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Parenting after a breakup is challenging for many

In the modern world, including in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, the warm theory of "until death do they part" is replaced for many couples by the cold practice of "until divorce do they part". That fact leaves many couples, whose former fondness for each other has become the most distant of memories, needing to settle a range of issues. Though the division of money is the issue that gets the most attention, the one that goes straight to the heart is child custody. It affects the lives of mothers and fathers who are in the process of getting divorced, already divorced or never married. Of course, most of all, it affects the lives of children who love both of their parents and don't want to lose either of them.

In most cases, one parent will be designated the custodial parent and will have the children living with them for the majority of the time. They are responsible for the primary care of the children, including seeing to it that the children are fed, clothed, clean, healthy and happy. In principle, either of the children's parents may file for custody by submitting what is called a complaint with the circuit court of their county. They can seek an array of different custody arrangements as suits their relationships with their children and their schedule.

When one parent is the custodial parent, the other parent will get parenting time. The amount of parenting time that they get should be spelled out in a court order. Parents who have parenting time that is not being respected by the custodial parent can request enforcement of their parenting time order by the court. To do so, they will need to get in touch with the Friend of the Court and submit a written complaint. The Friend of the Court will then enforce the parenting time order. Of course, parents who are having problems will find that an experienced attorney can provide answers and explain their legal options.

Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, "Custody & Parenting Time," accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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