Birmingham Child Custody Attorney
Helping Clients establish & enforce Parenting Time
We represent clients in 9 counties: Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, Genesee, Lapeer and St. Clair.
Helping You Do What Is Best for Your Child
Whether you are married or unmarried, child custody and parenting time issues can be some of the most difficult family law issues to resolve. We understand that parents want to do what is best for their children, and sometimes you need the help of a skilled child custody lawyer to help you get it.
At The Law Firm of Victoria, P.C., our Michigan law firm has helped over 15,000 people with their family law matters over the past 25 years.
We have the knowledge and experience it takes and we can work tirelessly to help you obtain child custody and parenting time order that is consistent with your child’s best interest.
Schedule your in-person or over-the-phone consultation for FREE at (248) 780-1775.
Legal Custody in Michigan
Legal custody can be sole or joint and gives one or both parents the right to make decisions for the child regarding education, healthcare, religion, and the child’s general welfare.
In most cases, both parents, on their own or with the help of their attorneys, can come to an agreement on the issue of custody.
If the parties cannot agree, the court will intervene and make a decision based on the “best interests of the child.”
The courts weigh the following factors when determining what is in the child’s best interest:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child;
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any;
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs;
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes;
- The moral fitness of the parties involved;
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved;
- The home, school, and community record of the child;
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;
- 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; and
- Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a child custody dispute.
Physical Custody & Parenting Time
Physical custody defines where the child lives on a day-to-day basis and is a separate issue from legal custody.
The specific times a child spends with each parent are usually set forth in a parenting time schedule. Our attorneys are experienced in negotiating parenting time arrangements that are agreeable to both parties and in the best interests of the child.
Can Child Custody or Parenting Time Schedules Be Modified?
The court always retains jurisdiction over child custody and parenting time to modify its previous judgments or orders upon a showing of proper cause or a change in circumstances, if such a modification is in the child’s best interests.
Few people who are getting a divorce also want to lose contact with their children. That’s why the prevalence of joint custody has grown exponentially in recent times. This is a two-way street as divorced parents want a relationship with their children as much as the children want to have a relationship with them. And these relationships can happen, despite the upheavals caused by the divorce.
However, the above scenario is possible when their parents can cooperate and there is a low level of conflict. In cases where high levels of conflict prevail, children fair much worse being shuffled back and forth from one belligerent parent to another. In short, joint custody is at once the best and worst arrangement for the children.
Is a 50/50 parenting-time agreement really the best option for the children?
A fifty-fifty parenting-time agreement may not necessarily be in the best interest of the children. It may reflect the desire of the parents to be involved in the children’s lives, but it may imply a much greater interaction between you and your ex-spouse for many reasons: kids forget stuff in one house or another, weekend plans crop up, there are different approaches to discipline, etc. The list of reasons to have communication is long. If you are facing a contentious divorce, talk to your lawyer regarding what custody agreement would give you the best results.
"My biggest mistake was in not retaining you at the onset."- L.M.
"You have been a great help for me and have opened my eyes to a lot of new information and I am very thankful for you and the Law Firm of Victoria."- A.L.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I appreciate your kindness, professionalism and patience. You are truly a blessing."- P.O.
When one parent requests a modification to the court, the judge will agree to hear them out. Under the advice of a custody attorney, the parent may be interested in a modification because it is in the best interest of the child or because there have been substantial changes to the circumstances to the point where they may be affecting the child’s wellbeing. The most common reasons are:
The agreement might state that the custodial parent is not be able to move out of state. It may also state that, in the event of a needed relocation, that parent must file a motion for change of domicile.
One Parent Is Not Following the Terms of the Custody Agreement
They may not be communicating properly, trips out of town might not be announced in advance, the child might consistently not be returned on time, the reasons for disobeying the custody agreement are plenty. If your children are suffering due to violations of the custody agreement, talk to your attorney to request a modification.
Your Child’s Needs Have Changed
Your children have grown and are not toddlers anymore. They may now be in high school, they may have developed a medical condition, or they may be showing signs of emotional distress due to their living circumstances. Once again, your lawyer may help you file a motion for a modification of parenting time.
Situations Might Have Changed
A parent that has been denied custodial rights might want to file a modification of parenting time if, for example, they had been battling with drug or alcohol addiction but can now prove they have been clean for two years and are able to hold a steady job. This might allow them to be granted more time to be spent with the children.
The Children Might Be in Danger
The primary consideration is always the best interest of the children. If one of the parents behaves in such a way as to put the children in danger or if the living situation of the parent is such that the children’s safety cannot be ensured, the court could either modify the order so that the parent in question will have substantially limited custody or cancel the parent’s rights to physical custody of the children.
If you suspect that your children might be in danger, don’t wait and call the police immediately. The next step is to file a motion with your attorney and get an arrangement that will protect your child.
What are the different types of custody arrangements?
Your specific family circumstances might result in any of these custody arrangements:
- Joint physical and legal custody
- Sole physical and joint legal custody
- In rare cases, sole legal and joint physical custody
When one parent receives sole physical custody, a visitation schedule can be agreed to or will be created for the other parent by the judge. This gives the child the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with the parent that is non-custodial.
Understanding Your Rights as a Parent
When it comes to child custody and parenting time, it's important to understand your rights as a parent. Our Birmingham child custody attorney is dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process and advocate for what is best for your child. Whether you are seeking legal custody, physical custody, or modifications to your current custody arrangement, we are here to provide knowledgeable and compassionate legal representation.
Our team can help you understand:
- The different types of custody and parenting time arrangements
- Your rights as a parent under Michigan law
- Factors the court considers when making custody decisions
- The process for modifying an existing custody or parenting time schedule
At The Law Firm of Victoria, P.C., we are committed to protecting the best interests of your child while advocating for your rights as a parent. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your child custody case.
Child custody issues are often the most complicated part of a divorce. Many parents struggle to find a compromise that works within what they both believe is in the best interests of their children without the intervention of skilled child custody lawyers. Other times, families who have completed the divorce process may wish to modify their child custody agreement due to unforeseen circumstances that have caused drastic changes in their lives. Whatever your situation may be, our experienced team can help you seek the best outcome for your family.
By calling our child custody lawyers today at (248) 780-1775, you take the first step toward ensuring that your child’s best interests are upheld. Serving counties of Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, Genesee, Lapeer, and St. Clair.
Consultations are available in-person and by phone for FREE.
Modifying Child Support Orders in Michigan: When and How
- Child Support
Avoiding Common Mistakes in Michigan Divorces Involving Child Support
Grandparents' Rights in Alabama: Understanding Legal Options & Visitation
- Child Custody
The Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Law Matters
Responding to Divorce Papers in Michigan
How Long Does Divorce Take in Michigan?