Westland Child Custody Lawyer

Canton Custody and Modifications Attorney

Children are typically at the forefront of any divorce and/or paternity proceeding. Parenting time, physical custody, legal custody and the potential for post-judgment modifications weigh heavily upon the participants of the proceeding. The child custody attorneys at Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C., have guided clients through these often tumultuous proceedings since their establishment in Westland in 1994.

  • Parenting Time has replaced the long time hotly disputed issue of physical custody as the most adversarial topic in a divorce involving minor children. Parenting time consists of physical custody and the schedule of what days and times the parties have their child(ren) in their direct care.
  • Legal custody refers to the division of responsibility of critical decisions in the child's life. A party with legal custody (whether sole or joint) is responsible for making and being consulted about issues pertaining to the major issues in a child's life, including: child's health, education and religion. The current trend is for courts to award joint legal custody to the parents, absent good cause otherwise.
  • Physical Custody involves being responsible for the actual care of the child on a day-to-day basis. Sole or joint custody often depends upon the actual parenting time schedule.
  • Modifications to custody or parenting time arrangements can become necessary after the conclusion of many divorce proceedings. As children mature, parents change or lose jobs, remarry or desire to move, modifications to the original orders are often necessary, and are best handled with the help of an experienced attorney. Modifying parenting time is easier to accomplish than the modification of custody. In Michigan, modifying custody is a two part process. First, the party seeking modification must prove that there has been a change in circumstances or proper cause has arisen that would justify the court possibly modifying the current custody order. Normal life changes do not generally qualify as "significant" changes in circumstances or proper cause to change custody. If a party is successful in proving a change in circumstances or proper cause, then the court must determine whether or not the proposed change would be in the best interest of the child(ren). If not, the change in custody request will be denied.

It is most often preferable to resolve these issues outside of the court by focusing on the best interest of the child and coming up with a plan that is satisfactory to both parties. While there is no such thing as a perfect parenting plan, our goal is to find the balance that is beneficial to the children and parent. However, when that simply is not possible, we are willing and able to assist you in returning to court to seek the modification that you feel is best for your child(ren).

Best Interest Standards

When the court is asked to made a modification to custody or parenting time, the court must consider and weigh what is in the best interests of the child(ren). In doing so, the court must consider the following (best interest) factors:

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and continuation of the education and raising of the child in its religion or creed, if any.
(c) 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 the medical care, and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions regarding child custody, contact the office of Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C., to schedule a free initial consultation. We offer evening and weekend appointments based on the needs of our clients. We accept all major credit cards as payment for services.