Child Custody Lawyers in Traverse City, Michigan

The child custody lawyers in Traverse City, Michigan at the Neumann Law Group work closely with families going through divorce and couples who live separately to help them develop a child custody and parenting plan that is in the best interests of their children and families. One of the most challenging decisions couples need to make during their divorce is deciding where the children will live, how decisions will be made on the children’s behalf, and how the children will be supported.

It is important to note that there are two types of custody in Michigan: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to both parents’ rights to make decisions on behalf of their children. Physical custody refers to where the children will live following a divorce or split. While both parents will generally continue to share legal custody after a divorce (making decisions for the children), both parents may not share physical custody (though some parents do choose to split time with their children 50-50). The type of custody agreement you and your partner settle upon will depend upon your needs and the needs of your child. The Neumann Law Group is a child custody law firm in Traverse City, Michigan that can help you and your family resolve your child custody questions and reach an agreement that works for your family.

How is Child Custody Determined in Michigan?

If you are going through a divorce or do not live with the parent of your child, you’ll want to put a child custody plan and parenting plan in place. A parenting plan is a legal agreement between two parents that outlines where the children will live, how major decisions will be made for the children, how visitation will be arranged, and more. While it is possible to take your child custody dispute to court, this is not always the best idea. Judges will make decisions based on the best interests of the child standards—a broad set of standards and guidelines. What one judge might think is in the best interests of your children may differ wildly from what you and your spouse believes is in the best interests of the children. Ultimately parents know what is best for their children, so it is often best when both parents can work out a parenting plan together, with the assistance of their child custody lawyers outside of court. Of course, there are situations where child custody may need to be taken to court—for example, in the case where one partner is abusive or where there has been domestic violence.

If both parents cannot agree about how parenting time will be split or agree about custody, they can take their case to court. A judge will make a decision based on what they believe is in the best interests of the children. What factors will a judge consider? Here are a few factors that may be considered by the court:

  • Emotional connection the children have with one or both parents.
  • The ability each parent has to provide the children with love, guidance, and parenting.
  • Ability of each parent to provide shelter, food, and clothing to the child. The courts tend to favor parents who can provide a stable environment, or an environment that will result in the least possible disruption.
  • The mental and physical health of both parents.
  • If the child is old enough and fit to make their wishes known, the wishes of the child may be taken into account.
  • Moral fitness of both parties. The court may review whether the parents have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, incarceration, or other issues.
  • Ability of each parent to foster an ongoing relationship with the other parent. The courts may give preference for the parent who is willing to encourage visitation and support visitation over a parent that seeks sole custody and no visitation. (Though there may be circumstances, like abuse, where limited visitation may be appropriate.)

These are just some of the factors the courts may consider when deciding custody. Many parents choose to resolve their custody matters in private and outside of court. If you and your partner are in the process of developing a parenting plan outside of court, it can be helpful to have a child custody lawyer like the Neumann Law Group in Traverse City, Michigan on your side. Our child custody attorneys can review your case, help you understand your rights, and help you and your former partner draft a parenting plan that works for your family.

The choices you make regarding child custody during your divorce can be stressful. The decisions you make during your divorce can impact your family and life for years to come and can be difficult to change. Getting it right the first time is important. The child custody lawyers in Traverse City, Michigan at the Neumann Law Group can help you and your family find a child custody plan that works. We offer compassionate and caring counsel to individuals and families going through divorce and separation and we can help you.

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