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Sterling Heights Child Custody Lawyers

Sterling Heights Child Custody Lawyers

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.

Elements of Child Custody

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.

Factors Considered when Determining Child Custody

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:

  • The love, emotional ties, and affection that exists between the child and each parent;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide the child with love and support to grow academically and if applicable, through his or her religious training;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide for the child financially;
  • The length of time the child has lived in his or her current household and whether it would be best for this living situation to continue;
  • The permanence of the family unit in each parent’s current or proposed household;
  • Each parent’s moral fitness to raise the child;
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health;
  • If the child is deemed to be mature enough to make a rational decision about where to live, the child’s preference may be considered;
  • Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other and facilitate a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent;
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence with either parent; and
  • Any other details the court deems to be necessary to a specific case, such as a child’s special needs.

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

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.

Work with a Sterling Heights Child Custody Lawyer

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.

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