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New bill proposes standardized joint custody

Divorcing parents throughout Michigan may soon see changes to custody laws that may significantly impact the time each parent spends with custody of their children. A state bill is currently working its way through the legislature that would make joint custody the rule rather than the exception.

Under the proposed law, divorcing parents would not individually receive more than 200 nights of custody in given year, which is a fairly massive shift away from the current system. As it stands now, courts usually grant one parent primary custody while the other parent gets the typical weekends and holidays package.

The bill has gained some momentum, but not everyone is thrilled about it. Opponents of the bill claim that it forces children to spend a great deal of time with a parent who may not want the custody. Furthermore, one of the benefits of the weekends and holidays plan is that it simplifies school attendance. Under a more down-the-middle split of parenting time, a child may struggle to stay engaged in school if they must also contend with changing custody on school nights.

The bill still has a way to go before its becomes law, and is likely to undergo some revision, but it is still a major change in direction for how custody issues get resolved in Michigan.

If you are facing divorce and must reach a custody agreement, be suer to secure the hell you need to properly negotiate a fair arrangement that keeps your child's needs first. Proper legal help can keep the needs of your child protected as you walk through this difficult season and begin to rebuild on the other side.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Required joint custody bill passes Michigan House panel," Kathleen Gray, June 20, 2017

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