Elkouri Heath, PLC

248-344-9700

39555 Orchard Hill Place, Suite 215, Novi, MI 48375

Novi MI paternity lawyerThe only way a child’s paternity is automatically established in Michigan is if the mother was married at the time the child was conceived or born. The man the woman was or is married to is automatically presumed by the state of Michigan to be the child’s legal father. If the mother was unmarried when the child was conceived or born, then the parents of the child must take extra steps to establish a legal father for the child. This process can be wrought with confusion and stress, but it is necessary to ensure that your child has the resources he or she needs to thrive.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

There are many reasons why people work to establish the paternity of their children. Without established paternity, there is no legal tie between a father and his child, even if it is truly his biological child. Other benefits of establishing paternity include:

  • A sense of identity. It is always good for children to know who their parents are. This allows the child to have a sense of identity and paves the way to allow the child to have a sense of belonging.
  • Ties to extended family. Having established paternity also allows the child to know his or her extended family. It is important that children grow up knowing their family members as it allows the child to develop a sense of family and belonging.
  • Financial support. One of the main reasons people seek to establish paternity is for financial support. You cannot get child support from a man if you do not have him established as the child’s legal father. 
  • Being eligible for certain benefits. Children have the right to certain benefits that their parents can provide. By establishing paternity, a child has the right to his or her father’s health and life insurance, Social Security, pensions, veteran’s benefits and inheritance.
  • Knowing the child’s family medical history. This can be especially beneficial for the child down the road if they need to know their parents’ medical history. If the child’s legal father has not been established, the child has no right to access his or her father’s medical records, which can be lifesaving in some cases.

An Oakland County Paternity Attorney Can Help

The easiest way to establish a child’s paternity is by having both the mother and the father sign an Affidavit of Parentage form. Unfortunately, not all fathers will voluntarily step up to take care of their parental responsibilities. In that situation, you can file a paternity case to have your child’s paternity established. These can be long and tedious, but at Elkouri Heath, PLC, we can guide you throughout the process. Our skilled Novi MI paternity lawyers can help you with all of the paperwork and legalities involved in establishing paternity. Call our office today at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free consultation.

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MI family lawyerThe most common forms of adoption are family adoptions, specifically stepparent adoptions. Stepparent adoptions take place when one parent’s new spouse wants to adopt the child of that parent. This can help establish a more secure connection between the parent’s spouse and the child, but it can be difficult to attain, especially if the child’s other parent objects to the adoption. Stepparent adoptions can be important to families who want to bring themselves closer to each other and establish more secure ties, but they can also be stressful and emotionally demanding.

Parental Rights and Step Parent Adoption

Michigan law only allows a child to have two legal parents at any one time. This means that if a stepparent wants to adopt the child, the child’s current legal parent must agree to the adoption, voluntarily giving up their legal parental rights to the child. If the judge approves a stepparent adoption, the child’s other parent will lose all custody and visitation rights. They will also no longer be required to pay child support or have any other obligations to the child. These rights will all be transferred to the stepparent. Even if the stepparent and the child’s parent divorce in the future, the stepparent will still be the legal parent of the child.

If a Parent Objects to the Adoption

In order for a stepparent to adopt a child, the child’s other parent must consent to the adoption. If they do not consent to the adoption, the only way it can move forward is by an involuntary termination of parental rights. This can only be established by proving that the child’s other parent is unfit. Being unfit can mean that the parent has not provided support for the child and has failed to visit or contact the child.

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MI family lawyerThe majority of parents who get divorced will share parenting time of their children. It is rare these days that you see one parent given sole custody and decision-making responsibilities and the other parent left with nothing. Most divorce courts recognize that unless a parent is abusive or detrimental to the child’s wellbeing, it is in the child’s best interest to have both parents active and present in his or her life. Co-parenting is never easy, especially if your divorce was less-than-amicable -- which most are not. Though it will not come without serious time and effort on your part, successful co-parenting can be achieved and these tips can help:

Realize You Now Have a Different Relationship with Your Ex

Though you are no longer married, your relationship with your ex will be forever because of your child. It will not be the same relationship that you had during your marriage and that is important to realize. It is easier to think of your co-parenting relationship like a business relationship - it does not matter how you feel about your ex. What matters is the happiness and wellbeing of your child.

Work on Your Communication

Communication is key to successful co-parenting. Though you may still have feelings of anger or resentment toward your ex, you must put those aside for the sake of your child. It can help to keep a business-like tone when talking to your ex. It reminds both you and them that your new relationship is not one that concerns feelings. It can also be helpful to keep your conversations strictly about your child. It does not matter what you want or they want - what does your child want and need?

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MI family lawyerDivorcing with children brings about many different types of issues that couples divorcing without children do not have to deal with. One of the things that must be determined when you are getting divorced is how you will parent your child where your child will be spending their time. Typically, Michigan courts prefer the parents to try to make their own determinations about child custody and parenting time before they turn to the court to make these decisions for them. There is a better chance that orders will be followed when parents are involved in making these decisions. When a court is called in to help determine parenting time, many different factors must be considered before a final order is issued.

Michigan Courts and Making Decisions About Parenting Time

Like many states in the U.S., Michigan makes determinations about parenting time based on the best interests of the child. It is assumed that it is in the best interest of every child to have a secure relationship with both parents. Michigan courts also believe that every child has a right to spend time with each parent unless the court finds that it would severely harm the child’s mental, physical or emotional health. The court will examine a variety of factors when making decisions about parenting time, including:

  • Whether or not the child has any special needs;
  • Whether the child is a nursing child and receives substantial nutrition through nursing;
  • Whether or not there is any likelihood of any abuse or neglect of the child or parent during parenting time;
  • The distance between where each parent lives and the burden the travel would have on the child;
  • The likeliness of each parent to follow the parenting time order; and
  • Any other factor that the court deems to be relevant.

Get in Touch with an Oakland County Child Custody Lawyer

Each child has an inherent right to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both of their parents and both parents have the right to spend time with their child. It can be difficult and sometimes stressful to come to an agreement about parenting time with your ex, but it is important that you are able to create a parenting time agreement that allows both you and your ex to spend time with your child. If you are going through a divorce, you should contact a Novi, MI child custody attorney. Elkouri Heath, PLC can help you create an agreement that benefits not only your child, but also you and your child’s other parent. Call the office today at 248-344-9700 to schedule a consultation.

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MI family lawyerMany people say that the hardest thing about their divorce was seeing how it affected their children. Children often have different reactions to divorce, ranging from anger and fury to depression and guilt. Though the range of emotions felt by children of divorce is vast, there is one thing that most can agree on - divorce is hard on children. Because of this issue, an increase in unusual custody arrangements has been observed across the county - nesting arrangements. These kinds of arrangements can be beneficial to both parents and children as they transition from their normal life to one in which parents are divorced.

What Is a Nesting Arrangement?

As the name of the arrangement implies, a nesting arrangement is one in which the family home is the “nest” where the children live and the parents take turns staying at the home to spend time with the children. Traditional split custody arrangements consist of the parents each having their separate homes and the children moving between those homes after a set length of time. In a nesting arrangement, some parents will have their own designated living quarters in the family home, but more often, parents will live outside of the family home when they are not in charge of the children.

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