The Family Law Leader

» Child Custody

Q: After 20 years of marriage, I found out that my husband has been cheating on me for over a year and we are in the process of a divorce. He says that he wants joint custody of our three children. I don’t understand how a judge could ever award custody to a person who is clearly at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Can you explain this?

A:  I’m sorry you have found yourself in this position. Unfortunately, in the majority of divorce cases, one or both spouses have gone outside of the marriage for intimacy.… Read More
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Q: I recently filed a motion to change parenting time. I noticed that it has been referred to a family court referee. What does that mean?

A:  In many counties in Michigan, Family Court judges are referring motions regarding parenting time, support, and other post-judgment matters to referees. There is a statute… Read More
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Q: I am involved in a custody case. My children's therapist says that he will testify regarding the best interest of my children. However, I cannot afford to have him appear live at the courthouse. Can I simply submit a letter from him to the judge regarding his opinions in my case?

A: I have had lots of clients ask this question. The short answer is, probably not. The only time this would work is if the other party’s attorney agrees to stipulate to… Read More
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Q: What is the difference between sole legal custody and joint legal custody?

A: Every custody order contains language determining the legal and physical custody arrangements for a child.  With joint legal custody, the parents are charged with the resp… Read More
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Q: My daughter is 14 years old and I have been divorced from her father for several years. When she was young, she enjoyed spending time with her father but now, for a number of reasons, she no longer wants to visit with him on weekends as she has previously done. People have told me that, now that she is a teenager, the court will let her decide where she goes. Is this true?

A:  While the child’s reasonable preference is one of many factors the court takes into consideration when determining custody and parenting time, it is the court and t… Read More
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Q: I am in the middle of trying to negotiate a divorce settlement. I have been told that we must follow the Michigan support formula, but my wife and I agree that, under the circumstances, it is not necessary for me to pay as much support as the formula provides. We both make a very good living, and I have expended substantial funds for the children's travel athletics and other extracurricular activities. Can we deviate from the child support formula?

A:  Unless either of you is receiving public assistance such as food stamps or Medicaid, it is permissible to deviate from the child support formula for a number of reasons.… Read More
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Q: I have read that custody determinations are made based upon the best interests of the child. Shouldn't that always be a 50-50 parenting time arrangement? It just doesn't seem fair any other way.

A:  You’re right; custody cases are decided based upon the best interest of the child factors contained in the Child Custody Act. However, there is nothing in that law… Read More
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Q: I feel like it is not necessary to have the Friend of the Court handle my support case. Can I opt out of this service?

A: Yes. If you and the other party during your divorce or custody dispute, or after the judgment is entered, feel that Friend of the Court services are not necessary, you may… Read More
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Q: I just filed for divorce a few days ago and I got a notice from the Friend of the Court saying I need to come in for a coordination conference. What's that all about?

A: Many counties in Michigan are now using the Friend of the Court Coordination Conference as a mechanism to arrive at a temporary custody, parenting time, and support arrange… Read More
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Q: I was never married to the father of my baby, but his name is on the birth certificate. Does he have any rights?

A: The mother of the child is presumed to have custody of a child born out of wedlock until a court of competent jurisdiction says otherwise. The father does not have the righ… Read More
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