Custody of children and other parental rights matters present legal issues that are emotionally stressful and sometimes difficult to resolve. Michigan family law attorney Henry Bergmans applies his years of experience to provide personal support and skillful counsel to assist clients with child custody concerns. With his compassionate approach and highly effective legal guidance, Henry helps clients navigate through the process of resolving custody and parenting matters.
Henry Bergmans understands how child custody and parenting issues differ from other legal matters, because concerns about your children and family are at the very center of your life. Addressing the legal issues puts you in a vulnerable and uncomfortable position. Henry’s compassionate approach to custody matters provides the calming one-on-one support you need as he guides you through the legal process.
Working side-by-side, you and Henry build a strong relationship built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. He begins by getting to know you and understanding your family circumstances and your goals. He then explains the laws that apply to your situation and explores your options for proceeding. His goal is to make certain that you make fully informed decisions that are best for you and your family. Together, you develop a sound strategy for moving forward.
Henry always communicates in an honest and thoughtful manner, while being attentive to your concerns and questions and providing trustworthy and practical advice. When he represents you in court or to opposing counsel, he is a highly effective advocate who always keeps your interests and goals at the fore.
With the benefit of his many years of professional and family law experience, Henry Bergmans has the knowledge and skill to guide you through legal issues involving child custody and parental rights, no matter how complicated those problems may seem. One of his greatest strengths is finding practical solutions to conflicts that initially seem unresolvable. When you count on Henry for help with custody and parenting issues, you get the personal support and professional guidance you need throughout the entire process.
In the State of Michigan, a specific statute applies to child custody matters. The law establishes a standard for all custody and related parenting issues (such as visitation and parenting time), whether resolution comes through an agreement between the parents or in a judicial decision after a court proceeding. The standard focuses on determining what is in the best interests of the child.
The law provides guiding factors for determining what is in a child’s best interests. The factors include a wide range of considerations, including the mental and physical health of the child and parents, the child’s present circumstances and relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, the parents’ relationship with each other, the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the child (in some situations), and the future plans of each parent.
In many cases, parents can reach agreement on the terms of custody and visitation, but the custody agreement must be submitted to the court for review and approval. An agreement may result from discussions between the lawyers for the parents or from a more formal approach, such as mediation or the collaborative process. For both parents, reaching an agreement is preferable to resorting to a court proceeding, which results in a judge making decisions for the parents. The outcome of a judicial decision is uncertain and is legally binding on both parents.
A custody agreement or judicial order covers a broad range of issues affecting the child and the parents. Michigan law makes a distinction between legal custody (the right to make critical decisions for the child) and physical custody (the child’s residence). Both types of custody must be addressed in a custody agreement or judicial order. Legal custody and physical custody can be joint (shared by the parents) or sole (belonging to only one parent). Michigan law favors joint custody, with both parents having a role in the child’s life, but the best interests of the child may necessitate sole custody in some circumstances.
Parents who negotiate a custody agreement also must address parenting issues, such as visitation days and hours, overnight stays, and holiday and vacation arrangements for the child. As with custody, parenting time arrangements for the child must be based on what is in the child’s best interests. If the parents cannot reach agreement on parenting arrangements, the judge makes the decisions for the parents on that basis.
Child custody and child support are distinct legal issues that are decided separately and under different standards. While the “best interests of the child” standard does not apply to child support determinations, parenting arrangements and physical custody (whether by agreement or court order) may affect the amount of child support one parent pays to the other parent.
Whether custody and parenting issues are determined as part of a divorce proceeding or in a separate custody proceeding, the gravity of the outcome and the complexity of the legal principles that apply make it imperative to have capable legal counsel represent you. Your attorney must have excellent negotiation skills and litigation skills to help you navigate through the process.
With his years of experience in family law matters, Henry Bergmans excels in both negotiation and in courtroom advocacy on matters relating to custody and parental rights. When you turn to Henry for help with custody issues, you benefit from the combination of his exceptional legal skills and his focus on providing exceptional, personalized client service.
If you are facing legal issues relating to child custody or other parenting matters in Michigan, you may schedule a free consultation to talk with Henry Bergmans about your situation by calling (810) 360-0900 or by using the online contact form. Based in Howell, Bergmans Law, P.C. serves clients in Livingston County, Genesee County, Ingham County, and Washtenaw County, and in the surrounding areas.