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Michigan woman fights to change state child custody rules

A Michigan woman who is also a high school principal is fighting to prevent her ex-husband from having any visitation rights with the parties' 6-year-old daughter. The ex-husband is a convicted sex offender, having pled no contest to soliciting teenage girls online.

The judge hearing this child custody and parenting time case has taken the matter under advisement and wants to talk to the child before making any final decisions about the best interests of the child.

The woman, meanwhile, argues that as a convicted sex offender, her ex-husband is severely restricted in his activities and normally cannot even have contact with other children. She wonders why he ought to get a free pass with his own daughter.

However, Michigan law currently would not restrict this man's contact with his own child. Effectively, so long as he is not endangering his own daughter, his previous conviction will not prevent him from being able to exercise his fathers' rights to see his child.

However, a new bill now making its way through Michigan's legislature could change this. If this new proposal is signed into law, then the ex-husband will no longer enjoy special status as the child's father because of his prior sex offense. The new law will likely make it much easier for the woman to limit or cut off that man's access to their daughter.

In most cases, a Michigan family court will give both divorcing parents considerable time with their children. However, in some situations, like the one described in this case, a parent may have serious and legitimate reservations about offering parenting time to the other parent. In these types of cases, a good Michigan child custody attorney can help a concerned parent do what he or she can to protect the wellbeing of his or her children.

Source: Local 4, "Mother fights to change Michigan law, stop sex offender father from seeing 6-year-old daughter," Steve Garagiola, April 29, 2013

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