Divorce is a time filled with uncertainty and sadness. When children are involved, one of the biggest things to take care of throughout the process is child custody issues. It is essential to remember that a child’s best interest should be in focus when setting arrangements of child custody. Even though it is vital for both parents to keep a strong relationship with the children, it is essential for children to have stability after a legal separation or divorce.
Even though divorce is extremely difficult, especially for the involved children, it is simpler for everyone when a couple is able to agree on assigned child custody. The ideal situation consists of both parents sharing custody of the children. This is not always possible since schedules may conflict or parents cannot come to a satisfactory agreement. If parents cannot set a decent arrangement for child custody that is good for everyone, the courts will be forced to get involved. Bringing a family law judge into the mix will help to determine an adequate child custody agreement. The judge’s biggest goal is to protect the best interest of all minors. An experienced Michigan family lawyer is needed so that the court and all friends of the court are presented with information that will determine a fair decision concerning custody time.
Custody Time Arrangements Types
There are four different forms of custody arrangements:
Joint Physical Custody — This arrangement means the children live with both parents, yet the time the children are at each of the parents’ homes is or is not the same.
Sole Physical Custody — This arrangement means the child lies with one parent, but the other parent is usually given rights for visitation.
Joint Legal Custody — This arrangement gives both parents the right to make legal decisions for the children.
Sole Legal Custody — This arrangement gives one parent the right to make legal choices for the children.
Custody can always be changed once it is finally ordered, but the party requesting the change must prove that that there had been a “substantial change in circumstance”. Furthermore the amount of proof, whether by the preponderance of evidence or by clear and convincing evidence can be an issue in the future so the designation of sole physical custody, joint custody, sole legal custody and joint legal custody is important throughout any divorce or parenting time proceeding.
After a divorce is filed the Friend of the court in most counties will conduct an conciliation where both the parties to a divorce will meet and a “temporary order” will be fashioned. This is a very important meeting and it should be prepared for as such. At this point if the parties can not agree the Friend of the court will issues a temporary order on parenting time, custody and support. The Friend of the court will encourage the parties to come to an agreement. But if an agreement can not be reached you should not be pressured into agreeing to something you do not want. It is important that if there is going to be a dispute as to custody, parenting time or support that you meet with an experienced attorney before the meeting so that you are prepared to provide the type of information that will reflect most favorably upon you position. In the case the old saying of “failure to plan is planning to fail” is absolutely true.
If the conciliation order is objectionable to you have from a certain amount of days to object and then receive and full hearing before the Friend of the court. At this hearing you may present evidence, witnesses, and provide sworn testimony in your behalf. This hearing is like a real trial and in many cases will be the only real trial you have on the issues of custody and parting time. It is strongly suggested that you have an experienced attorney present for this hearing. All the rules of evidence apply and if you want to appeal the ruling from this hearing most often the transcript and evidence from this hearing will be the only testimony or the major testimony that the judge in your case will review for its decision at trial.
Child Custody Time Modification
In the event that the parents deem the original custody agreement to no longer meet the needs of the children, either the father or mother can go back to court to reopen the custody case and ask for a modification order. Going this route, the parent will gain protection for themselves and all children involved along with the relationship between parents.
It is essential to hire an experienced attorney for representation throughout this legal process. When a client enters the Clark Law Office, our professional team will take the time to explain all rights, explain the best avenue to pursue, and aid in preparation of a solid case to convince the judge that the children should remain in their custody. After the hearing starts, our lawyers will tend to all of our client’s parental rights. The Clark Law Office gets extreme pleasure at utilizing their skills and knowledge to help you maintain a healthy relationship with your children.
Give a the Clark Law Office a call today at 517-347-6900 and talk with a professional that understands what a stressful time this can be.