GRAND RAPIDS CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

Father lead by the hand sonExperienced Legal Counsel for Clients throughout Western Michigan

In divorce, post-divorce litigation and paternity matters, no issue can be more contentious than child custody and parenting time. If you need help resolving the often complex and emotional issues around child custody, visitation rights, and child support in western Michigan, I can help.

In Michigan it is essential that you are represented in child-custody and parenting-time matters. The differing statutes, case law, and legal standards apply equally to parties who choose to be unrepresented.  In many instances if a person attempts to handle their custody or parenting-time case without a lawyer, the damage cannot be undone. You do not have to hire our firm, but you must hire someone. 

If you wish, Quist Law Firm  can help you navigate the choppy waters of custody and parenting time. From our office in Grand Rapids, we provide legal advice and representation for clients throughout Kent County and Ottawa County in western Michigan. Call us at 616-454-9008 or contact our office by email to arrange a free initial consultation with Courtney Quist today.

“Taking your case to trial is seldom the best way to resolve a custody dispute. The judge is usually the one person who knows the least about your case.  I am dedicated to resolving your conflict in the best way to preserve your family unit — that often means skillful, patient negotiations.” Attorney Courtney Quist

I help mothers and fathers in child custody and visitation disputes in a broad range of contexts, including:

  • Divorce
  • Post-divorce modifications
  • Paternity
  • Motions to move a child out of the state
  • Grandparent rights and interested third parties

The Best Interest of the Child – Always

Michigan courts apply a 12-factor test to determine the best interests of the child. Not all factors share equal importance, however. Judges may give some of these factors more weight than others. If you are getting a divorce and child custody is at issue, it is critical to retain an attorney familiar with Michigan divorce and family laws.

The Best Interest Factors are enunciated in MCL 722.23.

  1. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  5. The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  6. The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  7. The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  8. The home, school, and community record of the child.
  9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  10. 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.
  11. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

Paternity Rights and Obligations

Many of the people who contact my office want to know about custody and visitation in the context of parents who have never been married. In these situations, it is critical for men to contact an attorney who will seek visitation rights or custody on their behalf. If you are a woman and are opposing a father’s motion for custody or visitation, or you are simply seeking child support, an experienced attorney can provide necessary assistance.

Change of Domicile

Another situation that frequently occurs is when a parent wants to move out of state. If you want to move more than 100 miles from a noncustodial parent, you will need to attend a hearing and receive court approval. If you share joint custody and want to move more than 100 miles from a parent sharing joint custody, you will need court approval.  Many times, when a parent attempts to move, the court deems the situation to be a change of custody.  You will then be subject to the differing standards and laws regarding custody and parenting time. Again, you must be represented. Do not try this alone.