Child Custody, Parenting Time, & Support
We aren’t just lawyers. We’re also parents. Trust us to pursue your children’s best interests as we would our own.
When a marriage or relationship ends, decisions involving children can be emotional. It’s great when you and your ex-spouse or ex-partner can agree amicably on custody, support, and other provisions. But if you can’t, you need a lawyer to fight for your parental rights and develop creative, flexible plans to fit your family’s needs.
The Shimek Law firm has successfully represented parents with traditional and non-traditional families to assert their rights and secure the wellbeing of their children.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan for child custody arrangements. Courts assess many factors when determining where children should reside and how decisions will be made for their education, medical care, and religious upbringing, including:
- The love, affection, and other bonds between each parent and the child.
- Each parent’s ability to continue the child’s education and raise the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
- Each parent’s ability to provide the child with food, clothing, and medical care.
- The stability of the child’s home environment.
- The moral fitness and mental and physical health of each parent.
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
- Evidence of domestic violence directed against or witnessed by the child.
- Evaluations and recommendations from healthcare professionals, experts, and the Friend of the Court.
According to Michigan law, it is in a child’s best interests to have strong relationships with both parents; bonds strengthened through parenting time. The law also gives a child a right to parenting time unless a court determines by clear and convincing evidence it would endanger the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health.
We make sure that parenting time provisions in child custody agreements address weekday and weekend visitation, the child’s holiday and school breaks, changes in a parent’s employment, relocation of a parent, a change in the child’s domicile, and out-of-state or international travel.
Whether or not parents live together, their child needs both emotional and financial support. Without financial support, the child risks emotional harm.
Michigan courts and the Friend of the Court use a child support formula that considers:
- The income of the parents and child
- Seasonal or annual variations in income
- Inheritances and gifts
- Additional children and relationships
- Health care coverage and premiums
- Tuition and educational expenses
The lawyers at the Shimek Law Firm know the importance of properly presenting this information and challenging false or misleading information from the other parent.
Changing Situations, Changing Solutions
Often, parents do not carefully consider future issues related to their children when they file for divorce. As their children grow up and their needs change, modifications or additions may be necessary to the original child support agreement, custody agreement, or parenting time schedules. Also, parents may remarry, get new jobs, lose a source of income, become ill or disabled, or wish to relocate. We can help you modify your existing agreements to meet the current and future needs of your children.
Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Litigation
Resolving questions about custody, child support, parenting time, out-of-state moves, health insurance, medical care, educational options, and other issues related to your children can seem overwhelming. Uncertainty, hostility, anger, and grief can lead to stressful situations for both parents and children.
Whenever appropriate, we utilize alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, negotiation, counseling, and arbitration to resolve family issues. These alternatives to the court system can be faster, cheaper, and less contentious than going to court. If out-of-court solutions fail, however, we are ready to fight for our clients’ rights and the best interests of their children.
If you have minor children and are considering a divorce, or if you need to change existing custody, parenting, or child support agreements, contact the Shimek Law Firm today. We can help you understand your options and develop a plan that works for your children – and you.