Bloomfield Township Child Custody Attorney
When a couple with minor children divorces, a child custody order is an important part of their divorce settlement. This is the document that outlines everything about the child’s relationship with his or her parents until he or she becomes an adult, from the schedule the parents follow to share time with the child to how the parents will handle making decisions on the child’s behalf, like determining where he or she will attend school. A child custody order can be modified when it is no longer appropriate due to the child’s changing needs or changes to the family’s circumstances.
Components of a Child Custody Order
There are two components to a child custody order – physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody is the time the child spends with each parent. The parents can have joint physical custody or one parent can have sole physical custody, which means the child lives with him or her full time. When one parent has sole physical custody, the other may have visitation with the child. Another term for a physical custody order is a parenting time schedule.
Legal custody refers to the responsibility to make decisions on the child’s behalf, like the religion in which he or she will be raised and the relationship he or she will have with extended family. Like physical custody, parents can have joint legal custody or one can have sole legal custody.
How Child Custody Orders are Determined
The court determines an appropriate child custody order by considering a set of factors about the parent’s lifestyles and the child’s needs. The court has the discretion to decide which factors weigh more heavily in its decision than others. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The parents’ moral fitness;
- Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s household;
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- The stability of each parent’s household;
- If the child is old enough to express a reasonable preference, his or her preference; and
- Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other and the child custody order.
Modifying a Child Custody Order
As a child grows, it can become necessary to modify his or her custody order. A parent can do this by filing a motion to modify the order with the court that created the original order. If the parents agree to the change, this is a simple process. If they do not, the filing parent must schedule a hearing to determine whether the modification is in the child’s best interest. At the hearing, the filing parent must provide sufficient evidence to support his or her claim that a modification is the right course of action.
Work with an Experienced Bloomfield Township Child Custody Attorney
Child custody can be a complicated subject. When you are involved in a child custody dispute, work with a family lawyer who will be your advocate. To start working with experienced family lawyer Paul J. Tafelski, contact our office to schedule your free legal consultation. During your consultation, we will answer any questions you have.