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Michigan Family Law Blog

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Losing Custody Over Punishment Tactics

Q: Can punishment methods impact child custody?

There are many factors that might drive a couple to consider getting divorced in Michigan. Infidelity, financial stresses, and different parenting styles are just a few possible reasons couples may ultimately untie the knot.

Regardless of why a couple chooses to get divorced, the process itself requires separating one household into two households beginning with property division. For couples with minor children, child custody, child support, and visitation are additional issues which must also be worked out.

While there may be instances where dividing assets can be contentious, child custody and visitation are often highly emotional even in the best circumstances. Going from daily physical contact with and involvement in your children’s lives to a part-time parenting scenario is understandably painful for most parents. In deciding such matters in cases where parents can’t agree to terms themselves, the court always defers to the standard of what custody and visitation arrangement would be in the "best interest of the children".

If circumstances later arise that indicate the existing child custody or visitation arrangements should be revised, the parties may be able to petition the court for a modification order.

A potentially new parenting trend could spike the numbers of parents seeking modification orders and could potentially cost parents the custody of their children.

The disturbing new trend involves parents live-streaming videos on social media wherein they subject their children to harsh and/or humiliating punishments.  Some examples include:

  • shaving their heads or giving them “old man” haircuts

  • shooting or otherwise destroying their phones, tablets, and game systems

  • throwing Christmas presents in the fire

  • forcing them to run to school in the rain with heavy backpacks

Psychologists have reportedly warned that such cruel and humiliating tactics can cause lasting emotional harm while the parents who dole out these punishments feel it's only "tough love" for kids who haven't responded to "traditional" punishment.

One mother who allegedly forced her son to drink hot sauce and then take an ice-cold shower while she screamed at him for lying – – taping and sharing the scene on social media – – was convicted of child abuse for the "child shaming" incident.

If you need assistance with a divorce, a child custody issue, or any other family law matter, North Oakland Michigan divorce lawyer, Cameron C. Goulding can help you. Contact the office today to request a consultation.

From our office in Rochester, Michigan, we represent families in transition throughout Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, Lapeer, and Wayne Counties.


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