Child Custody Motions Must Be Properly Labeled

The Michigan Court of Appeals has considered a number of family law cases this term, including the case of John Lieberman and Kimberly Orr. The Court of Appeals was forced to answer the Shakespearean question, “What’s in a name?”

As it turns out, a rose by any other name remains a rose. In this case, a change in custody is a change in custody, even if the parent requesting it purports to only be changing parenting time.

John and Kimberly Lieberman divorced in 2008. [Explaining the procedural history of their divorce and subsequent custody litigation would take more time to read than the War and Peace, so we’ll spare you the grief.] It is enough to say that by the time the motion that is the subject of this appeal was filed, John and Kimberly were veterans of the family court system in multiple counties.

In May 2016, John filed a motion to “modify parenting time and change schools“. At the time, the parties had joint legal custody of the children, and Kimberly had primary physical custody. John had parenting time three weekends out of each month, and had parenting time for all but the first and last weeks of summer vacation. Various allegations were made, but the trial court, in granting John’s motion, relied heavily on the youngest child’s poor academic performance and minor hygiene issues while in Kimberly’s care.

The factual arguments advanced in the case are fairly straightforward; the family court judge applies those facts to the statutory “best interest” factors. Before arriving at that point, however, the trial court judge must first make a series of threshold determinations.

When a party seeks to modify a pre-existing parenting order, as John did in filing his motion, they must show either proper cause or a change in circumstances. Adding to the complexity, proper cause or change in circumstances take on different meanings depending on whether the parent is requesting a change in custody or simply a change in parenting time.

The courts recognize that changes in parenting time are often necessary as a child grows older, parents experience job changes, etc. For that reason, the threshold for requesting a change in parenting time is low, any normal life change will suffice.

In addition to enjoying a lower threshold, motions to change parenting time also have a lower standard of proof. The moving parent must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the change is in the best interest of the child.

A change in custody is a major disturbance in the life of a child, and as such, must meet a higher threshold and a higher standard of proof. A parent seeking to change custody must show that a major change has occured that will have an effect on the minor child. For a court to issue an order that changes custody or the established custodial environment it must find that a major change has occured and that the proposed change is in the best interest of the child by clear and convincing evidence.

The Child Custody Act defines the established custodial environment as the home or homes where “over an appreciable time the child naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort”.

The trial court granted John’s request and entered an order changing the parenting time schedule and allowing him to enroll the children in a new school. In making its ruling, the trial court held that it was a motion to change parenting time and that the lesser standard, preponderance of the evidence, applied.

Kimberly appealed the family court to the Court of Appeals; that was not persuaded by John’s argument that the motion sought only to change parenting time. The opinion, published on March 7, 2017, held that the proposed change constituted a change in physical custody, thus triggering the increased threshold and heightened standard of review.

In its opinion, the Court of Appeals went further and stated that the heightened standard and threshold should have been used even if the proposed change was only a modification in parenting time because of the change to the established custodial environment.

For us family law practitioners, this means that how motions are titled does matter. Lawyers practicing in family law can no longer masquerade a custody motion in the cloak of a parenting motion.

If you or a family member have a custody or parenting time issue, contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation.

Oakland County Lawyers


Tri-Custody: Shared Custody with Three Parents

What is Tri-Custody?

Shared custody arrangements often arise in some non-traditional families. For example, a tri-custody arrangement is a child custody arrangement between three people: a father, his wife and the biological mother of the minor child.

Here in Michigan, the applicable child custody statutes narrowly tailor the rights of third parties to minor children. An open question at common law is where a non-biological parent, a mother-figure, has standing to bring a shared custody cause of action.

Strange Case in a New York Family Court.

In a case from Suffolk County, New York, plaintiff, the non-biological, non-adoptive “parent” sought tri-custody of a 10-year old boy. She helped raise the boy with his father, her husband. You might wonder how folks get into such unconventional relationships.

A bench trial demonstrated that a married couple invited one of Wife’s friends to move into their home. Over time, they became a sexually active threesome.

The trio lived as a family unit, planned and had a child with the wife’s friend serving as the biological mother. This arrangement seemed like a reasonable solution to wife’s infertility.

When it all blew-up, wife and her friend tired of husband, and moved-out with the minor boy. Wife then sued husband for divorce.

Somewhere along the way, the wife’s friend brought a custody action against the husband. Her claim was resolved by a joint custody arrangement featuring the boy living with the two women -who remained together- and having liberal parenting with his father.

