12 Terms You Want to Know When Battling For the Custody of Your Child

12 Terms You Want to Know When Battling For the Custody of Your Child

Would you like to be well informed as you battle for your child?

As parents, our children are often our top priority. Our biggest desire is that they are raised safely, given opportunities, and most importantly, loved. Determining custody of a child, whether due to a divorce or another reason, can be a stressful and sometimes an ugly process.

We understand that a parent only wants the best for their child. That is why we have put together a list of important terms to know when you are battling for custody of your child.

We have also included a list of articles that provide information about child custody. All this information is completely free to you, but we do ask you to remember that this information is general and is not to be taken as legal advice. If you have any additional questions, you are more than welcome to contact my office.

  1. Paternity
    Being someone’s father is the definition of paternity. This term comes up more often when there is an issue in establishing paternity or the child’s father. Most often paternity needs to be established when the child’s parents are not married.
  2. Affidavit of Parenting
    When trying to establish paternity, the easiest way to do this is by signing a Affidavit of Parenting or a sworn statement that the mother and the father are indeed the mother and the father. This form is then filed with the Department of Community Health.Remember once this form is signed the right to a paternity test is waived and the father takes on all his legal responsibilities as a father.
  3. Child Support
    Child support is a court-ordered payment. The money is used to help with the cost of raising a child. Some considerations that are included when calculating child support are the incomes of both parents, parenting time arrangements, custody arrangements, the costs of the child’s medical needs and much more.
  4. The Plaintiff
    In child custody cases the plaintiff is the parent who is asking for the court’s help to determine custody. This is the person who filed the paperwork.
  5. The Defendant
    The defendant is the child’s other parent.
  6. Ex Parte Order
    When the judge makes a decision without a hearing about parenting time, child support, custody or child support. This usually happens when the judge believes that the child could come under serious harm.
  7. Friend of the Court
    In child custody cases the Friend of the Court can offer assistance about decisions like custody, parenting time, and child support. Usually a case worker is assigned. If you disagree with the case worker’s recommendations, you do have the opportunity to object.
  8. Alternative Dispute Resolution
    When ordered to have an Alternative Dispute Resolution, that means that the parents are likely being ordered to do mediation.
  9. Physical Custody
    This describes who the child lives with. Physical custody can be shared or can be awarded to only one parent.
  10. Legal Custody
    Legal custody describes who is responsible for making major life decisions for the child — decisions like the child’s medical treatment, education and religion.
  11. Parenting Time
    The amount of time awarded to each parent. The amount of time is determined by the type of custody and best interest of the child.
  12. Best Interest of the Child Factors
    In Michigan, when determining the best interest for the child, the judge will look at 12 factors. In an article written previously, I detail what each factor is and what it means.

Additional Articles

Take Away

This information should help to answer any questions you may have concerning a child custody case. If you have specific questions about your situation, please call my office. I am here to help.

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000