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Michigan preparing for potential change to child custody laws

Changes could be coming soon to the way that child custody cases are handled in Michigan. New legislation is going to be considered, making it mandatory for judges to start their cases with the assumption that both parents will be given joint custody rights. This means time with the children and obligations would be split.

The idea behind the new measure is simply that children are better off when both parents remain involved, even when they are not married. Since courts are supposed to seek solutions with the children's best interests as their main focus, this measure would attempt to keep joint custody in place more often.

That doesn't mean it will always be used. It just means that a judge has to provide his or her reasoning when giving sole custody to one parent. For instance, if one parent was deemed unfit to care for a child because of a history of metal illness or abuse, sole custody may still be used.

The new plan is not without its opposition. For instance, some feel that the state is trying to create a "one-size-fits-all" plan, but they caution that child custody cases are actually very complicated and all have their nuances. That could mean that having the same assumption to start every case doesn't necessarily work, they argue.

At any rate, the changes are being considered, and it will be crucial for parents in Michigan to keep an eye on the legislation. If it does pass into law, it could massively change parents' rights and the way child custody cases progress in the future.

Source: The Peninsula, "Opponents say reforming Michigan custody law not in best interest of children," Tracy Rozens, May 08, 2017

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