Michigan legal custody – What to do when you cannot agree? By: Daniel Findling
Most divorce cases end with both parents being awarded joint legal custody. “Joint legal custody” means both parents are entitled to equal access and input to the educational, medical, religious needs of the child. With joint legal custody parents must jointly determine the necessity of major elective medical care and make joint decisions on the religious and educational upbringing of the child.
Joint legal custody requires parents to receive the child’s report cards, medical records and current photographs. In addition joint legal custody provides that each parent can attend parent/teacher conferences and all other activities (including sports) and school programs in which the child and/or parents are invited to attend.
It is probably not surprising that many divorced parents cannot agree on a lot of things, including decisions involving joint legal custody. So what happens if the parties cannot agree as joint legal custodians?
When parents, who are awarded joint legal custody cannot agree on an important matters such as education, health care or religion, Michigan custody law provides that it is the court’s duty to decide the issue. The court decides issues relating to joint legal custody by evaluating the 12 best interest of the child factors. In simple terms, the court conducts a mini trial called a Lombardo hearing. Lombardo is simply the name of an old court case. During a Lombardo hearing, one parent is typically seeking to maintain the status quo as to an important issue and another parent is seeking change.
Unlike a best interest hearing for custody or parenting time. With joint legal custody disputes, the court must narrowly focus its consideration on the factors specific to the important decision affecting the welfare of the child.
If you have any additional questions, comments or concerns, I encourage you to set up a free confidential consultation with one of our Michigan divorce attorneys. The consultation is great first step to develop a plan and set goals. We will answer all of your questions. More importantly, you will leave with an action plan for success.
Change is rarely easy, sometimes complicated and often emotional. Our experienced family law lawyers and support group utilize a team approach to focus on solutions. We apply Michigan law and specialize in helping you focus on your goals, protect your property interests, manage your custody and support interest, and keep you happy. Our commitment is to solve problems at an affordable cost. We love to settle cases, but are not afraid to fight.
About Findling Law
I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.
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By: Daniel Findling