Legal custody issues often arise in the context of a divorce, but the changing legal landscape of immigration laws has produced a new concern.
Traditionally, school break periods tend to inspire tension between co-parents. Sometimes this tension arises due to unexpected events, sometimes due to unintended thoughtlessness and sometimes due to intentional thoughtlessness. Growing frustration between co-parents during major school break periods is understandable but rarely welcome.
In our last post, we examined the controversial actions of a Michigan judge who wanted to offer each party an opportunity to present their child custody proposals. In that case, the three minor children apparently favored legal and physical custody with their mother. But when the children refused to even meet with their father, the court sent them to juvenile detention.
Family law courts in Michigan generally endeavor to be impartial when presiding over child custody disputes. Gone are the days when a mother was afforded a presumption of sole legal and/or physical custody. Yet one local judge may have gone too far in her attempts to be neutral to both parties in a contentious divorce. The judge is now facing a 30-day suspension, which would be handed down by the Michigan Supreme Court.
When parents turn to the court to resolve child custody and/or parenting time disputes, it is important to understand the factors that a judge will examine.
If you are a parent about to go through a divorce, the wellbeing of your children is likely your biggest source of stress and worry. Not only can divorce be hard on children; there is also the fear that you could lose significant access to your children in custody proceedings.
When divorcing parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, they may be forced to have the court issue a custody decision. The court will apply the best interest of the child standard, informed by many factors. Broadly speaking, a court will want a child to receive a home environment that is financially stable, emotionally nurturing, and which poses minimal disruption to the care and environment that the child has become used to.
Divorce can be a stressful process even for couples who want to maintain a modicum of good will. In particular, the children of a marriage in the process of ending often struggle with natural feelings of anxiety about what their futures will entail. One idea to make the process smoother, to reassure the children that they are still loved, to make the process of child rearing predictable and to minimize conflict, is to create a co-parenting plan.
Family law courts recognize the important contributions provided by each parent in a child’s life. For that reason, many courts may presume that divorcing parents will have joint legal custody. Under that approach, decisions involving big events or issues in a child’s life must be made jointly.
Divorce courts in Michigan apply an income shares model to calculate each parent’s child support obligations. That means that courts consider the income of both parents, instead of only the custodial parent’s.