Child Custody and Parenting Time
The child custody process is often the most emotional and stressful aspect of a family law case. While you can regain lost assets, you can never get back time lost with your children. At KI Law, our child custody attorneys will walk you through the process and develop a custom strategy for your case. We are committed to protecting our clients’ parental rights and the best interests of their children. Speak with a Michigan child custody and parenting time attorney at KI Law today to find out how we can help you.
TYPES OF CUSTODY
There are two types of child custody — legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody is the power to make important life decisions for your child, such as health care, education, religious upbringing, and general welfare. Joint legal custody gives both parents the right to participate in these decisions. Sole legal custody gives one parent full power to make all decisions.
Physical custody is where the child physically resides and may be shared evenly or with one primary parent. If the court determines that primary physical custody would work best with one parent, the other parent is typically granted overnight parenting time or visitation rights.
Parents have an opportunity to negotiate a custody and parenting time arrangement that best fits the family’s needs. If an agreement between the parents cannot be made, a judge will make the decision for you based on the many factors outlined below. At our law office, we try to facilitate the parent relationship and urge parents to work together, because parents know the unique need of their children better than anyone else. However, if a fight ensues, we will be vigorous advocates for your parental rights.
CHILD CUSTODY FACTORS
The Michigan Child Custody Act requires the court to evaluate each parent’s ability to care for their children when making a ruling on child custody. In doing so, judges are required to follow the “Best Interests of the Child Test” and analyze the following 12 factors:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
- The moral fitness of the parties involved.
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
- The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents. A court may not consider negatively for the purposes of this factor any reasonable action taken by a parent to protect a child or that parent from sexual assault or domestic violence by the child’s other parent.
- Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
- Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
PARENTING TIME FACTORS
Michigan law recognizes that it is in the best interest of a child to have a healthy relationship with both parents unless one parent is abusive or unfit. In determining the duration, frequency, and type of parenting time, the Court will consider the following factors:
- The existence of any special circumstances or needs of the child.
- Whether the child is a nursing child less than 6 months of age, or less than 1 year of age if the child receives substantial nutrition through nursing.
- The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.
- The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time.
- The inconvenience to, and burdensome impact or effect on, the child of traveling for purposes of parenting time.
- Whether a parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.
- Whether a parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time.
- The threatened or actual detention of the child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent or from a third person who has legal custody. A custodial parent’s temporary residence with the child in a domestic violence shelter shall not be construed as evidence of the custodial parent’s intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent.
- Any other relevant factors.
Custody and parenting time battles can be complex. The courts will take many factors into consideration and these matters may have lasting ramifications on any family. At KI Law we understand the seriousness of these issues and are devoted to providing you with the representation necessary to give you the outcome you desire. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Your case is important to us. Whether it is a simple question or a serious inquiry, we are here for you. You can call us by phone or email us directly.
5700 Crooks Road, Suite 200
Troy, Michigan 48098