A new bill passed the House Judiciary Committee last month requiring divorced couples in Michigan to share joint custody of their children. The bill removes discretion from judges in child custody cases.
Opponents of the Bill
Opponents of the bill include judges, advocates against domestic violence, family court employees and the entire family law section of the State Bar of Michigan. These opponents argue that joint custody could pose a number of problems for both parents and their children.
Having children split their time equally between two households can be confusing and make it difficult for children to put down roots. Shared parenting responsibilities can lead to problems with employment, daycare and schooling. Joint custody also enables parents to bargain for reduced child support obligations.
Joint Legal Custody
Barring domestic violence cases, the bill requires judges in Michigan to grant joint legal custody and equal parenting time. It also prohibits either parent from moving more than eighty miles from the other parent. Children that are age sixteen or older will be given preference on custody.
The bill requires that each parent receives no more than 200 overnights per year with their children.
Joint Custody in Michigan
Joint custody is a popular option among divorcing couples. It is often easier than choosing one parent to have sole custody while the other has reasonable parenting time. As with any situation after divorce, parents must work diligently to make their new family units work.
Michigan has always presumed that it is in the child’s best interest to have a close relationship with both parents. It is extremely rare to encounter a divorced couple in Michigan where one parent has sole custody of the children.
Family Law Attorneys in Michigan
At Nessel and Kessel Law, we understand how difficult divorce can be, especially when children are involved. We work directly with our clients to ensure their parental rights are recognized by the courts. We can help you understand how this new bill will affect your divorce and the custody of your children.
If you are concerned that your parental rights are not being recognized by the courts, or that your child’s other parent is trying to deny you of your parenting time, we can help. Please contact us for more information.