Labre Law Office | Family Law & Criminal Defense Lawyer | Edwardsburg, MI

Child Custody Disputes

Our Child Custody Disputes Attorney Team at LaBre Law Office Will Represent You in All Facets of Child Custody Disputes in Michigan and Indiana.

Child Custody Disputes

Divorce is exceptionally difficult for parents, but it is exponentially harder for children who don’t understand what is happening around them. Parents must consider how divorce and child custody disputes affect their children. While establishing child custody amicably is terrific in theory, there are instances where this is simply not possible. An experienced child custody disputes attorney can help you navigate this difficult time while prioritizing your child’s interests.

Child custody is one of the challenging issues a parent faces during divorce. We can protect your rights to raise your child in a healthy, thriving environment.

Concerns and Elements of Child Custody Disputes

We understand the particular challenges involved in high-conflict custody cases. We consistently work to diffuse the hostility and reach an amicable agreement on as many issues regarding:

  • Decision-Making Responsibility
  • Enforcement of Orders
  • Grandparent Visitation
  • Parenting Time-Sharing
  • Modification of Custody and Visitation Orders
  • Visitation Rights

The experienced attorneys at LaBre Law Office will help you through a child custody dispute while you maintain a meaningful relationship with the child you love. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Distinguishing Sole Versus Joint Physical or Legal Custody

Michigan grants two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Both have distinct meanings and implications.

Physical Custody

Physical custody in Michigan refers to where the child lives most of the time. It involves the child’s day-to-day care and the responsibility of making minor, routine decisions about the child’s life.

  • Sole Physical Custody: One parent is designated as the primary caretaker, and the child lives primarily with them. The other parent usually has visitation rights.
  • Joint Physical Custody: Both parents share physical custody. The child spends significant time with each parent, although it might not be exactly 50/50.

Legal Custody

Legal custody pertains to the decision-making authority regarding major decisions affecting the child’s life, such as education, medical care, and religious upbringing.

  • Sole Legal Custody: One parent has the exclusive right to make major decisions about the child’s upbringing.
  • Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share the decision-making authority. They must communicate and cooperate on major decisions regarding their child’s upbringing.

It’s important to note that the courts in Michigan generally favor arrangements that allow the child to maintain a strong relationship with both parents unless certain factors exist that would make this detrimental to the child’s well-being. The court always considers the interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.

Parenting Time, Grandparenting Time, and Responsibilities

In Michigan Family Law, visitation rights, known as parenting time, refer to the time a parent spends with their child following a divorce or separation. Grandparenting time is allotted for grandparents to spend with their grandchildren under certain circumstances.

Parenting Time: This is determined based on what is in the interest of the child. Factors considered include the emotional ties between parents and children, the capacity of the parents to give the child love and guidance, and any history of domestic violence. The court typically encourages frequent, continuing contact between the child and both parents. The details of the parenting time schedule (like weekends, holidays, and school breaks) are specified in the parenting time order.

Grandparenting Time: In Michigan, grandparents may have the right to visitation if it’s in the interest of the child. They can request this if the parents are divorcing, separated, or if one or both parents are deceased. However, parental rights are prioritized, and grandparenting time cannot interfere with the parent-child relationship.

Visitation Rights and Enforcing Orders

If a parent denies or limits visitation, it could be due to concerns about the child’s safety, disagreements about the parenting time schedule, or conflicts between the parents. However, unless there’s a risk to the child’s safety, denying ordered parenting time is generally unacceptable.

Enforcing visitation orders can involve several steps:

  1. Mediation: In mediation, a neutral third party helps the parents resolve their disagreements.
  2. Modify the Visitation Order: If circumstances have significantly changed, you can request that the court modify the order.
  3. Court Enforcement: If the other parent continues to deny visitation, you can file a motion with the court to enforce the order. The court can then take various actions, like adjusting the parenting time schedule or ordering makeup parenting time.

To support your case, document each incident where visitation was denied or limited. Include the date, time, location, and a brief description of what happened. This documentation can provide crucial evidence if legal action becomes necessary.

Navigating these issues can be complex. Consult with an experienced Michigan child custody lawyer to understand the appropriate courses of action based on your specific circumstances.

Modifications of Custody Agreements

In Michigan, modifying a custody agreement is a significant legal process that requires meeting certain grounds and following specific procedures.

Grounds for Modification of Custody

To qualify for a modification, a “change in circumstances” must be substantial enough to warrant a review of the custody agreement. These changes could include parental relocation, changes in the child’s health or education needs, or a determination that the child has a justifiable preference (usually considered if the child is of a certain age and maturity). The change must be significant, not temporary, and must directly affect the child’s well-being. Consult with your attorney to assess whether a change meets the necessary threshold to effect a modification.

Child Custody Modification Legal Process

The parent seeking to modify the custody order must file a motion with the court issuing the original custody order. This motion should include all necessary forms, required filing fees, and supporting documentation substantiating the claim for a change in circumstances. It could consist of medical records, school records, or even testimony from family members, teachers, or counselors. Your child custody attorney will guide and assist you through this process.

Three Possibilities When Seeking to Modify Child Custody

Once your motion is filed, the court will review the evidence and may decide to do one of the following:

  • Modify the custody order
  • Enter a new parenting time order
  • Deny the motion for modification

The guiding principle in any decision will always be the interest of the child.

Contact LaBre Law Office To Begin Strategizing For Your Child Custody Dispute

A divorce deeply affects children from the marriage, and custody decisions are made with the interests of the children in mind. The process itself is difficult for the children, and a hotly-contested divorce involving child custody can become overwhelming for both parents in a way that adds to a negative experience.

At LaBre Law Office, our child custody dispute lawyer team is deeply familiar with these situations, and we are prepared to proactively guide you with your goals and your children’s future as priorities in your case. We serve the “Michiana” area, and we can help you on either side of the Michigan-Indiana border.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will discuss the unique factors in your case and begin developing a strategic plan to seek custody terms that are fair and appropriate for your children.

LaBre Law Office — Excellence is Our Standard

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Every situation is different and requires personalized legal strategy and attention. Tell us about your current situation and we would be happy to discuss your legal options. We have the skills, experience and resources needed to provide you with compassionate legal service.

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Why Choose LaBre Law Office?

Our clients in the Michiana area have confidence when LaBre Law Office handles their legal issues because our general practice law firm has established a record as a trusted member of the community for over four decades, serving our neighbors:

  • Caring, aggressive advocacy for your interests in many practice areas
  • We represent clients in both Michigan and Indiana
  • Straightforward, assertive, and dependable guidance
  • Unique legal strategies tailored to each specific case
  • We fully address your concerns so you always understand your case’s status
  • We will be here for you long after your legal issue is resolved

Excellence is our standard. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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