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Child custody is often the most emotional part of any divorce. It is difficult for children who may not know what their future entails. In addition, it is extremely challenging for the parents, who are unsure how much time the courts will determine they can spend with their children. While families will not receive answers on these issues until the courts make their final decision, there are some general guidelines to follow. A Troy child custody lawyer can provide further insight into specific cases and circumstances.
Michigan legal statutes provide for two types of child custody. These are legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions regarding the child. This can include education decisions, religious upbringing, decisions pertaining to the child’s health care, and more. In most cases, the courts will award legal custody to both parents, as they typically believe this is in the child’s best interests. They also understand that parents should, under most circumstances, have the right to contribute to these decisions. In some cases, however, such as when one parent is abusive, the courts may award sole legal custody to only one parent.
Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to the primary caregiver of a child. In Troy, this is sometimes referred to as a child’s primary residence. When one parent is awarded physical custody, most often the other parent is awarded visitation rights.
When considering both legal and physical child custody, the courts will base their decisions on what is in the best interests of the child. They may award sole custody, in which one parent is the primary caregiver or they may award joint custody. In a joint custody situation, both parents are considered the primary caregivers. When one parent requests joint custody from the courts, Troy courts are required to consider such an arrangement, although they are not required to grant that request.
When a Michigan court issues a child custody order, it is legally binding and both parents are expected to abide by that order. If a parent disagrees with a child custody order, he or she cannot simply ignore it. In fact, doing so could result in serious civil and criminal penalties.
However, circumstances sometimes change, making a child custody order impractical. The courts understand this and so, child custody orders are not necessarily permanent.
In the event that one or both parents wish to modify a child custody order, they can petition the Troy courts to do so. Modifications to child custody orders are possible until the child turns 18 years old, or 19.5 years old if the child is still in school. After a child reaches either of these ages, the child custody order expires.
Child custody issues are some of the most complex of any divorce case. When parents can agree on custody and visitation, the courts will likely accept those provisions as long as they are fair and just. However, oftentimes parents cannot agree on who will have custody of their child. To ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible, those facing a divorce need to speak to a child custody lawyer in Troy who can help.
If you and your spouse are getting a divorce and children are involved, contact Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today. We will fight for your rights in court and provide the legal advice you need surrounding child custody issues, child support, and any other aspect of your divorce. We offer free consultations, so call today, and we will get started on your case.