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Child Custody / Parenting Time

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What Is Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) In A Divorce or Custody Case?


What Is Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) in A Divorce or Custody Case?

In Michigan, the entry of a judgment of divorce is final with regards to property division, division of debt and in some instances alimony.  Custody, parenting time or visitation and child support are always modifiable as well as alimony in many cases.  Unfortunately there are cases where after the entry of the divorce judgment, the parents continue to have conflict and acrimony to the extent that they often return to court to argue about these issues for years.

In such high conflict cases, the court may appoint a lawyer as the guardian ad litem or GAL in cases where the child's interests may be inadequately represented.  The GAL meets with the child and acts as the child's attorney.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Will the Court Consider Non-overnight Parenting Time When Calculating Child Support?


Will the Court Consider Non-overnight Parenting Time When Calculating Child Support?

Typically in Michigan the court will only consider overnight parenting time when calculating child support.  This is because the Michigan Child Support Formula considers only the following specific factors: the income of the parties, health insurance provided by either parent for the children, child care or daycare expenses until August after a child's twelve birthday and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent.

However, in most cases it is worthwhile to check the guidelines manual (which is available online, just google it).  The manual provides a variety of reasons why a parent may ask the court to "deviate" from the guidelines.  The manual states that in cases where a lawyer can convince the court that the application of the formula to a particular case would lead to an unjust or inappropriate amount, the court may consider a list of other factors which would allow the court to order more or less child support than the formula mandates.


Read more . . .


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Desperate Measures to Get Full Child Custody

Q: Would having someone kill my ex-spouse get me full custody of the kids?

It’s a loaded question, but apparently one that needs to be answered for some people. Getting a divorce can be highly confrontational and emotional for some people and result in them exercising poor judgment that may land them—and others who assist them-- in legal hot water.

Some parents will do anything to get child custody. Other parents will do anything for their children--even kill. At least that’s what authorities say was the case for one Missouri woman and her father.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Can the Court Suspend Parenting Time Without Ordering Future Review Hearings?


Can the Court Suspend Parenting Time or Visitation Without Ordering Future Review Hearings?

In Michigan, when parents divorce or separate, the court must determine custody and parenting time (parenting time is the legal term for child visitation).  The parties may agree upon custody or parenting time or if they are not able to reach agreement through mediation, then the court must make the determination based upon the statutory best interest factors.  Once the parties reach an agreement or the court makes it's decision, then the court will sign a judgment of divorce or final custody, parenting time and support order that dictates how these issues will be handled.

However, custody, parenting time and support are always modifiable, so that if there is a change of circumstances or good cause to revisit these issues, then the court may modify the previous orders.  The Michigan Court of Appeals, recently decided a case where the lower court dramatically modified its previous orders over a short time.


Read more . . .


Friday, October 26, 2018

Is It OK For a Parent to Schedule Counseling For A Child Without The Other Parent?


Is It OK For a Parent to Schedule Counseling For A Child Without The Other Parent?

Counseling for children whose parents are divorcing or have recently divorced can be a very good idea.  However, the choice of the counselor and scheduling of the counseling must be planned out and agreed upon by both parents.  There are several reasons that this is true, primarily seeking the best results from therapy for the child.  However, there are several legal reasons why this is true as well.

First, if the parents are not yet divorced, it is assumed by the court that both parents should have an equal say in important decisions regarding a child's health and welfare.
Read more . . .


Friday, October 19, 2018

What Happens if We Agree on Custody and Parenting Time in a Divorce?


Custody and parenting time are generally guided by what are called the statutory "best interest factors"  There are two types of custody, legal custody - ability to make decisions on behalf of the child such as religion and education, and physical custody which generally refers to with whom the child resides.  Parenting time refers to the schedule of where the child will be on any given day during a week, for instance the parents may agree to a parenting time schedule where the child is with mom on Monday and Tuesday, dad Wednesday and Thursday and the parents alternate weekends with the child.

Custody and parenting time are determined by the court by examining the best interest factors and applying them to the facts of each specific case.  This does not mean that the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding custody and parenting time for their children.  When the parents come to an  agreement regarding custody or parenting time, then, pursuant to statute, the court shall order the parenting time terms unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child.
Read more . . .


Monday, October 15, 2018

Five Child Visitation Myths

Visitation and parenting time are often aggressively litigated and disputed matters in a divorce. In some cases, parents believe certain child visitation myths that create unnecessary disputes between the parties. When that happens, it’s a good idea to talk with an experienced visitation lawyer to uncover the facts. Below are five child visitation myths that can create problems for parents who are going through a divorce.

1.  Michigan still uses visitation orders.

Michigan, like many other states, have adopted the term “parenting time” instead of visitation to define when a parent spends time with a child. It is presumed that it is in the best interests of a child to have a strong relationship with each parent, including spending sufficient time with each parent. Therefore, the courts support an arrangement referred to as “reasonable or liberal parenting time” to ensure both parents have abundant access to the child.


Read more . . .


Friday, October 5, 2018

Is an Amicable Divorce Possible?

While bitter celebrity divorces often make the news, untying the knot doesn’t always mean a knock-down drag-out fight for the rich and famous. And it doesn’t have to be that way for people of more modest means either. Getting a divorce can be amicable.

After all, while there may be more marital property to divide for wealthier couples getting divorced, the more important issues of child custody, visitation, and support generally find parents willing to put what’s in the best interest of their children before their issues as a couple. They do this in the spirit of attempting to co-parent successfully if only for the sake of their children.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Can I Get More Child Support If My Child Has Special Needs?


 

In Michigan, child support is strictly determined by a formula by statute.  The statute requires the court to use a formula to calculate child support based upon the income of each parent and the number of overnights the children have with each parent.  The formula also provides an additional sum to the parent that has more overnights to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses and deductibles for the children and a credit to the parent that covers the children's health insurance.  Finally, for children under the age of twelve (12), the formula will reimburse a parent for a portion of his or her verifiable work related child care payments.  This is how basis child support is calculated by the Friend of the Court, without an attorney, these are really the only factors the court will consider in calculating child support.


Read more . . .


Monday, August 27, 2018

What Should I Do If My Child's Mom Isn't Letting Me See Our Child?


What Should I Do If My Child's Mom Isn't Letting Me See Our Child?

As a divorce lawyer of over twenty-two (22) years, I have seen many cases where one parent, either the mother or the father has interfered with the relationship between the child and the other parent or caused issues between the child and the other parent.  This can range from cases where parents have separated (this happens most often in cases where the parents are not married but can happen with married couples as well) and the mother insists on dictating every detail of parenting time, or on the other hand, issues where the mother would like to allow the father to have parenting time, but the father continues to make poor decisions, acts negatively toward her (the mother), neglects the child during his parenting time or the father exercises parenting time sporadically at best.  The parent that is attempting to have a relationship with the child or encourage the relationship with a difficult parent often feels powerless, confused or lost.  Of course, any of these scenarios can involve the mother or the father making the parenting errors.

In such cases it is important to take action as soon as possible.
Read more . . .


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