Trusted Child Custody Attorneys in Plymouth, Michigan

At Steslicki & Ghannam PLC, our Plymouth family law attorneys know that one of the most challenging factors of ending a relationship—either through divorce or unmarried parents going their separate ways—is determining child custody.

Child custody decisions often lead to intense emotions coming into play, which will almost certainly have life-changing effects on the entire family.

Child Custody Attorneys

When parents cannot make child custody decisions during private conversations, through negotiations with their attorneys, or alternative dispute resolution like mediation, the Michigan family courts will decide for them using the state’s child custody guidelines.

If you are a parent going through a divorce or are separating from your children’s other parent, seeking legal help immediately can help you understand your legal rights and options to make informed decisions instead of fearing the unknown. We can help.

Contact our skilled child custody attorneys in Plymouth today to learn more.

What are the Different Types of Child Custody in Michigan?

Generally, like parents in other states, Michigan parents must determine whether one or both parents will seek legal and physical custody of their kids.

  • Legal custody refers to the right to make significant decisions about the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.
  • Physical custody refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis.

These decisions must be made in sole or joint capacities.

  • Sole legal and/or physical custody means one parent makes the decisions and has the children living in their home.
  • Joint legal and/or physical means both parents share decision-making responsibilities, and the children spend significant time with both.

Our experienced Plymouth child custody lawyers can help you negotiate an agreement that is in the children’s best interests and explain how the Michigan family court will view your case so you can make informed decisions about how your case proceeds. Contact us today to learn more.

How Does a Michigan Family Law Judge Determine Child Custody?

Child custody determinations in Michigan focus on ensuring that the child’s needs are prioritized and that they have ongoing and meaningful relationships with both parents whenever possible. Parents are encouraged to cooperate and communicate effectively to develop custody arrangements for the child’s best interests.

When they cannot decide independently, the judge must decide custody by considering all the factors of the Michigan Child Custody Act, including:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties exist 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 their 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 child’s reasonable preference if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • The willingness and ability of each party 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 at or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be of relevance to a particular child custody dispute.

If you and your children’s other parent cannot reach a mutually acceptable agreement through negotiation or mediation, you may turn to litigation to have a judge make the final child custody and visitation decisions.

This important decision may be due to ongoing animosity or communication issues between the parents, making it difficult to resolve without court intervention or the belief that it offers greater legal protections and enforceability than informal agreements or mediated settlements.

Partnering with a skilled child custody attorney in Plymouth is crucial to getting your desired outcome. Contact us today to learn how we can help put our over 30 years of combined family law experience to work for you.

Are Michigan Parents Required to Create a Parenting Plan?

While parenting plans are optional in Michigan, they are strongly recommended to help parents meet their children’s needs, prepare for change, and resolve disputes without going to court. A parenting plan differs from the parenting time schedule required in every custody case. The schedule explains when children spend time with each parent, while a parenting plan details provisions to help you co-parent.

Can Michigan Custody Agreements Be Modified?

Custody arrangements are not necessarily permanent and can be modified if circumstances significantly change. A significant change in circumstances affecting the child’s well-being or the parent’s ability to provide care may warrant a custody modification. This could include factors such as a parent’s relocation, changes in the child’s needs or preferences, or significant changes in the parents’ living situations or employment status.

Either parent may petition the court for a custody modification if they believe it is in the child’s best interests. However, custody modifications require court approval, and the burden of proof is on the party seeking the modification to demonstrate that a change in custody is warranted based on the child’s best interests.

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How Can the Plymouth Child Custody Attorneys at Steslicki & Ghannam Help with My Case?

Whether you have questions about how your Michigan divorce or separation from the other parent will impact child custody, are worried the other parent will make the process challenging or are seeking to modify an existing custody order, our skilled Plymouth child custody attorneys can help. Contact us today to put your unique child custody circumstances in perspective so you can make informed decisions and no longer fear the unknown.

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