The Child Custody Process

Whether you are establishing a parenting time schedule while going through divorce or as unmarried individuals, it is of paramount importance that you consult a family law attorney who can ensure that your parental rights and interests are protected.

Parents are often surprised by the level of control that they have in the child custody process. At Kraayeveld Law Offices, P.C., we utilize the team approach to help you pursue what is best for you and your family.

Alternatives That Keep You Out Of Court

Determining a custody plan outside of the formal court process can be very beneficial for many families. You have significantly more control in determining the amount of time that each parent will spend with the child and how you will make decisions concerning the child's well-being.

In addition to the level of control that you have over your own custody arrangement, out-of-court alternatives are often less expensive and less time-consuming. These processes also foster cooperation that can set the foundation for your future parenting relationship.

Out-of-court options include:

  • Determining your own plan: You may already know what custody plan will work best for your family. Getting a lawyer involved helps ensure that no important details are missed and that the arrangement has legal authority should your co-parenting relationship ever change.
  • Mediation: This option can either be voluntary or court-ordered. A neutral mediator facilitates the process, but you and the other parent make the custody decisions.
  • Arbitration: This process is much more structured than other alternatives, but is still less formal than court. You and your spouse must enter into it voluntarily, and the decision is binding.

These alternatives are not optimal for every family. If there is domestic abuse or an imbalance of power in your relationship, trial may be a better option. In other cases, you may have already attempted mediation, but could not reach an agreement with your spouse. Sometimes, you are simply dealing with an unreasonable parent. You may even just need your day in court, because you and your children deserve better.

Child Custody Determinations In Court

When you go to trial, you will have the opportunity to present your case with expert testimony and other evidence. A judge will follow the guidelines set forth under the Michigan Child Custody Act to make a child custody determination that he or she feels is in the best interests of the child.

Dictate The Terms Of Your Custody Process

Speak with our experienced family law attorneys to understand your child custody options. Call our law office in Grand Rapids at 616-426-9644 to schedule a consultation or contact us online.