While it takes a great deal of time and study to learn the intricacies of Michigan family law, the anatomy of a typical child custody case is fairly easy to understand.

At the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C., we have nearly four decades of experience practicing family law. We believe that one of the most important parts of our job is to make sure that our clients understand how family courts work and how decisions are made.


We take the time to address our clients’ questions. This article will discuss three of the most commonly asked questions about child custody.

To set up an appointment, Call Us At 517-487-6603 Today!

1. How Will The Court Decide On Child Custody?

Michigan Legal Help advises that custody and parenting time are determined based on the best interests of the child. Overall, there are 12 factors that the court takes into account:

  • The emotional ties between the child and each parent
  • Each parent’s capacity for affection and guidance
  • The ability of each parent to provide food, clothing and medical care
  • Which parent can provide the most safe and stable environment
  • The ties that the child has with each parent’s family
  • The moral fitness of each parent
  • Each parent’s state of mental and physical health
  • Each parent’s involvement with the child’s education
  • The child’s preference (if they are old enough)
  • Each parent’s willingness to encourage an ongoing relationship with the other party
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Any other factor that is pertinent to the child’s unique situation

2. What Is The Difference Between Legal Custody And Physical Custody?

Your family lawyer can help you determine which type of custody you should pursue. A parent that has legal custody has the right to make important decisions for the child. These decisions include which school they attend, what medical treatment they receive and which religious activities they participate in.

A parent that has physical custody is able to have the child live with them. Both types of custody can be awarded to either one parent or both parents, depending on the situation.

3. What Is Parenting Time, And How Is It Decided?

If only one parent is granted physical custody, then the other parent may be granted parenting or visitation time. Unless there is a history of mental, physical or verbal abuse, the court generally assumes that contact with both parents is beneficial to the child.

If you are going through a divorce and you have a minor child, it is important to contact a family lawyer as soon as possible. We can represent your best interests in court and ensure that you are allowed to maintain a close relationship with your child. To schedule a consultation, Call Us At 517-487-6603 Today!