Grewal Law’s team of family law attorneys have just finished analyzing a new ruling which could change how courts decide custody in cases involving stay-at-home parents. Many families in America elect for one parent to stay home to help raise their child. In fact, a 2018 study found that one in five households, or 18 percent of American families, have a stay-at-home parent.
If your family is going through a divorce, contemplating one, or if you’re interested in changing custody, you may wonder if the stay-at-home parent will get full custody, or more time with the child. A new Michigan Court of Appeals opinion has ruled that parents working outside of the home shall not be punished for the time spent away while working to provide for their families. Furthermore, the Court ruled that working parents must be granted credit accordingly when evaluating the statutory best interest factors.
The new Court ruling should help parents who work outside of the home when trying to prove the bond between parent and child. The ruling does not discredit stay-at-home parents, or the bond they may have with their child, it simply instructs the trial courts that they cannot assume a parent working outside of the home has less of a bond, or contributes less to the child’s best interests because that parent works outside of the home.
Michigan courts decide custody and parenting time based upon a variety of factors, including the “established custodial environment” of the child, and whether one parent or both parents have established such an environment. After deciding where the established custodial environment lies, the court must evaluate the 12 “best interest of the child” factors. However, if the proposed change in custody would modify the established custodial environment, the court must meet the high burden of clear and convincing evidence that the change would be in the child’s best interest. If the change in custody would not modify the established custodial environment, the court must only find the change to be in the child’s best interest by the low standard of preponderance of the evidence.
The new court ruling sets a precedent for trial courts to find the established custodial environment lies with both parents, despite the fact that parents working outside of the home inevitably spend less time with their children than parents who stay at home.
At Grewal Law PLLC, our experienced team of family law attorneys can assist to ensure you get the time you deserve with your children. Our team offers free, one-hour consultations and, although we are working remotely, we are open for normal business during this time.
Contact us today at (888) 211-5798 or submit our online formto get started!