If you are a parent facing divorce or separation, one of the issues you are most concerned about is the custody of your children. You may be thinking not only about where your children will live and how they will spend time with you, but about how your divorce will affect their well-being. At Paul S. Kowal, P.C., we understand your concerns and are committed to helping your family navigate the challenges of a Michigan custody case with as little stress as possible.
We begin by listening to you. We want to know not only your worries, but your hopes. You are the expert on your family and your children; we have decades of knowledge of Michigan family law, including child custody, child support, and parenting time. Together, we will explore your options, discuss how the law applies to the facts of your case, and chart a path forward for you and your children.
To understand the law of child custody in Michigan, you need to understand that “custody” is really two different things: who the child lives with, or “physical” custody; and who gets to make important decisions for the child, or “legal” custody.
Both physical and legal custody can be sole, with one parent having custody, or joint, with the parents sharing it. It is also possible for one parent to have sole physical custody and for both parents to share joint legal custody. In Michigan, joint custody is generally encouraged because it is important for children to have both parents involved in decisions about their schooling, health care, and religion.
Even if one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent will almost always have parenting time with the child. It is called “parenting time” rather than “visitation” in Michigan to reflect the reality that you are a parent, not a visitor in your child’s life.
It is usually best if you and your child’s other parent can agree on custody arrangements. After all, you know your child, your family, and your schedules best. If you can’t reach agreement on your own, you may be able to do so with the help of your attorneys or through a process like mediation or Collaborative law. Attorney Paul Kowal has extensive experience helping parents reach resolution of their custody disputes.
If you cannot reach agreement, a judge will have to decide your custody dispute. Michigan courts decide both physical and legal custody matters based on “the best interests of the child.” Michigan law contains 12 factors courts must consider in custody cases, including the moral fitness of the parties, each party’s capacity to provide the child with basic needs, the physical and mental health of the parties, and the child’s reasonable preference.
Once a custody order is in place, it can be very difficult to change it, so it is important to get your custody arrangements right the first time.
Having the right attorney can not only ensure a good outcome in your custody matter, but can make the process much less stressful. Remember that bitter custody battles are hard on your children, as well as on you. At Paul S. Kowal, P.C. we are committed to preserving your children’s well-being and your relationship with your kids. We will work as cooperatively as possible to help you resolve your custody matter while firmly advocating for your rights.
Attorney Paul Kowal has over thirty years of experience in Michigan family law, including helping parents in Macomb and Oakland through custody disputes, both in and out of court. Whether you are dealing with an initial custody determination or modification of custody, Paul S. Kowal, P.C., will help you resolve your custody issues and preserve your peace of mind.