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In a divorce between a couple with children, determining a child custody arrangement, also known as a parenting plan, is a critical part of the divorce process. A parenting plan determines the time that the child spends with each parent after the divorce and how the parents’ responsibilities toward the child are divided.
There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. In its determination of a parenting plan, the court develops a plan for both types. Physical custody refers to the household in which the child lives, giving that parent the responsibility of providing food, utilities, and household goods. Legal custody refers to the responsibility of making decisions on the child’s behalf, such as how the child will develop academically and making decisions about the child’s healthcare. Parents may be granted joint, or shared, custody in either category or one parent may be granted sole custody in either or both categories. When a parent is given sole custody of a child, the other is often given parenting time, or visitation, to facilitate a relationship between the parent and child.
When determining a parenting plan, Michigan courts work with individuals known as Friends of the Court to make determinations by examining the following 12 factors:
To prove your fitness as a parent, work with your lawyer to provide the court with sufficient evidence that demonstrates your relationship with your child and your involvement in his or her life. This evidence can include testimonies from your child’s pediatrician, teacher, or other adults in his or her life and your child’s medical records. Your lawyer can help you gather this evidence and make use of new evidence that is developed under the court’s order, such as data collected from a psychological evaluation.
Although getting divorced is rarely easy, it can be made much easier by taking the time to educate yourself about all parts of the process, such as child custody determination and property division. To start learning more about divorce and what you can expect from yours, contact our team of Sterling Heights child custody lawyers at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation with us.