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How To File For Sole Custody In Michigan

History Of Domestic Violence Child Abuse Substance Abuse Or Crime

Michigan Custody Modification – How to change custody in Michigan.

If a parent has criminal convictions or corroborated allegations of domestic violence, child abuse or substance abuse against them, the court typically presumes the other parent should have sole custody. This presumption can be overturned if the parent proves their behavior is in the past or not detrimental to the children.

When a parent receives sole custody, the other parent generally receives some parenting time, often supervised.

When child abuse is alleged or suspected, the Friend of the Court refers the case to Child Protective Services . Severe instances of abuse and neglect can lead CPS to ask the court to terminate the abuser’s parental rights entirely.

Grandparent Visitation In Michigan

Grandparents in Michigan can petition for a right to visitation with a grandchild. This is for limited situations in which the grandparents are part of a childs daily life until their childs death or divorce, and then the other parent doesnt want to help the grandparent maintain a relationship with their grandchild. But its hard for grandparents to win visitation because courts presume parents know whats best for their child, including limiting contact with one or more grandparents. Grandparents have to show a court that visitation is in the childs best interests, and the parent is unfit in some way to parent.

Can I Get Joint Custody Of My Children

Michigan has a joint custody law that presumes it is in the best interests of children to maintain a close relationship with both parents. .) If the parents agree on joint custody, the court must order it unless it would not be in the children’s best interests. If either parent requests joint custody, the court must consider the factors listed below in deciding. .)

If parents have joint legal custody, they share the right to make decisions concerning such things as their children’s education, medical treatment, religious training, or enrichment activities. If parents have joint physical custody, they share the time they spend with their children. Joint physical custody doesn’t necessarily mean that the children spend exactly half of their time with each parent.

The court can also award one parent physical custody of the child. In that situation, the court will create a parenting time schedule for the other parent.

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Effect Of A Custody Order

When parents have a court order for custody and visitation, the order establishes their rights as it pertains to the relocation of a child. The type of custody a parent has determines whether that parent must obtain court approval before moving. If sole custody is awarded to a parent, that parent has all legal and physical rights to the child. Alternatively, if joint custody is awarded to each parent, both share legal rights to the child and both spend time with the child regularly. A Michigan custody order may restrict changes to a child’s residence. If so, the parent who wishes to relocate with the child must request a new court order.

When Instability Is Enough For Full Custody

Louisiana Rule to Change Custody from Sole to Joint and to ...

You can establish instability on various counts. There may be mental instability, such as hospital stays, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues that you can show impact the child or parents decision-making.

Theres financial instability, such as loss of or lack of employment. Instability can also come from alcohol and drug abuse, past or future physical absences, and regular relocations for professional or personal reasons.

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Legal Vs Physical Custody

Theres a difference between legal and physical custody of a child in Michigan. Physical custody determines which parent has a right to have the child in their household at a given time. Legal custody determines who has decision-making authority over the child. Joint custody in Michigan typically means sharing both physical and legal custody of your child. But if a parent is given sole custody, they might also have the sole power to make decisions about the childs education, medical care, religion, and daily needs.

Cameron C Goulding North Oakland Michigan Divorce And Family Law Lawyer

Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult challenges you will face during your lifetime. Your future is uncertain, your finances are unclear, and the fate of your children is unknown. Because you are viewing this site, you must be facing serious matrimonial problems or other family law disputes that cause you pain and frustration.

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Types Of Moves That Do Not Require Court Approval

Michigan law specifies a few types of moves that do not generally require approval through a court order. A parent who has sole custody generally does not need the other parent’s consent or a court order before moving. When parents share custody rights, a parent may be able to move without legal restrictions if the move would shorten the distance between the two parents’ homes or if the parents already lived more than 100 miles apart when they established their custody order. In addition, a parent may change the child’s residence if the other parent voluntarily gives written consent.

Types Of Custody In Michigan

Tip of the day: don’t file for sole custody

Michigan does not presume one parent is better suited to have custody than another. Theres no presumption in favor of granting custody to mothers over fathers. Although, if a non-parent is involved in the child custody battle, the court does presume its in the childs best interests to give a parent custody unless theres clear evidence to the contrary.

