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When a divorcing couple has one or more minor children, a child custody order is part of their divorce settlement. This is the document that outlines the time the child will spend in each parent’s home and each parent’s responsibilities for the child in the years following the parents’ divorce.
A child custody order can be modified when it no longer suits a child’s needs. When parents agree to a modification, this is a simple process. When a parent contests a proposed modification, the parent seeking the change must demonstrate to the court why the proposed new plan is in the child’s best interest.
Child custody has two components:
Parents can have joint custody in either or both categories, or one parent can have sole custody in either or both categories. When the court determines the right physical and legal custody arrangement for a child, the resulting order is known as a parenting plan.
Michigan courts use a set of criteria known as the “12 Best Interest Factors” to determine the most appropriate legal and physical custody arrangement for a child’s needs. As their name suggests, these factors are meant to help the court determine the child’s best interest and craft an arrangement that serves them.
The factors are:
As a parent, your child custody arrangement is likely the most important part of your divorce settlement. Work with a family lawyer who can be your advocate and work on your behalf to seek an appropriate custody arrangement for your child. To get started with our team at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C., contact our firm to set up your free legal consultation in our office.