Elkouri Heath, PLC

248-344-9700

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

Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Child Custody

Can Grandparents Be Granted Visitation in Michigan?If you have grandchildren, you know what a joy being a grandparent can be. After a divorce, grandparents may worry that they will not get to see their grandchildren as often as they did when the children’s parents were married. In some cases, a parent may outright refuse to let his or her children see their grandparents. This can be absolutely devastating for both the grandparents and the grandchildren. Fortunately, grandparents have certain rights under Michigan law that allow them to spend time with their grandchildren. However, these rights may be subject to certain restrictions and qualifying criteria.

How Can I Get Grandparenting Time?

Visitation with grandchildren, also called grandparenting time, is not automatically granted after a divorce. If your grandchildren’s parent(s) agrees to grandparenting time, you will have a much easier time pursuing visitation with the children. However, if the parents do not want you to see their children, you will have to convince the court that grandparent visitation is in the child’s or children’s best interest.

If the court finds the parents “fit” enough to make good decisions regarding who their children spend time with, it can be hard to get court-ordered grandparenting time over their objections. In order for a grandparent to be awarded visitation, they must show evidence that proves the benefit of them spending time with their grandchildren. If you want court-ordered grandparent visitation, you will need to prove that the denial of grandparent visitation rights would create a “substantial risk of harm to the child’s mental, physical or emotional health.” Michigan courts consider a variety of factors when deciding whether or not grandparent visitation is appropriate. These include but are not limited to:

...

Common Questions About Child Custody in MichiganIf you are a parent who is unmarried or planning to divorce, you may have many questions about child custody in Michigan. Parents are encouraged to work out their own child custody arrangements, but understandably, this is not always possible. If parents cannot come to an agreement regarding custody and parenting time, the court will intervene and determine a child custody schedule on behalf of the parents. In Michigan, the Child Custody Act dictates how the court makes decisions about parenting time and custody.

Joint Custody or Sole Custody?

There are two types of custody under Michigan law: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is a parent’s decision-making authority and physical custody is where the child physically lives. Parents with joint legal custody consult with one another regarding major child-related decisions whereas sole legal custody assigns all decision-making responsibilities to one parent. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the child maintains a residence with both parents. Typically, one parent in a joint custody arrangement is the primary custodian and the other parent enjoys child visitation, technically called parenting time in Michigan law. When a parent has sole physical custody, the child resides only with them.

Best Interest Factors Considered During Custody Disputes

When parents cannot agree on custody issues, the court will make a determination based on the child’s best interests. The Michigan Child Custody Act lists the factors used to evaluate what type of child custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. These factors include but are not limited to:

...

Novi, MI divorce lawyerDivorce is a major change to your lifestyle. Even though separating yourself from a negative relationship with your ex-partner is for the best, unexpected events can come up that may affect you emotionally. During your divorce, working with a qualified lawyer can help you reach a positive outcome to your case. An experienced divorce attorney will make sure your life post-divorce is as fair as possible in terms of alimony, child custody agreements, and division of assets. After your divorce, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and vacations will all be different. Here are some tips to experience them in a positive way as you begin a new chapter of your life:

Take it Easy

Divorce is hard on everyone. You ended a relationship where you once vowed to stay committed for the rest of your life. During this time, it is understandable to feel a mix of emotions such as anger, sadness, and even rage. You do not have to engage in old family traditions if they bring up painful memories for you. If you and your ex used to take vacations together to a certain destination every summer, you should not feel that you need to continue to travel there on your own or with a new partner. Start making new traditions for yourself to help you move on.

You do not have to try and make holidays or vacations exactly the same as they were pre-divorce. If you used to get together for a big family barbecue, and you do not feel that you are not up to it this year, cut yourself some slack. Divorce has a major impact on your life, and as you pivot to this new stage of your life, expect some things to change--including how you spend holidays and vacations.

...

Posted on in Divorce

Oakland County Divorce lawyer .jpgDeciding to get a divorce can be one of the hardest decisions you have to make. Equally as hard is the fallout from that decision. An amicable divorce process is possible, but not everyone can be so lucky. Whether the breakup was on mutual or harsh terms, it is imperative for both parties to begin to separate their property. Your tech life can hurt or help the divorce process. so it is important to comb through your online presence in order to make sure it is in your favor. Here are some tips to help.

