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How Child Custody Works in Michigan

Posted on in Family Law

Novi child custody lawyerChild custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of each parent and child indicating the time a child will spend with a parent and each parent’s ability to render decisions on behalf of a child. Judges can structure child custody agreements to satisfy the unique schedules of both parents, as they typically seek to promote a strong bond between parents and children unless one parent endangers a child.

Custody agreements can be reached between spouses through various negotiations, including mediation, and judges will usually order those agreements. Cases in which parties cannot agree can still result in joint custody determinations, although how judges award parenting time in joint custody cases can vary widely.

Types of Child Custody

When it comes to descriptions of custody arrangements, there are typically the following kinds of agreements:

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Novi military child custody lawyerMembers of the United States Armed Forces face special challenges when it comes to nurturing their relationship with a child. Deployment can require a parent to be gone for long portions of a child’s life, during which a child may change significantly. For divorced military parents, these chunks of missing time can feel like an overwhelming loss. 

Fortunately, courts allow military parents some protection when dealing with issues of child custody. If you are going to be deployed and are wondering whether this will affect your relationship with your child, contact a Michigan military child custody attorney for help. 

Can a Deployment Be Used Against Me? 

Military parents often fear that their involuntary absence from their child’s life might be used against them in custodial proceedings. After all, if a very young child has not spent time with a parent for a year or more, that child’s relationship with the parent could become strained or almost nonexistent. 

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Novi child custody lawyersIssues related to children are some of the most bitterly contested in all of Michigan family law. Parents are under stress and often act in uncharacteristic ways, especially if the custody matters have become a proxy for the interpersonal conflict parents have with each other. When custody disputes cannot be resolved peacefully using alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, they may head to court. Here are three major mistakes to avoid during your custody dispute

Talking About it on Social Media

Even if the world at large is not interested in what you have to say on social media, you can be sure that your ex will be. Anything harmful your ex sees can and will be used against you; this is also true for friends of your ex who may be interested in helping them win the case. Be wary of saying anything on social media about your case, your kids, or your ex. Do not make threats toward anyone or rant about judges or the law. Do not even post pictures of yourself going out with friends. The best practice when it comes to social media and court battles is to avoid all social media completely. 

Texting and Calling Your Ex

You can expect to get angry during your custody hearing. Your ex may say unpleasant things about you that may not even be true. While it can be tempting to reach out to your ex, especially if you have had a drink or two, stay away. Avoid talking to each other directly, especially in ways that could be easily misconstrued. Do not leave voicemails or send angry text messages. If in doubt, you can always ignore the message or call. 

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Novi family law attorneyThe vast majority of people in Michigan will eventually get married, and, consequently, a significant number of these people will also get divorced. Because couples are now older before their first marriage, many are getting savvier about ways to protect themselves in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement is one of the best ways to do this - but before a prenup can be created and signed, a couple needs to know that they share priorities. Here are five important conversations to have before you create a prenup and get married in Michigan. 

Kids

Whether or not you want kids may not be foremost on your mind while you are wedding planning, but wanting children will change the way you plan for the future. How you manage your finances, the decisions you make about your career, and the places you choose to live are all influenced by this major decision. 

Finances

Couples often get divorced over their financial differences, which tend to be consistent throughout the course of a marriage. It is important to talk about your underlying values around money, such as whether you prefer to save or spend extra cash. This can influence your career discussions, too - whether you prioritize earning a higher income or having more free time can cause conflict between you and your spouse. 

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Michigan adoption lawyerFor many years, only married adults in heterosexual relationships could adopt in Michigan. To the tremendous benefit of children and adoptive parents alike, society’s notions of what constitutes a family have expanded significantly in recent years, along with legal protections that enshrine those notions. For single adults living in Michigan who are looking to adopt, the good news is that you can qualify to adopt just as a married couple could. However, it is important to consider whether you meet the criteria to adopt and how adoption and parenthood could change your life forever. 

What Do I Need to Do Before I Adopt a Child?  

The individual needs of each child will differ as they grow and develop, but certain criteria must be met before an adult can adopt a child of any age. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Completing an adoption licensing application
  • Completing background checks for yourself and any other adult who lives in your home
  • Providing medical statements for yourself and any other household member 
  • Passing an environmental inspection and on-site visits by a social worker
  • Providing three references 
  • Having adequate bedroom space, which can change depending on the age of the child 

Can I Adopt if I Am an Unmarried Parent? 

More and more, unmarried individuals who cannot or prefer not to seek a spouse are choosing to raise children on their own. For children without parents, this expanding conception of what family can look like means an increase in adoptions and placement in a forever home. Unmarried men and women who are already parents can add to the love in their homes by adopting another child. 

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