Family Court Endorses Two Moms and a Dad.

Eventually, wife sued for a portion of the available custody. Wife asserted she wanted a ruling from the family court to protect her in case neither her long-time friend [and now partner] or her ex-husband would allow her to see the boy or to stay in his life.

The family court judge was persuaded by evidence that during the first 18 months of the boy’s life, all three adults taught the boy that he had three parents; a dad and two moms. Each of the three adults held themselves out as a family unit.

In addition, wife asserted that she was allowed by father and the biological mother to serve as a co-equal parent. This was the family arrangement to which the boy had become accustomed.

The family court found that the shared custody arrangement, with contact between all three parents, would serve the boy best in the long run.  In granting wife’s request for shared custody, the court noted that evidence clearly established the boy’s need for a continuing relationship with wife; that relationship should not be dependent on the whims or the consent of father or wife’s friend.

Does a Parent Figure Have Standing to Sue for Shared Custody?

The family court judge concluded the shared custody arrangement was consistent with New York’s marital equality law. Here in Michigan, wife’s standing is a case of first impression.

If you or a family member face an unusual custody challenge, contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation.

Oakland County Lawyers


Child Support Calculator Available On-Line

Used to be that family court litigants, when attempting to accurately calculate their child support, needed to check with a lawyer who owned proprietary software. Those days are over as the DHS Office of Child Support has now put a new child support calculator on-line.

New Way to Calculate Child Support.

Here is a link to the calculator, known simply as CALC. This public child support calculator has been used by the Friends of the Court and its staff for a while now. Finally, the calculator is public.

Because child support is calculated through an algorithm, using inputs of the relative income of the parents and the number of overnight parenting sessions in each home, the support obligation should be the same, regardless of what calculator is used.

In the past, various software programs available to attorneys calculated child support in similar fashion. Different programs did yield slightly different outputs.

The CALC program may bring a long-overdue standardization to the process of calculating child support. So long as the inputs are accurate, this child support calculator determines accurate support obligations.

Sometimes, it may be difficult to determine the relative incomes of the parents. This is especially true of self-employed payors.

The public nature of CALC allows a litigant to check their child support obligation prior to initiating a case, or seeking review of an existing support obligation. Agreements between parents should be easier to attain with the availability of this support calculator.

We Can Help.

Our staff of lawyers will be receiving training on CALC next week at the Oakland County Friend of the Court. FOC staffers who have been using CALC for some time will present it to members of the family court bar. Lawyers will learn some of the tricks to this software.

If you have a child support case, hit the link above to determine your probable child support obligation.

Oakland County Lawyers


Genesee Circuit Court’s ADAPT Program Gains Ground

On November 14, 2014, Judge Richard Yuille signed an order implementing the ADAPT Pilot Program in Genesee County. ADAPT is the shortened name for a program officially known as Acquiring DNA and Paternity Timely.

This program was designed to quickly establish paternity of children born out of wedlock. It has a secondary goal of reducing the adversarial nature of paternity proceedings. As the primary goal of establishing paternity is to collect child support and provide fathers with parenting time, the program also provides participants with access to the resources they need to successfully raise their children.

The ADAPT program is the brainchild of Genesee Circuit Judge Duncan M. Beagle and John Battles, the Director of the Genesee County Friend of the Court. Judge Beagle has been on the bench in Genesee County since 1991; he was assigned to the Family Division at its inception in 1998.

In addition to his assignment to the Family Division, Judge Beagle also presides over truancy proceedings, and the Family Dependency Drug Court. Mr. Battles has served as the Friend of the Court director since 2006. Prior to that, he represented children in the Family Drug Court, and worked as a managing attorney handling child abuse and neglect cases.

Both men utilized their resources and assembled a partnership that included the State Court Administrative Office, the Office of Child Support, the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Hurley Medical Center.

Hurley Medical Center provided the vital missing component-early access to the parents who would benefit from the program. Rather than waiting until after the child is born, staff at Hurley are able to provide information to eligible participants at their prenatal appointments, thus beginning the process well before the child is born.

This program has been a success. In the first year, more than 500 families met with Friend of the Court employees for educational sessions at Hurley Medical Center. A recently released report indicates that paternity was frequently established when the child was two months old, rather than at age 3, the average age under the traditional system.

