Detroit Child Custody Lawyer for Women

Championing Mothers’ Rights in Detroit Child Custody Cases

A mom playing on the floor with her daughter.Women form a unique bond with their children. This means that child custody and family law matters can be especially difficult for women to navigate. A child custody battle has the potential to bring out a lot of emotions and conflict, and this can make it difficult for spouses to reach amicable decisions that have the children’s best interests in mind.

If you are facing a child custody case, you should hire a skilled attorney. Whether you need help to negotiate with your spouse or you know it is likely that your situation is going to warrant a court case, legal representation is crucial. With our help, you can minimize the levels of conflict you and your children have to experience.

The law offices of Woodford Sathappan McGee are dedicated to the representation of women. So much so that we only represent women in family law cases. Our goal is to help you feel empowered and to steer you toward a bright future.

Once agreed upon, your parenting plan, child custody arrangement, and visitation schedule will become legally binding following your divorce. For that reason, it is important to fight for a fair and reasonable agreement that works well for everyone.

To schedule a free consultation with a child custody attorney in the local Detroit area, please reach out to our office at 380-212-3731 for a free consultation.

Child Custody in Michigan

As a first goal, we will aim to help you and your spouse come to important decisions without the need for court involvement. Court involvement is costly and time-consuming, and worse still, leaves the decisions in the hands of a family law Judge. The decisions they come to may not be preferential to either party.

If your case requires court involvement, then it will be down to the Judge to decide upon important matters such as legal custody, physical custody, visitation schedules, and parenting time.

Legal Custody

Being granted legal custody in Michigan means the individual will have the complete right to make all the important decisions in their child’s life. This can include schooling arrangements, medical care, dental care, and religion.

Often, parents will be awarded joint legal custody so that both parents have an equal say in the important decisions in their child’s life.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is the right to spend time with the child. Decisions that are made regarding physical custody include the primary residence of the child and who takes care of them on a daily basis.

Studies and research have found that children who have loving parents have a better chance of healthy development if they continue to have access to both parents following the divorce. In accordance with this, Michigan family courts usually prefer parents to share joint custody.

This does not mean that both parents will have an equal share of the time, as, unfortunately, this is not practical for most families. Instead, the child will live with one parent, and the other parent will have visitation rights to see the child for a certain amount of time each week.

One of the most common visitation schedules that families follow is the alternating weekend and one day during the week schedule. Other common plans are the alternating week schedule or a customized schedule created by the parents.

The only time when a family law Judge may decide that one parent should not be granted any form of custody or parental rights is if the parent poses a risk to their children. This is a rare occurrence and you will have to put forward an extremely compelling case with firm evidence proving they are a danger to your children in order for this to happen.

Even in this situation, they may still be awarded visitation, which is supervised by a third party.

Understanding a Child’s Best Interests

At the core of all family law decisions is the rule that the decisions must be made in the children’s best interests, above all else. This means that the courts will make their decisions accordingly.

By working with your Detroit child custody lawyers, you can put forward a custody plan if you have agreed upon it before your case. But ultimately, the decision will be down to the Judge to make. They will make sure that any agreements presented to them fall in line with what they believe to be in the best interest of any children involved.

Some factors that the Judge may consider when looking at a child custody arrangement include:

  • The capacity of each parent to meet the current and future needs of the child.
  • Any evidence of potential risk to the child’s well-being posed by either parent, including a history of abuse, drug misuse, or reckless behavior.
  • The physical and mental health of each parent.
  • Each parent’s preferences regarding custody arrangements.
  • The level of involvement of each parent in the child’s life thus far, including attending school events and arranging medical care.
  • The potential impact of the custody arrangements on the child’s access to their community, including friends and extended family members.
  • The child’s wishes may be taken into account, especially if they are 14 years old or older. The ultimate decision should prioritize the child’s best interests rather than their preferences alone.

A mom trying to reason with her angry daughter.

Domestic Violence Lawyers in Detroit, MI

If you or your children have suffered domestic abuse or child abuse from your spouse, we are here to help. Our attorneys specialize in helping women who have come from abusive households, and we will do everything in our power to help you and your child move to a place of safety.

If necessary, we will help you file a protective order, which will restrict your spouse from contacting you and your children while you file for your divorce. We will also help make sure that the family law court and the Judge know what has been going on.

Child Support in Detroit, Michigan

One issue that often causes arguments when it comes to divorce proceedings and child custody cases is whether one spouse is going to pay child support.

The non-custodial parent (with visitation rights) is typically required to make monthly payments to the custodial parent to support their child. Child support payments are designed to assist the primary caregiver in properly caring for the children and providing for their basic needs, including housing, food, education, and other necessities.

Child support payments typically end when the child turns 18 or 19.5, depending on how old they are when they leave full-time education. However, if they have a mental or physical disability that requires additional care, then payments may need to be made indefinitely. The amount of financial support granted depends on various factors, such as the net income of the other parent.

