Parents with Child Custody Issues – RED ALERT!!!

The Michigan legislature is currently considering House Bill 4691 (2017) which, if passed by the full legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder would come into effect sometime in late 2017 or early 2018. If passed, HB 4691 would dramatically alter the how Michigan courts make decisions about child custody.

The most important aspect of HB 4691 to understand is that it will replace the currently existing child custody standards with a new standard.

Notably, the definition of ‘best interests of the child’ would be redefined to include the language:

“(A) MAINTAINING AN ONGOING RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH PARENT AND THE RIGHT OF THE CHILD TO A SUBSTANTIALLY EQUAL PARENTING TIME ARRANGEMENT THAT PROMOTES A STRONG RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A CHILD AND HIS OR HER PARENTS.”

This is a massive change. Under current law, Michigan courts are obligated to evaluate each case using a list of factors before determining what custody arrangement would be in a child’s best interest. The old language is language-neutral as to any particular custody arrangement. Under the new rule, the best interests of a child in a custody case are presumed to involve both parents have “substantially equal parenting time.”

Additionally, if parents involved in a custody or divorce action are residing together at the time of filing, it is presumed that both parents have established a custodial environment. What a significant change!

There are many other changes, most of which are substantial and significant to parents contemplating a new custody matter or modification of an existing custody order.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss child custody or other legal matters, contact Brendan Guilford, Esq. at (269) 389-0687. All discussions are discreet and confidential.

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