Serving The Interests of Parents and Children in Michigan
Nothing in your life is as important to you as your children. All the money, property, and material things in the world can't replace the special bond you have with your child. If you are unmarried or about to divorce, we understand that you want to protect your parental rights and make sure your children have the resources and nurturing they need.
You can turn to Schwartz Law Firm for the answers you need and the representation you deserve for issues including parenting time, child support, and child custody. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Child Custody Rights For Unmarried Parents
Child custody rights are somewhat different for unmarried parents. Until a biological father obtains an order from a court as to his custody rights, primary custody is presumed to be with the mother. This is true whether a paternity action is filed, or the parties execute an Affidavit of Parentage at the child's birth. Unless custody is litigated in the paternity action, the mother retains custody of the minor child, and the father has no visitation (or custody) rights until he files the appropriate pleadings with the court to obtain an order governing his rights.
If an Affidavit of Parentage has been executed, paternity is established, and a paternity complaint cannot be filed. If the child is conceived or born to a married woman, a biological father who is not the woman's husband will not have standing to request custodial rights to the child. The one exception to this rule is if a court had made a PRIOR determination that the child born or conceived during the marriage is not the issue of that marriage.
For a father to protect his right to have a relationship with his child (assuming he has not impregnated another man's wife), it is imperative that he file the appropriate pleadings with the court to establish those rights. Without a court order, law enforcement will not enforce visitation with the child, if the mother refuses the father access.
Biological parents have a statutory duty to support their children. If they do not, a court will compel them to do so. The amount of support is dictated by the Michigan Child Support Formula and considers the following:
- Income of each parent
- Number of children
- Number of overnights
- Tax status of each party
- The amount parents pay for child's health insurance
- Cost of child care
- Whether either party has other children to support
Courts are required, by law, to order child support according to the formula, unless the court states specific reasons for deviating from the formula. Pursuant to the formula, the "custodial" parent (the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time) is presumed to contribute directly to the support of the child. Thus, the noncustodial parent will be required to pay money as his or her "contribution" to the child's care and maintenance.
The requirement to pay support is only triggered when the biological parents are separated, regardless of marital status. Thus, an unmarried parent has the same right to file for child support if the other parent leaves the home as a married parent does when the same event occurs.
Psychologists, behavior specialists, parents, and - most importantly - the courts agree that it is generally in the child's best interest to have a strong, meaningful relationship with each parent.
What does this mean for you as the noncustodial parent? It means that you have the right to parenting time according to the Michigan Parenting Time Guideline, an informative document that assists in crafting a workable parenting-time schedule.
We are experienced in negotiating and enforcing parenting time schedules, including in situations with extenuating circumstances that require supervised parenting time.
Contact a Farmington Hills Parental Rights Lawyer
Call us at 888-757-1681 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation with a proven family law attorney from our firm.
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