Establishing paternity early in a child’s life allows fathers to be involved from the beginning with custody, parenting time, and support orders all entered for the benefit of the child. Studies have shown that parents who have frequent and regular parenting time with their children are more willing to provide support for their children. Establishing custody and parenting time orders as well as a support order increases the likelihood that the parent will pay their child support.

ADAPT also provides for a less adversarial process than the traditional process for establishing paternity. Rather than filing a lawsuit the parties participating in the program sign an ADAPT waiver. An informal meeting takes place approximately four weeks after the child is born where the parties work together with the Friend of the Court, the prosecutor’s office, and the Court to come to an agreement on custody, parenting time, and child support.

If the parties are able to reach an agreement, they are eligible for further services through the program. These services can include anger management, substance abuse counseling, educational services, and job training, all depending on the needs of the parties.

Oakland County Lawyers


When a Divorced Parent Wants to Move Out-of-State

One of the most difficult situations in divorce is when one parent plans to move out-of-state with the children. Without a family court judge’s approval, a change of domicile is disallowed.

Recent Case

Family courts frequently struggle with change of domicile motions. The Michigan Court of Appeals recently published a case that highlights some of the questionable parental decisions that follow in the wake of divorce.

In Yachcik v Yachcik, seven years after her divorce, mother fell in love with and married a man who worked and lived in Pennsylvania.  So she requested leave from the Alpena County Family Court to take her son with her to her new husband’s out-of-state home.

Under the child custody act, a parent cannot move the minor children’s residence out-of-state, or more than 100-miles, without permission of the family court.

Mother’s motion offered the child’s father parenting time consisting of 10-weeks in the summer, Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and most of the child’s other school-related holidays. At the hearing on Mother’s motion, the usual “better life” proofs were offered to the lower court.

Mother and her witnesses testified that she had a job at a Cadillac dealership waiting for her in Pennsylvania; her son was admitted to the local private Catholic high school; mother would have more resources to allocate to her son due to the savings realized by not having to maintain two separate households, not to mention the elimination of frequent travel.

Unpersuaded, the court denied the motion, but offered mother the same parenting schedule she proposed for father if she elected to move to Pennsylvania without her son. During the hearing, Mother indicated to the lower court that she was moving regardless of the court’s ruling on her motion.

Change of Domicile Factors

Just as in a change of custody hearing, a family court considers a domicile change request pursuant to a series of statutory factors:

  • whether the relocation will improve the quality of life for both child and parent;
  • the degree to which each parent exercises their time under a parenting schedule and the degree to which the relocating parent is moving to thwart the other’s parenting time;
  • if the move is permitted, the degree to which the parenting schedule can be modified to preserve and foster a relationship between the child and each parent; and
  • the degree to which the non-relocating parent is motivated by a desire to minimize his or her child support obligation.

Applying these factors, the family court judge found that while it was clear mother’s life would be improved by the move, her son’s case was less clear. Of significance to the court, the boy had no family or friends in Pennsylvania except his mother. Meanwhile, he had many family members and friends in Alpena.

Court of Appeals Upholds Family Court

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling denying mother’s request to change the domicile of the child. This mother painted herself into a proverbial corner; she took care of her own needs first by re-marrying someone that lived out-of-state.

Family courts must maintain the best interests of the child as it primary focus.

We Can Help

If you or a family member are facing a change of domicile motion, schedule a free consultation with our law firm to assess your options.

Oakland County Lawyers


Michigan Legislature Proposes Parity in Parenting Schedule

Some time ago, Rep. Jim Runestad [R-White Lake] introduced legislation -known as HB 4141– that would create a presumption of joint custody in any dispute between parents. Rebutting this presumption will require clear and convincing evidence that a parent is, “unfit, unwilling, or unable to care for the child.” Parental termination proceedings, for example, would render a person an “unfit” parent. Unless one parent is deemed unfit, joint custody is mandated.

In addition to a presumption of joint custody, the bill proposes a parenting schedule featuring specific and substantially equal periods of parenting time with each parent. The bill also calls for the parenting sessions to alternate; to wit, the so-called week-on-week-off schedule, or the 2-2-3 schedule featuring long 3-day weekends for each parent. Joint custody, the bill confirms, does not obviate the requirement of child support.