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When Is Sole Legal Custody Appropriate In Michigan

Posted on: 01-26-2018

The vast majority of parents have the well-being of their children in mind when going through the process of determining child custody following separation or divorce. In an ideal situation, parents will remain amicable and find ways to share custody and care of children so that both can continue to have a relationship with children and kids can enjoy the least amount of disruption. In addition, parents will be able to discuss and agree upon decisions regarding childrearing.

However, there are cases in which joint custody simply wont work. In cases of abuse by one parent, for example, the other parent may be granted sole physical custody, by which the children remain exclusively in one household. There are also cases in which one parent may be awarded sole legal custody, inferring the right to make decisions about childrens upbringing without first consulting the other parent. When is this appropriate and how is it determined?

When is Sole Legal Custody Appropriate?Both parents naturally have an interest in making decisions regarding the welfare and upbringing of their children. In cases of joint legal custody, parents must confer and agree on decisions regarding schooling, religion, health care, discipline, and other matters surrounding the basic issues of childrearing.

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Parenting Time In Michigan

Michigan courts presume its in a childs best interests to have a good relationship with both parents. Because of this, its rare for a parent not to get any time with their child. Even if you arent awarded joint custody, you have a right to parenting time, which used to be called visitation. The judge will give you the amount of parenting time they believe is necessary to help you nurture a close relationship with your child.

Based on Section 722.27a, the judge looks at several factors when determining parenting time, including:

  • Any special circumstances or needs of the child.
  • Whether the child is younger than 6 months old and nursing, or less than 1 year old and gets substantial nutrition through nursing.
  • The reasonable likelihood a parent will abuse or neglect the child during their parenting time.
  • The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent because of receiving parenting time.
  • The inconvenience or burden of the child traveling between the parents two households for parenting time.
  • Whether a parent can reasonably be expected to fulfill their parenting time duties based on the court order.
  • Whether a parent has frequently failed to have their parenting time.
  • A parents threat or actual detention of the child with the intent to keep or hide the child from the other parent or person with legal custody.

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Michigan Law Presumes Children Benefit From Having Two Parents

You may want nothing more to do with your spouse or partner, but to your children that person is still mom or dad. Michigan law presumes that a child benefits from maintaining a strong relationship with both parents. Because of this, joint legal custody awards are common, and parenting time is awarded to both parents except when doing so would not be in the childs best interests. The exceptional cases where sole legal custody and suspended parenting time can be an option may typically include at least one of the following:

  • Severe or uncontrolled mental health issues that affect a parents ability to parent
  • Domestic violence against or in the presence of the child
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Substance abuse in the childs presence
  • Incarceration
  • Reasonable concerns the parent will attempt to take the child and flee
  • Demonstrated substantial inability for the parents to agree on how to care for the child

Sole Legal Custody In Michigan: When Is It Appropriate

How to Get Full Custody of Your Child in Michigan (with ...

I was recently asked by a gentleman from Bloomfield, Michigan if he could obtain sole legal custody of his children.

The Issue

When and why will the Michigan divorce courts award sole legal custody ?

The Answer

Legal custody is basically the ability to share in decision making regarding the children’s health and welfare, such decisions include religious upbringing and choice of schools. Physical custody generally regards with whom the child will primarily reside. In most cases joint legal custody is the norm.

The statutes in Michigan indicate that the courts shall consider joint custody at the request of a parent and shall state on the record the reason for granting or denying such a request. For joint legal custody to work, the courts have indicated that the parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing, including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents whose marriage relationship has irreconcilably broken down are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole legal custody of the children.


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What Is Joint Custody What Is Sole Custody

In Michigan, there are two types of custody: legal and physical.

Legal custody is the ability to make important life decisions for your child, such as health care, education, child care and general welfare. Joint legal custody gives both parents the right to make these decisions and they should consult with one another before making non-routine decisions. Sole legal custody gives one parent all decision-making responsibilities.

Physical custody refers to the actual physical residence of the child. Joint physical custody allows the child to retain a residence with both parents, usually with one parent being the primary custodian and the other parent having parenting time on a set schedule. Sole physical custody means that the child resides with only one parent. The other parent may or may not have parenting time or visitation rights.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Settlement Or Trial

The judge may order you and the other parent to participate in an alternative dispute resolution process to try to settle your case. This could include conciliation or mediation. To learn more, read Mediation and Other Forms of Settlement.

