How to Make Joint Custody Work in a Michigan Divorce
Generally speaking, it is in the best interest of children to maintain relationships with both of their parents following a divorce, and this is the presumption Michigan courts operate under unless evidence proves otherwise. The result is that the court will always consider cases in which one or both parents seek joint custody.
This could include joint physical custody, whereby ex-spouses share equal parenting time with the kids, and/or legal custody, whereby both parents have a say in major decisions concerning the lives of their children. The exact nature of joint custody decided by the court will be based on the best interests of the children.
Whether you were involved in a contentious divorce and failed to get the sole custody you sought or you and your ex-spouse divorced amicably and agreed on joint custody, the practical aspects of sharing custody could prove challenging in a variety of ways. How can you make joint custody work in a Michigan divorce?
Come to an Agreement on Your Own
The very best way to make sure a joint custody arrangement works for everyone involved (both parents and children) is to coordinate with your ex-spouse to create a workable arrangement that you both feel comfortable with. Some families split time with children during the week while others find it easier to alternate weeks, with kids spending a week at one household and then switching to the other household the following week, just for example.
You’ll have to figure out what works best for you, including splitting holidays, dividing vacation time, and so on. If a divorce is contentious, this simply may not be possible, but if both parents are committed to acting in the best interests of kids, perhaps you can come to an agreement with the help of a mediator. Otherwise the decision will be left to the court, and you may end up with an arrangement that doesn’t work well for either parent.
In the interest of maintaining the status quo, it’s probably best to stick to your custody agreement as much as possible, but this doesn’t mean you have to be inflexible. There are going to be situations in which you or your ex-spouse need to bend the rules a bit for one reason or another.
That’s life – sometimes things happen that are out of your control and you have to adjust. Keep in mind that your unwillingness to compromise when your ex is in a bind could mean that you’ll get the same treatment when you find yourself in a situation where you can’t stick to the set schedule.
Remember Who’s Important
The divorce was about you and your ex. Custody is about your kids and what they need to be healthy and happy. If you’re tempted to bad-mouth your ex or make life hard for him/her by using custody as a weapon, remember who you’re really hurting – your kids. Just because your ex was a bad spouse doesn’t make him/her a bad parent, so do all you can to make your custody arrangement work for the sake of your children.
If you need help litigating a custody arrangement, contact the qualified professionals at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 to get started.
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