation schedule, the intervention of the court may be required. A judge will allow both parents to present their case and establish a custody arrangement based on the needs and best interests of the child. If your custody battle goes to court, an experienced attorney can fight compassionately to protect your parental rights and work hard to improve your chances of achieving the best possible outcome for your case.
In Michigan, custody can be classified as either "sole" or "joint" custody. In a sole custody arrangement, only one parent has custody over the child. Conversely, in a joint custody arrangement, both parents share custody of their child.
If both parents share physical custody, the child will take turns living with each parent. Also, if legal custody is shared by both parents, then all critical decisions about the child’s future and welfare must be made together, with both parties in agreement.
Additionally, custody may be classified into two distinct categories: physical and legal custody.
Physical custody determines which parent the child will live with. The parent with physical custody will handle activities such as preparing meals, bathing the child, taking the child to school, and making decisions about daily activities.
Legal custody determines which parent has the right and responsibility to make important life decisions that impact the child. The parent with legal custody will typically be responsible for making decisions about the child's education, religion, health care, and general upbringing.
Even after a divorce, Michigan courts will encourage both parents to have frequent contact and remain actively involved in their children's lives. According to the Michigan Compiled Laws Section 722.23, the following factors will be considered when attempting to determine custody based on the best interests of the child:
The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between each parent and the child.
The ability and willingness of each parent to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue the education and raising of the child in religion.
The ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with basic needs, such as food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.
The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
The permanence of the family unit of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
The moral fitness of each parent.
The mental and physical health of both the parent and the child.
The child's home, school, and community record.
Any reasonable preference of the child.
The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
Any incidents of domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
Any other factor that the court deems relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
Pursuant to Michigan Compiled Laws Section 722.27a, parenting time shall be granted in accordance with the best interests of the child. In order to determine the frequency, duration, and type of parenting time, the following factors may be considered by the court:
The existence of any special needs of the child.
Whether the child is less than six months old or still nursing (if less than one year).
The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect during parenting time.
The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect resulting from the exercise of parenting time.
The inconvenience to, and effect on, the child for traveling for parenting time.
Whether the court believes the non-custodial parent will exercise parenting time according to the order.
Whether the non-custodial parent has frequently failed to exercise parenting time.
The threatened or actual detention of a child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent during parenting time.
Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
An existing child custody order may be modified only "for proper cause shown or because of a change of circumstances," and only if the modification is in the best interest of the child. Some major life events that may bring about the need to request a change to your existing child custody agreement include:
A loss of job
A sudden change in either party's finances
The other parent isn't holding up their end of the agreement
Relocation of either parent
A change in the child's preference
The death of one of the parents
Determining child custody can oftentimes be difficult for both parents. Establishing parental rights and allocating parenting time with your ex-spouse can make the entire process seem insurmountable. That’s why it is so important to work with an experienced Michigan family law attorney who can go over your options with you and determine how best to protect your family's future.
For more than 20 years, Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg has provided experienced legal counsel and representation to clients facing issues with child custody. As your legal counsel, he will evaluate your unique circumstances, explore all of your available legal options, and guide you through the processes involved with establishing or modifying child custody arrangements and parenting time. Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg will help protect your family's best interests and assist you in any way that he can. Call or reach out today to schedule your own one-on-one case consultation.
If you are considering establishing or modifying a child custody agreement, contact Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC, today for a simple case assessment. Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg can offer you the knowledgeable legal guidance, support, and strong advocacy you need to navigate any key decisions in your case. Steven is proud to serve individuals and families across Bingham Farms, Michigan, and throughout the surrounding areas of Monroe, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, and the greater Detroit area!