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When a divorce in Michigan involves children, and the parents cannot agree on terms of child custody, the matter must go through litigation. When it is left up to the courts, they will decide on child custody based on the child’s best interests. Anyone going through child custody hearings should speak to a Sterling Heights child custody attorney who can help them get the most favorable terms possible.
The courts encourage divorcing couples to try and come to an amicable agreement regarding child custody. If the parents can do this, the courts will likely approve the agreement. Any plan submitted by the parents must include relatively equal parenting time, and allow each parent the right to contribute to major decisions pertaining to the child.
Sometimes, this is not always possible. In many divorce cases, both parents want sole custody. Sometimes the relationship between the two spouses is very strained and so, they cannot reach an agreement. When this is the case, the matter will go before a judge that will make a decision based on the child’s best interests.
All states decide on child custody matters according to the best interests of the child. However, those standards vary from state to state. In Michigan, the best interests of the child are based on:
Generally speaking, the courts do not want to uproot the life of the child. As such, if the child has lived with one parent predominantly without problems, the courts are hesitant to change those circumstances. Likewise, if a child is very active in their community, the courts will likely not view removing the child from it as being in the child’s best interests.
Once a judge has issued a child custody order, it is final. The only way to change it is to petition the courts to modify it. Like when making the original child custody order, the courts will only modify an order if there is clear and convincing evidence it is necessary. The parent asking the courts to change the order must show there is a meaningful change of circumstance that requires a change in child custody arrangements.
The courts will determine if there is an established custodial environment or an ECE. This is when the child has been in their current home for a significant period of time and has grown accustomed to looking to one parent for support and guidance. If there is an established ECE, it is unlikely the courts will modify the child custody order.
If you are considering divorce and there are children involved, you need the help of our experienced Michigan child custody attorneys. At Iafrate & Salassa, we know how contentious these proceedings become, and we will negotiate with the other side to try and prevent that from happening. We will also represent the rights of you and your child, and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us or fill out our online form for your free consultation today.