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While many people hear the term ‘family law’ and automatically think of divorce, the reality is that this area of the law covers a wide range of legal issues. For instance, child custody matters, adoption, and establishing paternity are all decided in family law courts.
Family law matters tend to be both complicated and emotional, so if you have questions or concerns about divorce, establishing paternity of a child, adoption, or child custody, it is critical to speak with an experienced Warren family law attorney who can explain your legal options.
Of the many types of legal matters that are decided in family law courts in Michigan, child custody-related issues tend to be the most complicated, as they require judges to conduct a strict and fact-specific analysis of what would be in a certain child’s best interests. When making this determination, courts take into consideration a number of factors, including a child’s school, home, and community record, the distance between the parents’ homes, the child’s relationship with each party, and if the child is considered mature enough to make a reasoned decision, his or her wishes.
After assessing these factors, courts will divide custody into legal custody and physical custody, with the former referring to the right to make childcare-related decisions and the latter referring to the amount of time actually spent with the child. It is also important to keep in mind that many families are able to avoid leaving this important decision in the hands of a judge by coming to an out-of-court agreement.
Establishing paternity comes with a number of important implications. For instance, the law requires both of a child’s parents to provide that child with financial support, so even if a couple does not live together, both parties are still required to provide financially for that child. Children also have the right to certain benefits from their parents, including health insurance and the right to inherit under the laws of intestacy. These benefits can make all the difference for a child if one parent passes away or becomes disabled.
Before a child can begin taking advantage of these benefits, paternity must be established. When a couple is married at the time of a child’s birth, then the mother’s husband is automatically considered to be the child’s legal father. When a couple is unmarried, however, parents must establish paternity, either voluntarily, or through a court order after undergoing genetic testing.
In Michigan, individuals who wish to adopt a child have a number of different options. For example, some adoptions are private and are handled by an independent agency or a lawyer, while others involve a state agency like the Department of Human Services. However, most adoptions fall under one of the following categories:
To learn more about adoption in Michigan, please contact our legal team today.