Parents in Michigan are often dedicated to raising their children and spending the largest amount of time possible with them. This is one reason why child custody issues after a divorce or breakup can be so challenging emotionally as well as practically. After the relationship is over, one former partner may file in family court to formalize an existing custody agreement or to have more time with their children through a new child custody plan.
While family law varies from state to state, most jurisdictions prefer some kind of joint custody. Even if one parent is the primary custodial caregiver, both parents may have legal custody of the children, or the right to make decisions about their health, education and other important aspects of growing up. When one parent has primary custody, the other will often have liberal visitation rights, including overnights, unless there is some reason that they cannot. Once one parent goes to court over child custody issues, the other must respond to present their own view of how custody should be distributed.
Child custody cases are generally determined in the “best interests of the child” when deciding what is best for the child’s physical, mental and emotional health. A number of factors can be taken into account, including the stability of the living situation, the child’s safety, the child’s relationship with both parents and the parents’ ability to provide financially for the children. When custody is shared, parents will often need permission to move out of state or otherwise make big changes that could disrupt the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Parents dealing with child custody concerns may want to maximize the time they spend with their children. A family law attorney may help a parent seek or increase their custody time and negotiate a successful parenting plan.