Reset Your Passwords

This may come as an obvious answer, but once you’ve decided to go through with your divorce, it is important to change all the passwords on the accounts you want to keep for yourself. Your partner most likely knows most of your account passwords whether that be for bills, bank accounts, or simple streaming devices. If the break-up is ugly, it is crucial to change these passwords immediately so that no damage can be done. A key to a strong password is to use a password generator, which will be completely random. This will prevent your ex by guessing your password based on personal information (birthday, anniversary date, etc)

Backup What You Want to Keep

It is common in most households for families to share electronic devices such as a tablet or expensive computer. When splitting assets, you might not get to keep all the electronics. Make sure you backup everything on a hard drive you want to keep like documents, photos and tax info. Afterward, restore the settings to factory settings so your ex can’t take any of your files for personal use.

...

Novi MI parenting plan lawyerDivorce affects your family in many ways, but children are often the most affected by divorce. Children benefit from having both parents in their lives, even if their parents are not together anymore, so it is beneficial to develop a co-parenting plan with your ex. 

A co-parenting plan will expressly state a few key things about the development of your child or children, and it is always a good idea to have it in writing so you can refer back to it later. After the divorce, you may not want to keep in contact with your ex, but it will help your children if you can be civil with each other. A parenting plan will help everyone stay on the same page about child custody matters.

Areas To Focus On In Your Plan

Your parenting plan will be your guide for what you and your ex-spouse will handle parenting decisions as your child grows. It is important to have some main focus areas, which can vary depending on your situation, but generally, there are five key areas to focus on. 

...

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?

...

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.

...

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.

...

Michigan Considers Shared Parenting for Divorced Parents

When parents decide to end their marriage, they often disagree about custody arrangements for their children, and battles over who will retain primary custody can be an especially contentious part of divorce proceedings. The children are often the ones who suffer the most in these types of conflicts, and in order to provide a better environment for children following divorce, the Michigan House of Representatives is currently considering legislation which would give equal parenting time to divorced parents.

Proposed Changes to Michigan Law

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there are around 26,000 children in Michigan every year whose parents get divorced. In many of these cases, family courts award primary custody to one parent. However, polls have shown that there is overwhelming support for divorcing parents to have joint custody and equal parenting time, with 84% of registered voters believing that this is in the best interests of children, as long as a parent does not have a history of abuse, substance addiction, or mental illness.

...

How Are Custody Decisions Reversed After a Divorce Ruling?

Once the judge rules on a case, it may seem there is no possibility for the judge to reverse their decision. Fortunately, for those who are not in favor the court's ruling, there is a way to have the court reconsider their initial ruling. A spouse has an opportunity to challenge the judge's so called “final” decision by appealing. If the spouse wants to change the custody rights or other obligations set by the judge, as child custody attorneys, we can provide experienced legal assistance.

Either spouse has the right to appeal the judge's divorce judgment to an appeals court. While it is not neither guaranteed or highly likely the appeal court will overturn a judge's ruling, spouses still have a chance and opportunity to reverse the ruling. An appeal begins by an attorney filing a written brief, which includes the legal argument and support from case law. The appeals court will also turn to the record of the trial court for further analysis. Typically, new evidence cannot be introduced during an appeal. Once all the information is submitted, both parties can make an oral case just for the divorce ruling.

...

What Rights Do Custodial Parents Have?

In some Michigan divorces, sole custody is granted to one parent, rather than splitting parenting time between the two. The parent with custody is referred to as the custodial parent, and he or she has certain rights that the other parent does not. When sole custody is granted, the custodial parent has complete authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as medical care, education, and where to live.

While it's not the most common decision, it's not unusual for a judge to grant sole child custody to one parent. The courts generally maintain the opinion that it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with both parents, but a variety of factors can lead a judge to decide that one parent deserves full control over the welfare of the child. Judges may grant sole custody if the other parent is incapable of caring for the child, has a history of making poor decisions, or would likely make decisions that would put the child in danger.

...

How Do Michigan Courts Decide Who Gets Child Custody?

Divorce is always stressful and emotionally draining. When children are involved, the stress and emotional strain is even greater. Judges who handle divorce cases regularly will tell you that determining child custody cases is very difficult, as they must consider a multitude of factors. Michigan has a prescribed guideline for the courts to reference when making child custody decisions. While the guideline is helpful to judges in making determinations about custody, there are a variety of other factors judges consider when making custody decisions.

Judges will often consider factors such as a child's age, the parent's ability to care for the child, parent's criminal record, etc. Sometimes, Michigan judges will talk with children during divorce proceedings to ask for their opinion regarding custodial matters. In these cases, judges typically assure the child that their opinion is important, but that the decision will be made from the bench, relieving the child from feeling like they betrayed one parent.

...
Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
Back to Top