Elkouri Heath, PLC


39555 Orchard Hill Place, Suite 215, Novi, MI 48375

Child Custody Lawyers Serving Wayne County

Canton Child Custody Attorneys

Livonia Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Parents

While there are many aspects of a divorce that can be challenging, the most difficult are often the issues of child custody and parenting time. Parents who are not married may also face challenges, as the thought of co-parenting with a former spouse or partner may seem impossible. At Elkouri Heath PLC, we are prepared to work with you throughout the process so that you and your child can obtain the favorable outcome you deserve.

Protecting Children in Northville and Plymouth

Michigan law encourages parents involved in a custody dispute to cooperate in creating a custody arrangement that is in their child's best interests. When parents cannot reach an agreement, the court must intervene and structure a custody order.

At either parent's request, the court must consider a joint custody arrangement. Joint custody means that both parents will share responsibility for making important decisions related to the child, including decisions regarding education, medical care, religious upbringing, and participation in extracurricular activities. If the court determines that joint custody is not in the child's best interest, sole custody will be granted to one parent. In making such decisions, the court must take into account many factors, including:

  • The relationship between the child and each parent;
  • The ability of each parent to provide for the child's needs;
  • The length and quality of the child's current living situation;
  • The family structure offered by each parent;
  • Each parent's physical and mental health, as well as moral fitness;
  • The child's relationships at home, in school, and within the community;
  • The child's wishes, considering the child's maturity and understanding of the situation;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate the child's relationship with the other parent; and
  • Any history of domestic violence by either parent, including incidents not involving the child.

Established Custodial Environment

A Michigan family court must also determine whether an established custodial environment exists before it can make any decisions on child custody. An established custodial environment is created over a period of time if the child seeks discipline, daily necessities, and parental comfort from a particular custodian. If the court determines that an established custodial environment exists, custody can only be changed if there has been a substantial change in circumstances or the change is in the child's best interests.

It is important to note that living with one parent does not automatically create an established custodial environment. In addition, it also possible for both parents to have established custodial environments for the child. For example, if you and your spouse separated for a year before filing for divorce, and during that year, your spouse refused to spend meaningful time with your children, the court may determine that you created an established custodial environment. The resulting custody order would likely give you preferential considerations and possibly sole custody.

Oakland County Counsel for Custody Cases

At Elkouri Heath PLC, we realize that negotiated parenting arrangements are often preferable to a court-issued order. When both parents are involved in the creation of an agreement, the arrangement can be customized to meet their unique circumstances. Studies also suggest that parents are more inclined to comply with an arrangement that they had a role in developing. With that in mind, our attorneys work closely with parents in negotiating custody terms that protect their rights while promoting their child's best interests.

If you have questions about child custody laws in Michigan, contact our office at 248-344-9700 for a free consultation. We serve individuals and families in Novi, Farmington Hills, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, Wayne County, Oakland County, and throughout southeast Michigan.

Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
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