Child Custody and Visitation Issues
Getting the right child custody attorney is important because when parents break up it falls on the Court to determine what custody and parenting time situation is in their children’s best interests when the parents are unable to reach an agreement.  The Custody and Parenting time orders that are entered can have long lasting impacts on the parent child relationships and it is critical and it is critical that you consider the long term impacts of your custody and parenting time agreements before reaching a final agreement.

Objective Advice During Emotional Times
The middle of a divorce / breakup can be a difficult time to make custody and visitation decisions. Nevertheless, the choices you make about custody today will affect you and your family for years to come.

Our child custody attorneys help you sort through all the issues that affect child custody, explain your options, and help you decide upon the best course of action. Contact us to learn more.

Best Interests of the Child
When determining child custody, the court must consider the best interests of the child. The court does so by applying the “best interest factors” to your set of facts. These are defined under Michigan law as the following 12 factors:

  • Love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties and the child.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, guidance, continuation of the education and raising of the child in its religion or creed, if any.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  • The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

The 12 “best interest factors” are very subjective and different judges place different emphasis on the factors therefore it is imperative that you find a competent and experienced child custody lawyer who is familiar with your judge to explain them to you, to review your particular set of circumstances and to present them effectively to the court. We will help you clearly understand the impact of these factors and will develop and present your case in the most compelling and persuasive manner possible.

Types of Custody Arrangements
There are two different categories of custody; Legal Custody and Physical Custody.

Legal custody designates which parent(s) has the responsibility over major decisions regarding a child’s upbringing, including medical treatment, enrollment in school, religious instruction, and participation in extracurricular activities.  Legal Custody can also have an effect on a parent’s ability to move out of state or more than 100 miles.  Most Judges in the West Michigan area will grant parents joint legal custody unless it is clear that the parties are unable to reasonable communicate and agree regarding major decisions effecting the best interests of their child(ren).

Physical Custody designates which parent the child will primarily reside with.  Joint Physical custody is typically the term used when parents share an approximately equal amount of parenting time with their children.  It is becoming increasingly more common for the Courts to award joint physical custody. Contact us to learn more and speak with one of our child custody attorneys.