This issue is the most emotional and difficult of most divorce cases. Custody may take many forms, including sole custody, joint custody, bird nest custody, etc. The basis for determining child custody is “the best interests of the child.” The following factors are to be considered in deciding what is in the child’s best interests:
MCLA 722.23, MSA 25.312(3)
If custody is disputed, the parents must be told about joint custody.
Child custody orders may be modified if there is a change in circumstances sufficient to justify a change in custody.
The non-custodial parent is almost always granted parenting time. The judgment may order general parenting time, leaving it to the parents to decide the dates, or it may provide specific hours and dates. If long distances must be traveled for parenting time, arrangements can be made to share the cost.
Judgments of divorce provide that the minor child may not be permanently removed from the jurisdiction of the court without the court’s approval. To move the child from Michigan, or to move more than 100 miles from the child’s current residence, the custodial parent must petition the court for an order to change the child’s domicile.
Parenting time orders may be modified on a showing of a change in circumstances.
The law also allows parenting time that has been wrongfully denied to be made up. A custodial parent who wrongfully refuses to allow parenting time may be held in contempt of court and be fined or sentenced to jail. Failure to pay child support is not an acceptable reason to deny parenting time.
The custodial parent is entitled to claim the minor children as dependents for all tax purposes. If the parents agree that the non-custodial parent shall have this allowance, the custodial parent must furnish a signed IRS Form 8332 each year to the non-custodial parent, to be filed with his or her federal income taxes.
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