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In a divorce between a couple with children, child custody can easily become a contentious issue. When determining a child custody arrangement, also known as a parenting plan, the court uses a set of factors to determine the right balance of sole and joint legal and physical custody for a child’s well being. If you are a parent considering filing for divorce or you have already done so, work with an experienced child custody lawyer to familiarize yourself with the process the court uses to determine a parenting plan and how you can demonstrate your fitness as a parent during this process.
In Michigan, there are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the act of providing a home for the child and all that comes with the home, such as food, household necessities, and day-to-day living costs. Legal custody refers to the right to make substantial decisions on the child’s behalf, such as decisions about the child’s healthcare and his or her education.
The court can grant parents joint custody in either category or give one parent sole custody in one or both. For example, the court may determine that a child would benefit most from his or her parents having joint physical custody, but one parent having sole legal custody.
To determine a child custody arrangement, also known as a parenting plan, that serves a child’s best interests, Michigan courts may consider any of the following:
Other factors, if deemed relevant, may be considered as well.
Work with your lawyer to be actively involved in the court’s decisions regarding your child’s custody. You may be asked to undergo a psychological evaluation or meet with a counselor as part of the custody determination process. To aid in the court’s determination, a party known as the Friend of the Court will use data collected about you and your former partner to make a determination using the factors listed above. Your lawyer can guide you through all interactions with these parties.
Divorce is rarely easy. When a child custody determination is part of the divorce process, it can be even more stressful. Make your custody determination easier by working with an experienced child custody lawyer. Contact our team of Bloomfield child custody lawyers at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today to start working with a member of our firm.