A skilled Detroit family law attorney can help you determine the amount of child support that your children are entitled to.

Changing a Child Custody Arrangement in Detroit, MI

When your divorce is finalized by a family law Judge, the agreements within the decree become legally binding, and this legal obligation is not one to be trifled with. You and your spouse must strictly adhere to all legal agreements. This includes visitation, child support, and spousal support payments.

This means that you cannot simply decide that you do not want to pay your child support, and it also means you cannot retaliate by withholding visitation. If your child custody arrangement is no longer viable for you and your ex-spouse, you may be able to pursue a modification of your order.

This is not a simple task, but it will allow you and your spouse to change the obligations in the court order. The main reason for doing this is a substantial change in circumstances, such as a new illness or job.

What Happens if a Parent Doesn’t Follow a Custody Order?

A mom hiking with her daughter.

How to Find the Best Detroit Child Custody Attorney For Women

Due to the importance of the outcomes of your child custody arrangement, finding the right attorney is crucial. Your attorney will be the one fighting to ensure your rights are protected and that your divorce proceeds smoothly.

Choosing a law firm can feel overwhelming, so here are a few things to look for:

Narrow Focus

Law firms that handle multiple practice areas may not be as skilled and experienced in family law as those that only handle family law. Woodford Sathappan McGee is uniquely positioned to help you through your family law legal issues. Whether you need a visitation lawyer, child custody lawyer, or someone to help you find assets your spouse may be hiding, we are here to help.

Local Law Firm

Choosing a law firm that practices in your local area ensures that your attorney has a working relationship with local family courts and often with other attorneys that may represent your spouse.

Working with a local attorney can be beneficial as they may have prior experience working with the Judge presiding over your case, which can help them tailor their legal strategy accordingly.

Skills in Mediation

Whilst we will always begin with negotiation meetings, where you and your spouse will sit and discuss your decisions, often, this is not a productive scenario. If you and your spouse cannot sit together and come to the important decisions you need to, the next step is mediation.

Mediation is when you and your spouse are in separate locations and a third party will act as your intermediary. This can help you move forward without letting emotions break down communications.

Skills in Litigation

Unfortunately, mediation and negotiation do not always work and when this happens, you will need a fierce litigator on your side. This means you need to find an attorney that is just as skilled in litigation as mediation and negotiation.

Shared Values

Dealing with family law matters can be a deeply personal and emotional experience, and it is crucial that you and your attorney share similar values. For instance, some lawyers resort to litigation quickly, while others aim to minimize conflicts. It is vital to consider which approach aligns best with your values and what is in the best interest of your family.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, our top priority is the well-being of your children. We aim to minimize conflicts whenever possible. However, we are also prepared to litigate zealously on behalf of our clients.

An Offer of a Free Consultation

Our attorneys offer free consultations to new and old clients. The free consultation is a space for you to tell us what you require, ask some important questions, and for us to evaluate your case.

Detroit Child Custody FAQ

Representation costs vary from case to case and it will depend on how complex your proceedings are. In your free consultation, we should be able to offer a rough ballpark figure and tell you about our fees so you can make your own choice.

Every single child custody battle is different and this means that the length of time they take to finalize will always be different. For some parents, the case may be over in a matter of months. For more complicated cases, you could be looking at over 12 months.

In some cases, you may be able to file for a temporary order which places the same restrictions on you and your spouse as your divorce decree does, but on a temporary basis.

No, in Michigan, gender will never be used against a parent. Going into custody battles, both the mother and father have equal rights. Instead, they will look at the evidence and evaluate each parent on their individual merits.

In this situation, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney at the earliest possible moment as you will need to put together a strong case to put forward to the Judge. Your attorney will advise you on how to do this. Evidence may include photos, professional reports, and witness testimony.

This is a huge no. The legal obligation placed on you by a custody order is a separate matter from your child support order, and you may be held in contempt of court if you do this. Remember, child support payments do not go away, even if your spouse does not want to pay them.

If court involvement becomes necessary, they may have to pay you back the money plus interest, but we recommend speaking to your attorney first so they can speak to them without court involvement to offer them the chance to pay what they owe.

Contact Us, Experienced Child Custody Lawyers For Women in Detroit

Woodford Sathappan McGee is dedicated to helping women in the Detroit, Novi, MI, and Oakland County area through difficult child custody battles. Our law firm understands these cases are particularly tough, and we want to do everything we can to help you. Having strong legal representation is essential in child custody cases to protect your own legal rights and the best interests of your children.

A family law attorney will help educate you on your rights, steer discussions productively, and, if necessary, arrange mediation with your spouse and their attorney.

Our law firm can provide you with guidance on a wide range of family law matters, such as child custody, child support, divorce, spousal support, property division, court order enforcement or modification, protection orders, and other related issues.

Arrange a free consultation with an experienced Detroit family law lawyer at 380-212-3731.