Grand Rapids Divorce Court

Child Custody Laws in Grand Rapids Michigan by Grand Rapids Divorce Attorney


Michigan divides child custody into two areas:(1) legal custody and (2) physical custody.


Most cases in Michigan provide for joint legal custody.  Joint legal custody provides that both parties shall discuss and decide major issues in the child’s life (i.e. medical treatment, school choice, sports, etc…).  Rarely one person has sole legal custody.  This is a situation where they clearly cannot agree on almost anything related to their child or children.  Also,  there are some occasions when a party is defaulted and a sole legal custody order is entered.


Physical custody is when the child is primarily residing (overnights).  It is possible to have joint physical custody and have less than 50 % of the overnights.  There are a number of ways an order can be drafted.  At a certain level it becomes wording only.  To determine custody, Michigan law provides factors for the court to consider what is in “the best interests of the child”.

Michigan law states that the best interest of the child means the sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court. These factors are his follows:

a.  The love and affection and other emotional ties between the parties involved and the child.

b.  Capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and continuation of the educating and raising of a child in a particular religion or creed.

c.  Capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with the necessities of life.

d.  The length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment.

e.  The performance, as a family unit, or the existence or proposed custodial home.

f.  The moral fitness of the parties.

g.  The mental and physical health of the parties.

h.  The home, school, and community record of the child.

i.  The reasonable preference of the child, if the court determines the child is of sufficient age to express a preference.

j.  The willingness and abilities of each party to facilitate encourage a continuing relationship between child and the other parent.

k.  Domestic violence.

l.  Any other factors that the court considered to be relevant in a particular case.

The determination as to an award of custody is to be made in the child’s best interest, as measured by the factors above in MCL 722.23; MSA 25.312(3). Fletcher v Fletcher, 447 Mich 871, 881; 526 NW2d 889 (1994); Daniels v Daniels, 165 Mich App 726, 730; 418 NW2d 924 (1988).


In making a custody determination, the trial court must make findings of fact as to each of these factors. Foskett v Foskett, 247 Mich App 1, 9; 634 NW2d 363 (2001). The trial court is not required to give each factor equal weight; rather, the overwhelmingly predominant factor in each case is the welfare of the child. Winn v Winn,234 Mich App 255, 263; 593 NW2d 662 (1995).


If one of the parties has an established a custodial environment for a child then it is the burden of the noncustodial parent to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that child custody should be changed. This is an extremely difficult burden. If neither or both parties have established a custodial environment then the court will award custody based upon the best interest of the child.

If you are facing a child custody or parenting time dispute, a good grand rapids child custody attorney is a requirement! Our child custody attorneys can answer your questions with straight talk about your options and chances of prevailing.  Having the right attorney on your side can relieve your stress during this difficult situation.  Krupp Law Offices has over 95 years of divorce experience.  Our attorneys have extensive child custody and parenting time trial experience.  Typical fees to retain attorney for a child custody or parenting time case can range and from as little as 1,500 dollars to as high as 10,000 dollars.  Considering the seriousness of this life changing event, it is extremely important to retain the services of an experienced attorney in the area of child custody.

Krupp Law Offices P.C. is located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan and has the right divorce attorney for you. We represent clients in all divorce matters throughout West Michigan, , including the cities of Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Ionia, Grand Haven, Stanton, Greenville, Wayland, Allegan, Holland, Newaygo, White Cloud, Fremont, Coopersville, Hastings, Middleville, Wyoming, and Rockford including Kent County, Ottawa County, Newaygo County, Ionia County, Mecosta County, Barry County, Montcalm County, and Allegan County Michigan.

Call for a free phone consultation.  Our office can help.


Grand Rapids Child Custody Attorney

161 Ottawa NW Suite 201

Grand Rapids MI 49503

616-459-6636 or

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