While appearing fair-minded at first blush, this innovative bill has attracted much opposition from professional groups. For example, the Oakland County Bar Association registered its opposition in a formal position paper which states:

Mandatory equal physical custody would make the best interest of the child factors irrelevant and treat all families exactly the same.  It would require that both parents live in the same school district or travel distances for schooling, require the children to move frequently from house to house regardless of the child’s preference and allow any parent, including convicted felons, to demand equal parenting time. Requiring a standard of ‘unfitness’ to be found by ‘clear and convincing evidence’ directly contradicts nearly all other provisions of the Child Custody Act.  This bill again attempts to remedy a perceived problem which, in fact, does not exist.  The current custody statute(s) and subsequent case law clearly permits a court to determine when it is in the best interest of a child that joint custody, or equal parenting time, be ordered. 

This bill focuses on the needs of the parent instead of the needs of the children. 

Thus, according to the OCBA and the local family law bar, custody and parenting time cases should continue to be decided on a case-by-case basis. This also was the view of the two recently retired family court judges, Joan E. Young and Elizabeth Pezzetti, based on our firm’s frequent appearances before both jurists.

Languishing in the House judiciary committee over the past two years, it does not look like the bill will acquire the requisite traction to amend the Child Custody Act. This term, however, Rep Runestad is seeking to rename this law the “Shared Parenting Act”. Sponsors of the measure claim that the new law would end competition and alienation between parents by putting the children first.

The family law bar again disagrees. Wayne Family Court Judge Richard Halloran, Chairperson of the State Bar of Michigan’s Family Law Section, testified in opposition to the measure when testimony was taken in committee back last September. Other family court professionals and thought leaders, on the other hand, see the measure gaining momentum.

A resolution was passed at the conclusion of the testimony acknowledging the harm caused to the minor children when a parental relationship is disrupted by the other parent. This is known in the industry as parental alienation.

If you or a loved one are involved in a custody dispute, contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Oakland County Lawyers


Michigan Supreme Court Considers Parents’ School Dispute

The Michigan Supreme Court addresses a child custody dispute involving the children’s school. This post discusses the procedural implications of the anticipated ruling.

For most people, springtime brings warmer weather and melting snow. For family law attorneys, it also brings motions to change the school districts of their children. If filed in the spring, these motions can be resolved before the child returns to school in the fall.

The Ozimek v Rodgers Case.

For the 9-year old son of Vanessa Ozimek and Lee Rodgers, that process has taken a bit longer. The Michigan Supreme Court has decided to hear oral arguments on the application for leave to appeal. The court will hear brief arguments from both attorneys regarding why the issue in Ozimek v Rodgers should be considered by Michigan’s highest court.

On the same day, the Court will also hear arguments in the case of Kimberly and Peter Marik, divorced parents of elementary school children. The parents in both cases disagreed about where their children should attend school; in both cases, the parent requesting the school change lost in the county family court.

The issue before the Supreme Court is not where the child should attend school, but how the Court of Appeals should treat an order regarding changing schools. Specifically, the Supreme Court may decide whether the order resulting from a motion to change schools is an order “affecting the custody of a minor” under the Michigan Court Rules. If a ruling on a change of school district is an order affecting the custody of a minor then it is a final judgment in the eyes of the court and thus entitled to appellate review by right. A fine distinction, but one with significant consequences on appeal.

Appellate Consequences of the Case.

There are two avenues of accessing the appellate courts. The first is through an appeal of right. The right to appeal in domestic relations cases is created after the circuit court enters a final judgment. An appeal of right is protected; the Court of Appeals must address a properly filed appeal of right on the merits.

All other appeals must be first approved by the Court of Appeals through a process called application for leave. No oral arguments are held on the application. Also, the appellate court has broad discretion to accept or reject the application for leave to appeal.

The Court of Appeals has already ruled that the denial of Ms. Ozimek’s motion did not affect custody of the minor child. She is therefore not entitled to an appeal of right. The court reasoned that, while the change affected decision making for the minor child, it did not change the time the child spent with either parent. Thus, the school decision did not affect custody of the child.

While there is a right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, there is no appeal of right to the Michigan Supreme Court. Once the party appealing the Court of Appeals decision files an application for leave to appeal, the Supreme Court has three options. The most common result is denial of the application for leave.

If the Supreme Court decides this matter as a calendar case, expect to see arguments from the Michigan Coalition of Family Law Appellate Attorneys. The family law bar is dedicated to expanding the domestic relations cases entitled to appellate review. The bench is equally dedicated to minimizing that number.

