Ottawa County, Michigan Child Custody Lawyers
While child custody issues commonly arise out of a divorce case, there are other situations where parents must address the living arrangements for minor children. Michigan law encourages agreement on child custody, but a compromise may be difficult in presence of strong emotions. Disputes about the residential environment and important decision-making are at the forefront for parents wanting the best for the child. Plus, custody is closely associated with other child-related issues, including parenting time, support, modifications, and relocation.
Our child support attorneys at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office know that effective representation in your case starts with trust, which is why we take time to explain your legal rights and options. When you have the right information, you are in a better position to make responsible decisions about your family situation. We have more than 27 years of experience fighting for clients in Ottawa County and Western Michigan, during which time our legal team has gained the experience that can only come from taking on tough child custody battles.
Types of Child Custody in Michigan
Our attorneys tackle all types of child custody cases, whether as part of a divorce or paternity action. We can provide advice and counsel when seeking an agreement with the child’s other parent, and we will help you navigate the complicated court process if necessary. At the outset, it is important to understand how the term “custody” applies to a child’s care and living arrangements, such as:
- Sole Versus Joint Custody: While rare, a parent may have sole custody of a child, which means 100 percent control over the residential environment and important decision-making. This arrangement is typically limited to situations where keeping the child away from violence or criminal activity is necessary to protect him or her.
Michigan law favors a shared approach to child custody, where both parents have a say, even though one is considered the residential parent. Joint custody means each parent has some authority in making important decisions, as designated by the court’s order.
- Physical and Legal Custody: Physical custody refers to where the child resides, and it can be shared between parents living in separate households. A parent who has legal custody has primary authority over significant aspects of raising the child, such as education, religion, extracurricular activities, and medical care.
Michigan’s Child’s Best Interests Standard
Whether parents agree on child custody or a court must make a determination, Michigan law requires consideration of the child’s best interests. There are 12 factors a judge reviews, including:
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- The suitability of the current living environment;
- The mental and physical health of all parties;
- The child’s preference, if age-appropriate; and,
- Other factors listed in the statute.
Consult with an Ottawa County, MI Child Custody Attorney Today
For more information on child custody cases in Ottawa County or Western Michigan, please call the Van Den Heuvel Law Office at 616-698-0000 or visit our website. We can schedule a consultation for you to discuss your circumstances with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.