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Child Custody

At Thacker Sleight, we are family law lawyers, negotiators, litigators, and problem solvers. We have a reputation of being fearless, meticulous, and thorough in our approach of life’s unexpected challenges. We never stop, it’s how we work, and why we get results.

Grand Rapids Child Custody Lawyer

Protecting Children & Enforcing Parental Rights

Child custody disputes can be some of the most contentious issues that come up during a divorce in Grand Rapids. While both parents often want what is best for their children, they may disagree on the details. Thacker Sleight understands how important it is to protect the best interests of your children and will work hard to make sure that happens.

To speak with our child custody lawyer in Grand Rapids, give us a call at (616) 300-2367 or contact us online today.

What Is Child Custody in Michigan?

Child custody is a decision made by the court as to who the child will live with, how much time they will spend with the other parent, and how much time the parent not living with the child will have with the child.

There are 2 types of child custody in Michigan:

  • Legal custody refers to the responsibility for major decisions in a child's life, such as education and religion
  • Physical custody refers to where the child will live

Michigan courts recognize that children need a strong relationship with both parents. As such, they generally encourage joint physical and legal custody. It is important to note, however, that the court has the final say in deciding custody matters. As you work with your child custody attorney to negotiate a custody arrangement, keep in mind the court's preference to have both parents share decision-making responsibilities.

Establishing Custody in Grand Rapids, Michigan

When determining custody, any court in Grand Rapids will consider the child's best interests. The courts will look at several factors, such as:

  • each parent's moral character
  • each parent's ability to provide for the child's physical and emotional needs
  • each parent's ability to foster a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent
  • each parent's willingness to encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent
  • each parent's physical and geographical proximity to the other parent
  • the child's age and physical, mental, and emotional health

Grand Rapids court will often try to base custody arrangements on a 50/50 arrangement whenever possible. Custody arrangements can also be flexible, primarily when parents work full-time and the child is in daycare. In these situations, the court may allow the child to spend more time with the parent whose shift ends later.

What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Michigan?

In Michigan, a child cannot legally choose where to live until they are 18 or independent. However, judges in the state will allow children to express their preferences. 

Can a Parent Take a Child Out of State Without the Other Parents' Consent in Michigan?

As of January 2022, Michigan law does not prevent a parent from traveling to another state during their parenting time unless a court order exists with restrictions on travel.

Keeping Children Safe

Thacker Sleight understands the impact divorce can have on children. As your family law attorney Grand Rapids representative, we will work hard to ensure that your children's interests and needs are a top priority. 

Our child custody lawyers can help you negotiate custody details with your spouse. If necessary, we can aggressively represent you in court to ensure your children are safe.

Contact Thacker Sleight Today

Child custody matters can be some of the most difficult issues to resolve during a Michigan divorce. Our Grand Rapids child custody attorneys can help you work towards a resolution that is in the best interest of your children. Schedule a consultation with a family lawyer at  Thacker Sleight today.


Contact us online or call (616) 300-2367 to get started with an experienced child custody attorney in Grand Rapids, MI.

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