The Court of Appeals cautioned against an expansion of the rule in Ozimek, citing the crushing backlog of appeals.

We Can Help.

If you or a family member has a school-related dispute, contact our law firm to discuss your options.

Oakland County Lawyers



Family Court Judge Cannot “Rubberstamp” FOC Child Custody Recommendation

Many county family courts provide various methods for Friend of the Court evaluation and recommendation in child custody disputes. The ultimate decision relating to custody, however, cannot be delegated to the local Friend of the Court says a brand new Michigan Court of Appeals published decision.

The Ingham County case, Bowling v McCarrick, stands for the principle that family court judges must make their own factual findings in a custody dispute. Those findings cannot rely on the conclusions of the FOC as to whether the parent requesting a custody change has met the initial burden of showing a “change of circumstances” that would justify the modification.

In family courts, judges have wide discretion to make that critical initial determination regarding whether the family circumstances have shifted such that a change involving the child warrants a full evidentiary hearing. Unless that initial showing is made, the custody request goes no further.

Ingham County utilizes a “conciliation conference” where a FOC family counselor makes the initial attempt to resolve a family’s custody dispute. If the conciliation conference does not settle the matter, conciliator files written recommendations to the family court which become the order of the court unless one of the parents object.

Sounds like some major-league delegation of a very important task. One of the aspects to the Ingham County procedure that troubled the Court of Appeals was the lack of standards for a conciliator’s report:

We have not addressed whether the conciliator’s report may be relied upon by the trial court as to a best interest determination should the court find proper cause to consider a change in custody. Given that this record does not clearly set forth the training, job responsibilities, or authority of the conciliator in Ingham county, and given the lack of any statewide court rule governing conciliation, we cannot determine if the conciliator’s report would fall within MCL 552.505(1)(g) and MRE 1101. Accordingly, if it finds proper cause to consider a change in custody, it would be prudent for the trial court to conduct a full evidentiary hearing on the best interest factors rather than to rely on a conciliator’s report.

Family law professionals are faced with the prospect that not every dispute merits a full-blown evidentiary hearing. On the other hand, when faced with a never-ending supply of disputes, the family court staffers tasked with making initial threshold custody decisions are pressured to be very selective in recommending a full hearing based on the requisite “change of circumstances”.

Sometimes, on the wrong day, or due to the distortion caused by a quick presentation of a complex set of facts, an initial determination by a low-level professional can be wrong-headed, particularly when a case is not allowed to proceed. Although not every case deserves to proceed to a hearing, families are poorly served by incorrect decisions in this regard.

What the Bowling panel’s decision now requires is for the family court judge to make her own determination, based on an offer of proof made by the moving party, as to whether a sufficient change has occurred. The family court judge cannot rely on the recommendations of a FOC staffer such that it becomes the proverbial “rubber stamp”.

At our law firm, we believe this is a solid ruling by the Court of Appeals on an important family law issue. Judges must make their own custody determinations; even the initial determinations that are so evidence-intensive.

In doing so, they can rely on the assistance and resources of the local Friend of the Court. The judges should avoid, however, a complete reliance to the point of abdication of their judicial responsibility. Efficiency does have its limits in the messy industry of child custody.

If you or a family member are facing a custody motion or a hearing, contact our law firm to discuss your evidentiary options. We offer a free consultation regarding the specifics of your case.

Oakland County Lawyers





Adultery Still Affects Alimony

In one of its first published opinions of the year, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that an extramarital affair can affect an alimony award in divorce proceedings that go to trial. Adultery is one factor the family court judges can and should consider in resolving spousal support.

The case, Cassidy v Cassidy, comes out of the Genesee County Family Court. Judge Kay Behm, a judge’s judge if there ever was one, issued a well-reasoned opinion that was challenged and affirmed on appeal. Husband had a two-year affair prior to Wife filing for divorce, and he spent, paid or “loaned” over a half million dollars to his mistress.

Leaving no stone unturned, Wife named the other woman as a third-party defendant. After 15-days of trial, mostly devoted to resolving the issue of whether Husband and his mistress intended to defraud Wife, the court issued a judgment of divorce that is very favorable to Wife. Judge Behm also imposed liability on the mistress, who joined in the appeal.

Wife put in 30-years at General Motors, helped raise Husband’s daughter, and remained faithful during the marriage. Husband had periods of unemployment where Wife served the family as the sole bread winner. Husband incurred tax liability due to under-reported income.

