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St. Clair Shores Child Custody Attorneys

St. Clair Shores Child Custody Attorneys

When a couple with children divorces, child custody is often one of the more prominent issues to tackle during the divorce process. Custody is refers to the act of actively parenting a child, which includes providing the child with his or her basic needs like food and shelter as well as providing for the child’s social, emotional, and academic growth.

Elements of Child Custody

In Michigan, child custody is divided into two categories of responsibility: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make substantial decisions on the child’s behalf, such as decisions about the child’s healthcare and education. Physical custody refers to providing a home for the child and all that comes with the home, such as food and household goods. Both types of custody can be shared or held solely by one parent.

In most cases, joint legal and joint physical custody are recommended because they enable both parents to remain engaged in the child’s life on a consistent basis. When one parent is granted sole physical custody, the other may have court-ordered parenting time with the child.

Factors Considered when Determining Child Custody

To determine a child custody arrangement, also known as a parenting plan, that serves a child’s best interests, Michigan courts consider the following 12 factors:

  • The emotional ties the child has to each parent;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide loving, strong guidance to the child as he or she progresses academically and if applicable, through his or her religious training;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide the child with food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities;
  • The child’s current living arrangement and its stability. In most cases, keeping the child in his or her existing environment is the best course of action;
  • The permanence of the family unit in the child’s existing and proposed custodial homes;
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health;
  • Each parent’s moral fitness to raise the child;
  • Each parent’s record of involvement with the child’s school and community as well as that of the child;
  • If the child is deemed to be mature enough to form a rational opinion regarding where he or she lives, the child’s preference;
  • Each parent’s willingness to facilitate a healthy, consistent relationship between the child and the other parent;
  • Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence; and
  • Any other factors deemed to be relevant, such as the child’s special needs or previous threats made by either parent.

Working with a Family Lawyer to Reach an Appropriate Child Custody Arrangement

Your lawyer can help you obtain and use evidence to demonstrate your fitness as a parent according to the factors listed above. This body of evidence can include testimonies from your child’s teacher or pediatrician, records of your child’s academic progress, your child’s medical record, and records of previous interactions between you and your former spouse regarding your child’s care.

Work with a St. Clair Shores Child Custody Lawyer

As a divorcing parent, it is important that you work with an experienced child custody lawyer to represent your parenting abilities and your bond with your child accurately so the court can develop a parenting plan that meets all of your child’s needs. Contact our team of St. Clair Shores child custody lawyers at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today to start working with us.

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