Divorce Lawyer Handles Child Custody Issues

Michigan firm represents parents in Macomb and Oakland counties

Shatzman & Shatzman provides comprehensive counsel on child custody concerns to divorcing parents so that they can create the healthiest possible environment for their sons and daughters. Located in Rochester Hills and St. Clair Shores, our firm draws on years of experience and extensive knowledge of Michigan law to find solutions that are truly in the best interests of young people. Whether you’re just beginning the divorce process, need to make a change in an existing parenting time plan or are looking for guidance on how to enforce a custody order, we can help.

Divorce lawyer outlines standards for residence and parenting time

A divorce is often a substantial disruption in a child’s life no matter how well his or her parents handle their breakup. Setting up a fair, clear structure for the next phase in everyone’s lives helps young people move ahead without having to worry about who is responsible for decisions or where they’ll be spending a certain holiday. Before you start discussions about custody and parenting time, you should understand:

  • Legal custody — Ground rules must be set regarding who will have control over the important decisions that affect a child’s life, including those pertaining to medical care, education and religion. Michigan law refers to this as legal custody and it is frequently granted on a joint basis so that both parents have a say in how their child is raised.
  • Physical custody — Where a child lives following a divorce can be an emotional, highly disputed matter. In sole physical custody arrangements, one parent has primary responsibility for day-to-day care, with the other granted visitation rights based on the parenting time order. Joint custody is also possible, even if the child does not spend an equal amount of time in each parent’s home.
  • Parenting time — Michigan law uses “parenting time” to describe what many people call visitation. After conducting a thorough review of the relevant circumstances, we work to create a detailed schedule that gives both parents ample time with their child regardless of where their primary residence might be. By addressing issues such as holidays, transportation and vacations, our firm minimizes the potential for confusion and conflict. If your co-parent fails to honor the terms of the order, we can pursue relief in court, which might involve modifying the visitation arrangements.
  • Determining factors — State law provides numerous factors courts must consider when making custody and visitation determinations, such as each parent’s moral fitness and their ability to meet their child’s needs. One important element is whether an established custodial environment exists. This means that if one parent has been primarily handling parental duties, a judge might be inclined to continue that arrangement. The preference of a child who is deemed to be of sufficient age and maturity can also be taken into account, though courts do not have to honor a young person’s request.  

Despite their differences, divorced parents do need to maintain communications and flexibility after their marriage is terminated. Usually, working together to develop custody and parenting time arrangements gives them the best chance to avoid problems later on. Of course, sometimes that’s not possible, so rulings are handed down by a judge. Should this be the case, we make strong arguments in court and can assist parents who seek to revise inappropriate orders. 

Skillful advocate works on modification and relocation petitions

In situations in which the parties have joint legal custody, court approval must be given if a parent seeks to move a child to a different state or more than 100 miles away from the other parent within Michigan. In relocation cases and other situations where a mother or father wants to modify a custody or parenting time order, our firm reviews the facts and works with our client to get approval from the child’s other parent for the change. When a dispute exists over a proposed adjustment, we argue in court on behalf of clients whether they request or oppose modifications.

Thorough attorney advises on grandparent custody and visitation

Many grandparents play a major role in the lives of their grandchildren, but situations can occur where they aren’t able to see them. Parents are given control over who sees their children, but in circumstances where a divorce occurs or parents live apart for some other reason, grandparents can attempt to persuade the court that giving them visitation rights is in the child’s best interests. When grandparents believe that parents or guardians are not able to fulfill their responsibilities, our firm offers advice regarding the likelihood of obtaining visitation or custody.  

Contact a compassionate Michigan child custody lawyer for a free consultation

Shatzman & Shatzman assists Michigan parents in all types of child custody matters. For a free consultation, please call 586-800-3018 or contact us online. We are located in Rochester Hills and St. Clair Shores.