Grand Rapids Child Custody Lawyers
Helping Parents Through Custody Cases
Family law matters involving children can be highly emotional and contentious. Of course, you wish to maintain a healthy and consistent relationship with your child (or children), and your child's other parent may want to the same. When you and your child's other parent are not together, coming and adhering to an agreement about child custody can be challenging. That is why it is essential to establish a clear arrangement that specifies each parent's rights and responsibilities. A lawyer can help develop a plan to protect your best interests and the future of you and your child (or children).
At Tanis Schultz, we deliver compassionate legal counsel for parents. Our Grand Rapids child custody attorneys have extensive legal experience developing solutions for matters concerning parental responsibilities and parenting time. We are here to guide you through the process and explain your rights and legal options. Our team will seek solutions by facilitating constructive conversations with you and your child's other parent but will also be ready to fight for your case in court if you are unable to come to a mutual agreement.
Discuss your case with Tanis Schultz by calling (616) 608-7149 or submitting an online contact form.
The Best Interests of the Child
For most child custody matters, the court encourages parents to work together to agree on terms. However, if they are unable to do so, a judge will decide how parental rights and responsibilities will be divided. The judge's decision will be based on the facts of the situation and what they believe is in the child's best interests.
When determining what's in the child's best interests, the judge will consider the following factors:
- Emotional relationship between parent and child
- Parent's ability to provide a loving and affectionate relationship
- Parent's ability to meet the child's basic needs (e.g., food, clothing, medical care)
- Stability of the child's current environment
- Permanency of proposed custodial residences
- Parent's moral fitness
- Parent's physical and mental health
- Child's home, school, and community record
- Child's preference (if the child is of sufficient age)
- Parent's ability to encourage that the child maintain a relationship with the other parent
- Any acts of violence either parent directed against the child
Sole Custody and Joint Custody
The judge can award sole or joint custody. With sole custody, rights and responsibilities are awarded primarily to one parent. They will have both physical and legal custody. That means they will make decisions concerning the child's care and upbringing.
With joint custody, parental rights and responsibilities are divided between both parents. It doesn’t necessarily mean that parenting time is equally divided.
Joint custody may be awarded as:
- Physical custody shared equally: Each parent has the child or children for a specific amount of time, but decision-making may not be equally divided;
- Legal custody shared equally: Parents share decision-making responsibilities, but the amount of time the child or children spend with each parent may not be equally divided; or
- Physical and legal custody shared equally: The parents share decision-making and the child spends an equal amount of time with each.
In addition to doing what is in the best interest of the child, when deciding whether to grant joint custody, the judge will consider the parents' ability to cooperate with one another and agree on matters involving the child's care.
Our child custody lawyers in Grand Rapids can discuss the details of sole and joint custody with you. We will review what you must establish to seek either and how to present your case.
Modifying Child Custody Orders
When either the child's or parents' situations have substantially changed, it may no longer be feasible to adhere to the terms of the current custody order. In such cases, parents can seek a modification to have the order updated.
At Tanis Schultz, our Grand Rapids child custody attorneys can help you through the modification process. We work diligently to ensure that the new order specifies the updated obligations of both you and your child's other parent.
Get Legal Help with Your Child Custody Matter
At Tanis Schultz, we recognize the challenges you might be facing when attempting to agree on parental rights and responsibilities with your child's other parent. We are here to alleviate some of your stresses and help seek the best possible result.
Speak with our Grand Rapids child custody lawyers by calling (616) 608-7149, or submit an online contact form, and we will respond promptly.
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Track Record of Success
Our attorneys have experience handling high-profile, complex cases with complete success.
Tanis Schultz is a professional law firm that provides a competitive advantage and the experience to address your legal issues.
Our attorneys have over 45 years of combined experience handling various areas of the law with precision.