With these proofs going in, it did not take Judge Behm long to construct an equitable judgment of divorce. Husband was ordered to pay $1000 per month in spousal support; he was held solely liable for any tax debts; and was ordered to pay Wife’s attorney fees. The mistress was ordered to pay back a portion of what came to be characterized as a loan from Husband to Mistress.

All of Judge Behm’s decisions in this sordid yet complicated case were affirmed on appeal, including her ruling on a dispositive motion form the Mistress. On appeal, the mistress’ claim was rejected that she, as a third party, was entitled to a jury.

Now that’s a trial we would have paid to see. A fire sale on the Hummer and the husband’s [latest] business, alcohol, gambling and, of course, sex. “Enough blame to go around”, Husband’s lawyer was quoted as saying.

For us practitioners over here at Clarkston Legal, this soon-to-be-published decision of the Court of Appeals -affirming Judge Behm- signals that judges can and should take a spouse’s bad conduct into account; that there are consequences for morally bad behavior.

Oakland County Lawyers



Parenting Time Coordinators in Family Court

In high-conflict divorce cases with minor children, one of the most heated issues is parenting time. Daily routines, recreational activities, discipline, and health care management are often disputed between parents.

Family court professionals seek creative solutions to these difficult and often recurring problems. Given the nature of the disputes, using all the tools in the toolbox becomes necessary to resolving parenting time conflicts with the goal of peace between the parties.

Unfortunately, high-conflict divorce cases are not so easily settled; the peace sought is difficult to find. In the past, when faced with such a case, a family court could appoint a parenting time coordinator to assist the court and the parties with resolution of their vexing issues. Parenting time coordinators conserve judicial resources and create another impartial arbiter to make recommendations on the many parenting time issues.

Until recently, however, no statute governed the appointment and employment of the parenting time coordinator. Utilization of a coordinator varied greatly from county to county and from judge to judge.

In January of 2015, the parenting coordinator bill was grafted into the child custody act, officially sanctioning the parenting time coordinator with specifically enumerated powers. What remains the same when appointing the parenting time coordinator is an agreement by the parties to the use a coordinator and the specific issues the coordinator can address.

When considering a parenting time coordinator it is important to create a detailed appointment order to properly define the scope of authority of the parenting time coordinator. It is also important to determine whether a parenting coordinator’s recommendation will have interim effect, or even binding effect, for situations where a party doesn’t agree with the recommendation and desires an audience with the court.

The parenting time coordinator may be authorized to have access to relevant information and interested persons to the case including: the minor children; therapists for the parties or child; school, medical or activity records; teachers, principals or aides; evaluations or psychological testing results; and the parties and their respective attorneys. The coordinator is empowered to speak with both parties, or only one party, and to exclude another party or their attorney. However, both parties will have the opportunity to make their case to the parenting time coordinator prior to any recommendations by the coordinator.

It is important to think about a number of factors when you are considering a parenting time coordinator for your case. Primarily, you must think about whether a coordinator is right for your situation and what the appointment will require.

The chief purpose of the parenting time coordinator is to alleviate conflict, conserve resources and stop parties from continuously filing motions and going to court. If one party or the other refuses to abide by the parenting time coordinator’s recommendations then there will be no savings for the parties, or the court, and the parties will have added an additional layer of cost to the case.  You and your attorney should determine whether the appointment of a coordinator can create stability and peace or is just another avenue for conflict.

Once you have determined that a parenting time coordinator is appropriate, you and your attorney need to consider what type of coordinator is right for the job. Whether a strong personality or a soft touch is needed in your case.

Deciding between a lawyer, therapist or other qualified individual is important based on what goals you are looking to achieve with the parenting time coordinator. Another crucial consideration is that judges opinions still vary as to how and when to use parenting time coordinators. Knowing if your judge favors their use and who the judge prefers to serve in the role will shed some light in this area. If a judge trusts a parenting time coordinator, they are more likely to adopt recommendations.

In sum, decisions surrounding the need and use of a parenting time coordinator in a high-conflict divorce are legion. If you think that appointing such a professional would be helpful to your case it is important that you fully understand the benefits and drawbacks based on the particular facts to your situation.

It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who knows the courts and is familiar with a wide-range of individuals who serve as parenting coordinators in such high-conflict divorces. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to decide whether a parenting time coordinator is right for you.

Oakland County Lawyers