Anyone who has children knows a parent will do anything to ensure their safety and happiness. When parents go through a divorce, they’ll be required to make some incredibly difficult decisions about splitting custody and parenting time. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to these situations, and each family will have to decide what’s best for them.
If you’re going through a divorce with children or already have an existing custody arrangement in place but would like to see it changed, reach out to The Law Offices of John R. Bailey to speak with a family law attorney who can help. Located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Attorney John Bailey serves families throughout the area including Belleville, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Portage.
In a divorce, one of the most important decisions two parents will have to make is their child custody arrangement, and there are two main options for achieving this. First, both parents can agree to their own terms and present them to the court for approval. In almost all cases, a judge will approve any plan that is mutually agreed upon and is in the best interests of the child. This first option is the easiest and quickest, but many couples will still want to work with an attorney collectively or individually.
If you cannot come to an agreement, your second choice is to take your case to family court where a judge will decide the custody arrangement they deem to be in the best interests of the child. In this case, you will most likely want to work with an attorney to ensure you’re presenting the best case possible for your family.
When determining a child custody arrangement, legal custody means having the right to make important decisions for your child like what religion to practice, schooling, or non-emergency medical treatments. Physical custody means the specific living arrangements for your child. Custody can also be further categorized as either sole (one parent) or joint (shared by both parents).
If a judge awards one parent sole physical custody of the child, then a parenting time arrangement will need to be made. In most cases, it’s considered to be the child’s right to have regular contact with both parents except in cases of abuse or neglect. This visitation schedule can be decided upon by the parents or a judge can intervene to establish a plan.
If a judge is left to decide custody arrangements, they’ll take into account a number of factors. They’ll consider the child’s age and level of maturity, whether the child has an Established Custodial Environment (ECE), the willingness of each parent to support the physical and emotional needs of the child, the living arrangements of each parent, and in some cases, the personal preference of the child.
Many existing custody arrangements will need modification at some point. This could happen when children grow older and their needs change, when one parent loses a job, or if one parent moves and the arrangement is no longer logistically feasible. It can also happen if one parent isn’t upholding their responsibilities. In any case, you’ll need to submit a change request to the court for approval. If both parties do not agree to the change, you will likely need an experienced attorney to help present your case. A judge will also default to keeping existing custody arrangements as is unless there is a pressing reason for the change.
Even though going through a divorce with kids is difficult, it can be done without losing sight of what's most important — the health and well-being of your children. If you need help with any stage of a child custody case, call The Law Offices of John R. Bailey. Located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Attorney John Bailey serves families throughout the area including Belleville, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Portage.