A divorce is among worst experiences couples go through, especially, if they already have children. However, if it happens, both parties should ensure the separation does not interfere with the parental care their children deserve. Therefore, parents have equal rights to their children even after divorce.
According to the Cornell Law School, the same court of jurisdiction that decides on the divorce should also give directions on child custody. When ruling on child custody, the court protects the interests of the child before any other. Therefore, the determination makes the child both physically and mentally comfortable.
According to Findlaw, filing for child custody is a process that parents should understand even before beginning the divorce process. The law allows them to agree on custody, but when they fail to, the case follows these three steps in court.
- Determining paternity
Establishing paternity is critical if; the parents have never married or the mother is married to someone else, not the father.
- Filing for custody.
After establishing paternity, the plaintiff files a case in which the other party becomes the defendant. However, the plaintiff has to have lived with the child in Michigan for over six months before the hearing.
- Determining custody
In cases where parents fail to reach an agreement, they can await a court ruling that states the parenting rights of each. The custody order issued by the court is final and concludes the case.
In its ruling, the court considers several factors before determining child custody even when one of the parents has already established a custodial environment for the child.