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Child custody is often a part of divorce proceedings in Bloomfield Hills, but the issue arises during family support cases and paternity cases, as well. When the parents can agree on the matter of child custody and draft a parenting plan that abides by the laws of Michigan, a judge will generally approve the agreement. However, this often is not the case in child custody matters. This is easily one of the most contentious issues in family law. When the parents cannot agree, the matter will go before a judge that will make the final decision.
One small mistake in a child custody case can cost a parent greatly. It is important that any parent entering a child custody dispute speaks to an experienced Bloomfield Hills child custody attorney.
Any child custody agreement will include two main types of custody. Legal custody is the ability to make decisions for the child. These can include how the child is raised, what religion they will be raised in, and educational decisions.
Physical custody refers to where the child will live, and which parent he or she will spend the most time with. Joint custody is when both parents are awarded partial custody. That does not always mean that it will allow for equal time with each parent.
When a parent is awarded sole custody, it means that they are the primary parent for the child. The child will live primarily with that parent, and that parent will make all decisions regarding the child. Even in these situations, judges typically try to arrange a visitation agreement with the other parent.
When considering each of these factors, a judge will always keep in mind what is in the best interests of the child.
Once a judge issues a child custody order, that order is final. Any deviation from the plan the judge has created can result in serious consequences for the parent responsible, such as being held in contempt of court. However, Michigan law recognizes that circumstances sometimes change and this sometimes means a custody order needs to be modified. When this is the case, the parents can petition the court to modify the order.
In order to modify a child custody order, the parents must prove that the circumstances have changed substantially. A parent may relocate, or one parent may suspect the other of domestic violence. When a child reaches a certain age, usually above the age of 13 or 14, their preference is also given greater consideration. As when determining which parent to award custody originally, a judge will always consider the child’s best interests when modifying a child custody order.
If you are about to enter a child custody dispute, there is too much on the line for you to go it alone. Call a child custody attorney in Bloomfield Hills that can advise on your case. At Iafrate & Salassa, P.C., we want to help you get the most favorable child custody terms possible. Whether you are going through a divorce, have opened a paternity case, or need to modify a current order, we can help. Call us today or fill out our online form for your free consultation.