If you and the other parent can’t agree, you will have a custody hearing in front of a judge or Friend of the Court referee. Representing yourself at a custody hearing is not simple. If you get to this stage, consider talking to a lawyer. If you have low income, you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you have low income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area. If you are not eligible for free legal services and you cant afford high legal fees, consider hiring a lawyer for part of your case instead of the whole thing. This is called limited scope representation. To learn more, read Limited Scope Representation : A More Affordable Way to Hire a Lawyer.

To find a limited scope attorney directly, you can:

  • Call the State Bar of Michigan Lawyer Referral Service and tell them you are looking for limited scope representation

  • Go to the State Bar of Michigan Lawyer Search page. Enter the type of lawyer you need and your city or county, and click “Find a Lawyer.” Then scroll down to the box on the left side that says “Don’t see the filter you need? Type in your own words” and type limited scope or

  • Do an internet search for limited scope lawyers in your area.

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Fighting For Custody In Michigan

The first step in fighting for custody in Michigan is determining if there is an established custodial environment with one parent or both parents. An established custodial environment is defined as:

If over an appreciable time the child naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort. The age of the child, the physical environment, and the inclination of the custodian and the child as to permanency of the relationship shall also be considered. See. .

In simple terms, if the child has been living with one parent for a while, that parent will have an established custodial environment. As a general rule, courts are reluctant to remove a child from an established custodial environment when reviewing custody in Michigan. After determining if an established custodial environment exists, the courts will look at the best interest of the child.

The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents

Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.


When Will The Court Consider A Child’s Preference

Michigan Child Custody & Child Support – Attorney Aric Melder

When a child is of sufficient age to express a preference, the court must consider the child’s opinion before deciding custody. However, the court will only interview a child if the judge believes the child is old enough and mature enough to express an opinion.

It’s a common misconception that once a child reaches a certain age, that child can decide which parent should have custody. On the contrary, if the court believes interviewing the child is appropriate, the judge will weigh the child’s opinion equally with the other above-listed factors.

If the parents are virtually even in the other custodial factors, the court may use the child’s preference to break the tie. If, however, one parent having custody is clearly in the child’s best interest, the child’s opinion won’t sway the judge’s decision. )

A child’s preference must be reasonable for the judge to give it weight in the custody decision. This doesn’t mean that the child’s preference has to include detailed thought or critical analysis, just that the child’s opinion isn’t for arbitrary or superficial reasons. For example, a court won’t afford much weight to a child’s preference if the child chooses the more lenient parent or the parent with the nicer house. On the other hand, judges will weigh strongly the opinion of a child who wants the parent who cooks, helps with homework, and attends medical appointments.

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Custody & Parenting Time


A custodial parent is a parent who has the child living with him or her and has primary care, custody and responsibility for the child. If there is a legal father and custody is disputed, or if parents are divorcing, either parent can file a complaint requesting custody with the circuit court in the county where they live. There are many different types of custody arrangements and the court must decide what type of custody will be ordered.

Parenting Time

Parenting time is the time the non-custodial parent spends with the child. See the Parenting Time Guideline for additional information. The court order will indicate who has custody and who has parenting time.

If the other parent is not obeying the parenting time order, you may:

  • Contact the Friend of the Court and request that they initiate enforcement of the parenting time order. The Friend of the Court is required to enforce parenting time orders and usually starts enforcement action when a written complaint is received.
  • File a motion, with or without an attorney, and ask the court to enforce the parenting time order.

Possible enforcement actions are “makeup” parenting time a civil contempt hearing modifying existing parenting time and/or custody provisions or Alternate Dispute Resolution Services available in the county.

Parenting Time without Support Payments

Child Not Living with the Custodial Parent

Parent Refuses to See His or Her Child

Parent Refuses to Return the Child

Common Reasons People Get Full Custody

In situations where there is violence and/or abuse, this is where most full custody arrangements are granted. For example, the husband has a history of physical abuse.

Assuming this can be supported with hospital records and police reports that clearly demonstrate the violence, awarding sole custody to the wife is not uncommon.

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