Labre Law Office | Family Law & Criminal Defense Lawyer | Edwardsburg, MI

How Child Custody Is Determined In a Michigan Divorce

December 1, 2023 – Rob LaBre

Divorce can be a daunting and emotionally challenging process for any parent, but for those concerned about the custody of their children, it can feel like an uphill battle. Imagine being a devoted mother or father who wants nothing more than to retain custody of your precious children, who may not fully comprehend what is going on around them.

Are you wondering how child custody is determined in a Michigan divorce?

This blog from an experienced divorce and family lawyer, explores the intricacies of child custody in the state, providing you with insights and guidance to help you make informed decisions during this pivotal time in your life.

While establishing child custody in a friendly manner is ideal, it’s not feasible in some situations. That’s where skilled child custody lawyers can help you navigate this difficult time, putting your child’s best interests first.

At LaBre Law Office, we understand that child custody is one of the most agonizing issues parents face during a divorce. With over a century of combined experience in child custody cases, our child custody attorneys can guide you through your legal options to reach a conclusion that protects your child’s welfare, preserves your parent-child relationship, and ensures that your child grows up in a healthy and thriving environment. Continue reading to learn more about child custody, then contact us at (269) 431-2058.

Excellence is our standard.

Navigating the Complexities of Child Custody: Key Concerns and Factors at Play

LaBre Law’s child custody lawyers understand the stakes involved in high-conflict custody disputes. We seek to foster a cooperative environment to diffuse animosity and reach agreeable solutions, with the following critical aspects in mind.

  1. Decision-Making Responsibility: Who holds the power to make crucial choices for the child?
  2. Enforcement of Orders: Ensuring that court orders are followed and respected.
  3. Grandparent Visitation: Exploring visitation rights for grandparents and their meaningful relationship with the child.
  4. Parenting Time-Sharing: How to create a fair and balanced schedule for both parents to spend quality time with the child.
  5. Modification of Custody and Visitation Orders: Adapting custody or visitation arrangements to suit changing circumstances.
  6. Visitation Rights: Ensuring that both parents have their fair share of precious moments with their child.

Understanding Sole versus Joint Physical or Legal Custody in Michigan

Michigan law makes two important distinctions: physical custody and legal custody, each with significance and implications.

Physical Custody: Where Your Child Calls Home

Physical custody pertains to where your child lives and who cares for them daily, including making small everyday decisions.

Sole Physical Custody: One parent takes the lead in being the primary caretaker, with the child primarily living with them. The other parent typically has visitation rights to spend time with the child.

Joint Physical Custody: Both parents share the responsibility of physically caring for the child. While it may not be an exact 50/50 split, the child spends significant time with each parent.

Legal Custody: Making Decisions for Your Child

Legal custody plays a pivotal role in making critical choices affecting a child’s life, such as the authority to make decisions about education, medical care, and religious upbringing.

There are two types of legal custody:

Sole Legal Custody: One parent has the exclusive right to make significant decisions about how the child is raised.

Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share the decision-making authority. necessitating excellent communication and cooperation.

Michigan courts prioritize arrangements that allow the child to maintain a strong relationship with both parents unless specific factors pose a risk to the child’s well-being. Ultimately, the court system makes decisions based on the best interests of the child.

Understanding Parenting and Grandparenting Time in Michigan Family Law

Parenting time – determined by the best interests of the child – refers to the allocated time a parent gets to spend with their child. The court considers emotional ties, parental capacity to provide love and guidance, and any history of domestic violence.

Under certain conditions, grandparents may also have the opportunity for visitation. If the parents are going through a divorce or are already separated, or if one or both parents have passed away, grandparents can request grandparenting time.

However, while grandparents have a right to visitation, the law prioritizes parental rights. Therefore, the court ensures that grandparenting time does not interfere with the parent-child relationship.

In the Parenting Time Order, the court outlines the details of the schedule (including weekends, holidays, and school breaks), encouraging frequent and continuing contact between parents and children.

Visitation Rights: How to Address Denial or Limitation

When a parent denies or limits visitation, it can raise concerns about the child’s safety or stem from conflicts between parents. However, unless there’s a genuine risk to the child, it’s generally not acceptable to deny court-ordered parenting time.

Here are the steps to enforce visitation orders:

Mediation: A neutral third party can help parents resolve disagreements peacefully.

Modify the Visitation Order: If circumstances have significantly changed, you can ask the court to modify the existing order.

Court Enforcement: If the other parent persists in denying visitation, you can file a motion to enforce the order. The court can take action by adjusting the parenting time schedule or ordering makeup parenting time.

To strengthen your case, document each incident where visitation was denied or limited, and include the date, time, location, and a brief description of what occurred. This documentation can serve as vital evidence if legal action becomes necessary.

Navigating these complex issues can be challenging. To understand the best course of action based on your unique circumstances, consult an experienced Michigan child custody lawyer.

Modifications of Custody Agreements Made Simple

If you’re looking to modify a custody agreement in Michigan, we’re here to guide you through the process. Before diving into the legalities, let’s discuss the grounds for modification.

To qualify for a modification, there must be a substantial “change in circumstances” that directly affects the well-being of the child. This could include things like parental relocation, changes in the child’s health or education needs, or even the child expressing a justifiable preference. Remember, the change must be significant and not just temporary.

Now, let’s talk about the legal process involved in modifying child custody. As the parent seeking the modification, you’ll need to file a motion with the court that issued the original custody order. This motion should include all necessary forms, filing fees, and supporting documentation such as medical records or testimony from relevant parties. Don’t worry, your child custody attorney will be by your side, assisting you throughout this process.

Once the court receives your motion, they will carefully review the evidence and make one of three decisions: modify the custody order, establish a new parenting time order, or deny the motion for modification. Ultimately, the court’s main concern is always the best interest of the child.

LaBre Law: Excellence Is Our Standard

If you’re considering divorce and have concerns about retaining custody of your children, you need a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney to help you navigate the process. Whether primary physical custody, joint custody, sole custody, or primary custody is your goal, we will partner with you and provide the dedicated representation you need. Contact us at (269) 431-2058 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation.

Copyright © 2023. LaBre Law Office. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

LaBre Law Office
68897 Cass St,
Edwardsburg, MI 49112
(269) 431-2058

How Child Custody Is Determined In a Michigan Divorce

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