The most important thing in your life is your children, which is one of the reasons that child custody matters can be some of the most painful. Not only do the attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law understand your concern and frustration, but we will do everything we can to make sure that your parental rights are recognized by the courts. Issues involving child custody can involve parenting time, physical custody matters, legal custody matters, sole custody, joint custody, and the ever-present best interest factors. We will explain how all of these issues and factors relate to your specific case.
Legal vs. Physical Custody
Having legal custody of your children means that you are responsible for making decisions about the important things in their lives. These are decisions about where the children will go to school, what (if any) religious instruction they receive, whether or not they need any educational tutoring or psychological counseling, as well as what doctor they visit and what possible treatments they receive. Michigan, like most states, generally prefers for parents to share legal custody of the children. This kind of custody is known as joint legal custody.
Joint legal custody can sometimes become a point of contention when parents aren’t able to agree on a certain course of action when it comes to their children. Unfortunately it only takes one parent to create a conflict in such a situation and it has the potential to make life difficult for all parties involved.
Most judges find that this type of confrontation to be unacceptable when it comes to the best interests of the children. If two parents fight over every question regarding their kids, the most common solution is for the judge to give one parent sole legal custody. After that point, that parent has the right to make decisions about the children’s health, education, and welfare.
Physical custody refers to where the children live on a regular basis. It’s also common for physical custody to be shared by both parents, though it can be held by just one parent. Often times as long as a parent has parenting time every other weekend will qualify a parent as having physical custody.
The Best Interest Factors
Everything in Michigan regarding child custody revolves around what are the “best interests of the child.” These “best interests” are codified by MCL 722.23. The factors include the love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child, the capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, the moral fitness of the parties involved, the mental and physical health of the parties involved, the reasonable preferences of the child, the existence of any domestic violence, and other issues. All decisions made by the court will be guided by its analysis. It’s important that you have an attorney who has a full and complete understanding of the best interests factors so that they can be used to your benefit.
If you believe that your parental rights are not being recognized by the courts, or that your child’s other parent is trying to deny you your rightful parenting time, contact a family law attorney at Nessel and Kessel Law today!