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Child Custody Attorneys in the Downriver Area

Navigating a child custody case during a divorce or when modifying an existing order, it is
critical to prioritize your child’s best interests. Michigan laws governing these situations are
complex, making it essential to have an attorney who specializes in child custody. At Downriver
Law Center (DLC), our family law attorneys specialize in divorce, child custody, parenting time,
and child support. We offer effective and compassionate legal representation to protect both your
child and your rights.

Get Started Today

To schedule a free consultation regarding your child custody case, contact our Downriver
attorneys at (734) 796-2727.

Protect Those Who Matter Most

Why Hire Downriver Law Center?

Handling child custody disputes requires specialized knowledge, particularly when parents
disagree. Our child custody specialists at Downriver Law Center streamline the process and
vigorously defend your rights, ensuring the best outcomes for your child. We provide you with a
candid family law specialist who focuses on clear and honest communication, helping you
understand each step and making informed decisions about your case.
Our Approach:

  • Specialty vs. General Practice: Each Downriver Law Center attorney specializes in
    a specific area of law. We will assign a family law specialist to your custody case
    who possesses a deep understanding of the laws related to family matters like divorce,
    child custody, parenting time, and child support. This focus allows them to navigate
    complex family dynamics and legal issues more effectively than general practitioners,
    often leading to better outcomes.

  • Candid Advice, No Shenanigans: Downriver Law Center attorneys are known for
    their straightforward approach. This candor ensures clear, honest communication,
    enabling clients to fully understand their legal situation and options. This
    transparency helps build trust, aligns expectations, and facilitates more informed
    decision-making, ultimately enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the legal

  • Client Advocacy Starts with Education: Navigating the Family Court system
    effectively requires a clear understanding of the roles of various court personnel
    involved in your case. Working with a family law attorney with a professional
    familiarity with the processes and key people who will affect your case. Working
    with a Downriver lawyer who understands and can explain these processes and roles
    can significantly lower our client’s anxiety and positively impact the outcome of their

    • Judges: They hold the most authority in the court system but typically make the
      final decision after other processes have failed to resolve your child custody issue.
      Downriver Law Center child custody attorneys appear regularly before the same
      judges, maintaining the highest level of professionalism and credibility within the
      judicial community. The experience of an attorney who has routinely appeared
      before your judge will greatly assist you in understanding the judge’s perspective
      and his or he process and legal inclinations.

    • Friend of the Court Referees: These individuals often handle preliminary
      matters in family law cases, such as interim child custody, parenting time, and
      child support issues. It helps to have a divorce attorney that specializes in child
      custody to explain the referee’s critical role in initial findings, early settlement
      opportunities, or shaping the information that will later be reviewed by the judge.

    • Mediators: In Michigan, mediators are typically appointed by family law judges
      before a case progresses to a “trial,” which is more formally known as an
      "evidentiary hearing." A mediator’s primary role is to assist parents in finding
      mutually agreeable solutions that focus on the best interests of the child.
      Mediators facilitate discussions and negotiations, striving to settle disputes
      amicably and prevent a costly trial. The success of mediation often hinges on the
      quality of the mediation summary—a document that outlines the procedural
      stance, relevant facts, areas of agreement or disagreement, and possible settlement
      avenues. Employing a divorce attorney who specializes in family law can
      significantly enhance the effectiveness of your mediation, potentially saving
      thousands of dollars in legal fees.

    • Opposing Counsel: In family law cases, opposing counsel will represent your
      spouse or co-parent zealously, which can be frustrating and even intimidating.
      Without your own skilled advocate, you may face increased anxiety and disparate
      outcomes, though this doesn't imply unethical behavior on their part. Hiring
      competent attorneys like those at Downriver Law Center ensures stronger
      representation, leading to fairer, more cost-effective resolutions.

    • Friend of the Court Specialists: These specialists conduct initial investigations
      into income and parenting time. They compile essential data and make
      recommendations on child support and other financial responsibilities.

Being well-informed about these key players and their responsibilities in the family court can
prepare you to engage more effectively with each, enhancing your chances of achieving a
favorable result.
Downriver Law Center’s child custody specialists will guide you through the complexities of
your case and attempt to reach an agreement that protects your child and rights.
Understanding Child Custody in Michigan
In Michigan, child custody encompasses both legal and physical components:

  • Legal Custody: This determines whether one or both parents have the authority to
    make significant decisions affecting your child's lives, such as education, healthcare,
    and religious upbringing.

  • Physical Custody: This determines with whom the child primarily lives. Physical
    custody can be either shared or solely awarded to one parent, with the other receiving
    specific visitation rights.

In all cases, the law mandates that decisions regarding custody are made with the child’s best
interests as the foremost concern.

Factors Influencing Custody Decisions in Michigan
Michigan courts consider several factors to determine what's best for the child, including:

  • The emotional ties between the child and each parent.

  • Each parent's ability to provide love, affection, and guidance.

  • Each parent's capacity to supply necessities like food, clothing, and medical care.

  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desirability of
    maintaining continuity.

  • The permanence of the family unit in the existing or proposed custodial home.

  • The moral, mental, and physical health of the parents.

  • The child’s performance and interactions at home, school, and in the community.

  • The child’s own preferences, if deemed mature enough by the court.

  • Any history of domestic violence by either parent.

Additional Considerations in Child Custody Issues

In Michigan, there are several additional considerations that parents may need to address in a
child custody order, including:

  • Paternity.

  • Regular and holiday parenting time.

  • Child support.

  • Friend of the Court and MiSDU involvement.

  • Support arrearages.

  • Healthcare.

  • Extracurricular activities.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Child Custody Specialist

Whether you need a divorce or need to establish or adjust an existing custody agreement
Downriver Law Center is here to assist. Our experienced divorce and family law specialists are
ready to support you through this challenging time. Contact us today to schedule your free
consultation at (734) 796-2727.