Detroit, Michigan, Child Custody Attorneys
Divorce or separation can have a profound effect on the children involved. At the Schwartz Law Firm in Farmington Hills, we believe that it is important to resolve child custody disputes as quickly and peacefully as possible to avoid further turmoil for the children.
We can help you and your family through this difficult time. We understand the anxiety you may experience when facing a child custody dispute. Our attorneys fight for your rights and your child's best interests. Contact us to speak with a skilled Oakland County child custody lawyer.
Determining Child Custody
All child custody and support issues are determined based upon what is in the best interests of the child. Generally, if parents agree on a parenting plan, courts will agree. Disagreements can be resolved though negotiations, through mediation or in court. Our lawyers fight for our clients' rights in mediation or in trial to determine parental rights and resolve all child custody issues:
- Legal custody: Child custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody governs which parent has the right to make important decisions involving the child, such as religious upbringing, schooling, decisions regarding health and other decisions. Typically, the court considers it to be in the child's best interests for the parents to have joint legal custody, but every case is different. In some situations, a court may award sole legal custody to one parent.
- Physical custody: Physical custody refers to which parent has primary physical custody of the child. Increasingly, the term "primary residence" is used. It is common for parents to agree on joint legal custody, but to disagree on physical custody. Retaining the title "primary physical custodian" may matter less than nurturing the parent-child relationship with both parents and maintaining relationships through consistent, reasonable parenting time schedules. We assist clients in negotiating parenting agreements that are in the child's best interests and are satisfactory to both parents. We aim to help clients avoid excessive, expensive bickering about minor details and focus on the goal of protecting a nurturing family life for their children.
- Joint custody: Courts are required to consider a joint custodial arrangement when requested by either party. Not all cases are well suited for joint custody arrangements, particularly when the parents are unable to cooperate or agree on major decisions for the children such as where they will attend school, types of medical treatment or religious upbringing. Each case is decided on its own merits.
Because it is generally in the child's best interests to have a strong, meaningful relationship with each parent, the noncustodial parent will usually have a right to parenting time. The Michigan Parenting Time Guideline is an informative document to assist parents in crafting their own parenting time schedule. Individual counties may also have their own parenting time guidelines. If there are extenuating circumstances such as drug or alcohol problems, supervised parenting time might be required for the parent with the problem. We are experienced in negotiating nontraditional visitation schedules to meet the needs of our clients and their children.
Parents are required to financially support their children upon separation or divorce. The amount of financial support is determined according to the Michigan Child Support Formula. A court is required by law to apply that formula, unless it determines that the application of the formula will produce an "unjust or inappropriate result" in a particular case. Contact our attorneys for more information about how the formula applies in your case.
Custody, parenting time and support remain modifiable until the child turns 18 or 19 1/2 if still in school. A court may modify its custody and parenting time orders upon a showing of proper cause or change in circumstance, and its support orders upon a change of circumstance. The court recognizes that no family will remain the same forever. Reasons for post-judgment modification to support or custody and parenting time provisions can include:
- Job loss or other changes in income (including increases)
- Domestic abuse
- Relocation/change of domicile
- Change in the needs of the child
- Illness of parent or child
Our attorneys advocate on behalf of our clients and their children with regard to modifications of child custody, visitation, child support and other matters — including matters of interstate support and custody.
Contact Detroit Visitation Rights Lawyers
Our child custody lawyers are committed to providing compassionate and cost-effective legal representation. Contact our child custody attorneys in Oakland County for a free consultation and experienced legal advice regarding paternity disputes, child support, spousal support or any family law issue.