Grand Rapids Child Custody Attorneys Serving West Michigan

For most parents, the most difficult part of any divorce is their concern for their children's well-being, especially who will have child custody. There are two types of custody: legal custody, which means who gets to make important life choices such as religious, educational, and medical decisions for the child; and physical custody, which means the parent with whom the child lives. Both legal and physical custody may be either sole or jointly held. “Parenting time” refers to the amount and arrangement of time the children spend with each parent.

Child custody in Michigan, if the parents cannot agree on an arrangement, is determined by the court according to the Child Custody Act. In deciding custody, the court will consider testimony and evidence from the parties, families, teachers, expert witnesses and others. Plachta, Murphy & Associates has over 20 years of experience in Michigan child custody and parenting time issues.

How is Child Custody Decided in Michigan?

The court decides custody based on what is in the best interests of the children. In doing so, it considers the following twelve “best interests factors” and which parent the evidence on each factor favors:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child;
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her 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 considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;
  • The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents;
  • 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.

Compassionate Support and Strong Advocacy for Your Michigan Custody and Parenting Time Case

Custody and parenting time are critically important issues for most of our divorce and family law clients. At Plachta, Murphy & Associates we understand what custody and parenting time mean to you, and we are committed to helping you achieve the outcome that is best for you and your children. Where possible, we will help you avoid unnecessary conflict and negotiate the arrangement that's right for your family. When settlement is not in your best interests, we are able and willing to protect your rights, and those of your children, through strong advocacy in court. Our dedication and commitment to your well-being and that of your family runs so deep we even have a social worker as part of our team to help address your needs during this challenging time.

We invite you to contact Plachta, Murphy & Associates to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our Family Law Solutions team to discuss your child custody and parenting time matter. We can help you with initial custody and parenting time determinations, modifications of custody and parenting time, and motions to permit one party to move away with the children. We look forward to answering your questions about Michigan custody and parenting time and protecting your relationship with your children.

Family Law Solutions Team: Miles J. Murphy III, Bryan D. Reeder, Vicki A. Poleni, MSW

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