Sincere and Compassionate Grand Rapids Child Custody Attorney
Matters dealing with child custody and visitation issues can be complicated and stressful. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our focus is always on the best interests of each child involved in the divorce. It is our mission to provide the families in the Grand Rapids area with compassionate guidance and intelligent representation in reaching a resolution that works best for them, including creating a workable parenting time or visitation schedule.
What is child custody?
Child custody is the term used in family law courts to define the legal guardianship of a child under the age of 18 years. During the divorce process, courts can determine child custody disputes for biological and adopted children. It is important to have a competent family law attorney assist you with your child custody and parenting time arrangements.
Types of custody and how custody is determined
In Michigan, the courts presume it is in the best interests of a child to have a strong relationship with both parents. The court considers a variety of factors to determine what arrangement is in the child’s best interests, including if one parent is relocating out of the home state. There are several types of custody arrangements such as:
- Sole or full custody. Full custody or sole custody is when one parent provides the majority of the daily care for the child and has the exclusive right to make major decisions for the child.
- Joint or shared custody. Shared custody or joint custody, which is favored in Michigan, occurs when the parents share authority regarding important decisions affecting the welfare of the child.
- Physical custody. Physical custody refers to with which parent the child resides, and in the case of joint custody, when the child lives with each parent. The noncustodial parent is usually ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent.
- Legal custody. Legal custody refers to who makes the decisions affecting the welfare of the child or children. This includes issues of education, nonemergency healthcare and religion.
If parental negligence or abuse is an issue, it can play a significant role in determining the custody decision and parenting time arrangement.
What is parenting time?
Parenting time is court-ordered time when the child lives or spends time with either parent. It was formerly referred to as “visitation” time, because it applies to the parent who does not have physical custody.
Parenting time schedules can be unique and created to fit your individual circumstances. Schedules can be very restrictive — supervised parenting time with no overnight visitation — or very liberal, where the parents essentially equally share the parenting time. Supervised parenting time is only ordered if there is a concern over the safety and well-being of the child during the parenting time.
Contact an attorney you can trust with your child custody matter
At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we offer you extensive experience in assisting with your child custody and parenting time decisions. Our office is conveniently located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Please call us to schedule an appointment at 616-698-0000 or via our online contact page. We are also available on Skype by appointment.