Experienced Child Custody Attorney in Southfield, MI
Since 1988, the American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM) has represented clients in the Southfield area in a wide range of family law cases including divorce, child custody, child support, and more. We are firmly dedicated to being Michigan's top divorce lawyers for men. Our clients benefit from a team of compassionate and skilled family law attorneys who have experienced countless successful mediations and trials.
We are a group of highly skilled attorneys in the Southfield area who advocate for men's rights in divorce, child custody, paternity, property settlement, post judgment modifications, and a vast array of other family law matters. Men involved in family law disputes need strategic guidance and professional decision making through times that can be extremely stressful. Our approach is to listen, return calls promptly, keep our clients prepared and informed, and understand their priorities and concerns. We are dedicated to being Michigan's leading divorce attorneys for men and practice a policy of integrity in all our dealings.
Child Custody and Child Support Representation in Southfield, MI
At ADAM, we advocate for our clients in matters relating to child custody, parenting time and visitation. More and more, both parties work outside the home and equally participate in child care. The "cookie cutter" parenting time plan of alternate weekends and holidays should become a thing of the past. Creative schedules can be negotiated or litigated so the children benefit from comparable time with both parents.
What determines a court's decision on child custody? Michigan law requires that a judge evaluate 12 different factors, which are referred to as the "Best Interests of the Minor Child Factors." "Best interests of the child" means the sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
- The moral fitness of the parties involved.
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
- The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and other parent, or the child and the parents.
- Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
- Any other factors considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
- While extensive volumes have been written about these individual factors, the overriding consideration is the custody arrangement that will create the least amount of disruption in the child's life.
Michigan Child Support
At ADAM, we will aggressively fight for a fair child support determination, whether our client is the one paying or receiving the child support. Child support is governed by the Michigan Child Support Formula, which is a numerical formula written directly into the statute. The formula takes into account both parties' incomes, minus certain deductions, the percentage of overnight parenting time each party has and an allocation of child-care and health care premium expenses. Of course, the final say in the amount of child support ordered for a party comes from the Judge assigned to the case.
How long is a parent legally required to pay child support? Are there extenuating circumstances that would require a parent to pay child support for a longer period of time?
Child support is payable until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. If a child has not graduated from high school when he or she turns 18, child support may continue until graduation but not beyond age 19 years, 6 months. In order for child support to continue after the child turns 18, the child must live with the payee parent full time, or attend a residential high school and be taking enough classes to graduate by age 19 and a half.
The parties may agree to continue support beyond age 18 and graduation from high school, but there are no provisions for support to be ordered by a court. Parties often put provisions for college education expenses in their judgments of divorce which are enforceable. If a parent is caring for an adult child with special needs, that circumstance could be relevant in that party seeking spousal support from the other parent.
"Lori has been my attorney since 2011 and has seen me through two separate changes to my parenting time agreement as well as a change in child support order. Lori has been nothing but wonderful as my counsel. she has remained extremely professional while also being open and honest with me about my case. I have always been able to get a hold of her when in need and her responses have been quick and to the point. I appreciate all Lori has done for me with regard to my parenting time and I will be forever grateful that she fought hard for me and my children. I would recommend her services to anyone!"* Ryan W.
"Lori Smith represented me during my divorce from beginning to finish with absolute professional courtesy and genuine concern for my case. She showed compassion for my situation even when my health became a matter of concern, which was above and beyond my expectations and a pleasant surprise. In the Courtroom Lori showed exemplary professional courtesy to my ex-wife's attorney and the staff of the Macomb County court system. I want to thank Lori very much for her professional, courteous, honest and caring attitude and representation from beginning to end. I would without a doubt hire this firm again."* Nicholas C.