Welcome back and thanks for joining us for the wrap up on this subject on how to handle differing parenting styles that cause conflict after divorce. As we’ve explained in the previous two articles, Michigan family courts prefer to assign joint physical custody where possible, and this can cause conflict when parent don’t agree on how their kids should be raised. Especially when the issues pertain to discipline, religious instruction, and medical decisions.
We’ve looked at a couple of options you have that don’t involve the court or a lawyer, but for some people, those just aren’t options. Either their ex is extremely unreasonable and won’t work with them in any capacity, or the conflict level is so high they just can’t function when they’re forced to interact. And in those cases, you’ll need an attorney because you’re probably headed for court.
If two parents can’t agree, the court steps in to decide on the issue
According to Michigan’s custody laws, when two divorced parents share legal custody, but they can’t agree on a parenting issue, the court has to decide on the best course of action should be for those parents. That hearing, where the two parents and their attorneys present their parenting problem to a judge for resolution, is called a Lombardo Hearing.
A Lombardo hearing isn’t the same thing as a custody hearing, where the court must consider the overall best interests of the child. In a Lombardo Hearing, the parents address a specific joint legal custody dispute before the court (like school choice), and the judge has to focus exclusively on factors specific to that issue, and how it affects the child.
What factors does the Judge usually consider during a Lombardo Hearing?
In most Lombardo Hearings, there’s one parent whose trying to change something about the way their child is parented, and one parent hoping to keep it the same. (Although this isn’t always the case, like when the decision is whether or not to prescribe a certain medication for a recently diagnosed condition)
In most situations, the judge tends to look at which parent has primary physical custody of the child and if there’s an Established Custodial Environment, which just means a place where the child has been living steadily for several months. If neither of these factors will be affected by the proposed change, then the parent who wants to change something about their child’s upbringing has to prove it will be beneficial for the child. Michigan judges almost always make a decision based on what they believe to be in the best interests of the child.
A skilled family lawyer can walk you through this process!
Deciding whether or not to get help from the court, and how to present your case are decisions that you really shouldn’t make on your own. There’s a lot at stake here, and a complete knowledge of the Michigan family court system, and an understanding of how best to approach certain judges with certain issues can be invaluable in this situation.
At The Kronzek Firm, our experienced and helpful family lawyers have been helping parents fight for their rights and ensure their family’s futures for decades. So if you or a loved one are struggling with custody issues in Michigan, and need help from a family lawyer with decades of experience, call us at 866 766 5245. We’re here to help you.