Child Custody Practice Center

Grand Rapids Divorce and Family Lawyer

You have to be strong for your kids, but what about you? Has a caring friend asked you this lately? If so, then it’s time to contact DAWN (Divorce Attorneys for Women). At DAWN, we offer clients a complimentary initial legal consultation, a clear explanation of the legal process, custody issues, and potential financial outcomes, protection from violence or abuse, and qualified counselors, financial planners, and other resources. DAWN is a network of attorneys and other professionals dedicated to helping women like you as they face divorce and related matters of asset divisiondomestic violence and abusechild custody and visitation, and post judgment modifications. Your life can be different. We can help.

For 25 years, we have defended the legal rights of women throughout West Michigan, including in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Battle Creek, Rockford, Grand Haven, Allegan, Saugatuck, Lowell, Kalamazoo, and in Kent County, Ottawa County, Allegan County, Barry County, and Muskegon County. Contact DAWN for caring people and aggressive legal representation.

Child Custody and Visitation - An Overview

The resolution of child custody and visitation disputes requires divorcing parents to act rationally in their child's best interests at a time when they are facing the overwhelming stress of divorce. Joint custody and sole custody, legal custody and physical custody, custody evaluations and modifications are terms with which a divorcing parent will become familiar. Knowledgeable advice and skilled representation from an experienced family law attorney can assist you in your pursuit of a fair custody arrangement.

Creating Parenting Plans that Work

A parenting plan is an agreement that outlines a child custody arrangement. It takes into account arrangements such as who has the children on which days, who makes major decisions about matters such as the children's education and health, and what to do if any parent's situation significantly changes. Parents who agree on a parenting plan rather than let the court decide are often more likely to comply with custody arrangements.

Divorce Education

The ongoing health and mental well-being of children during divorce often depends upon how their parents interact following the decision to end the marriage. An experienced family law attorney can inform, guide and support you throughout the divorce and custody process.

Custody and Visitation Do's and Don'ts

One thing divorce does not change is your being a parent. Whether you develop a traditional visitation schedule or a flexible co-parenting plan, whether the arrangement is temporary or permanent, you can help make the time you spend with your children happy and productive. When questions regarding custody and visitation arise, an experienced family law attorney is the ideal source for competent counsel.

Custody Evaluations: What You Should Know

If you and your former spouse have been unable to reach an agreement regarding child custody, the family court judge deciding your case may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation is a process in which a mental health professional, usually a psychologist, evaluates you, your children and your children's other parent in order to make a custody and visitation recommendation to the court. Courts tend to give considerable weight to the recommendations of the evaluator. A family law attorney can explain custody evaluations and answer your child custody questions.

Child Custody and Visitation Resource Links

Family Law in the 50 States
The American Bar Association publishes charts summarizing the basic laws in each state. Chart 2 summarizes the current custody criteria for all 50 states.

U.S. State Department: International Child Abduction
This website is a U.S. Department of State guide for people whose children have been abducted by a parent and taken across an international border.

Children's Rights Council
The CRC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the idea that both parents should be involved in their children's lives; the CRC provides free drop-off/pick-up centers for custody transfers.

Office of Child Support and Enforcement
The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families helps to locate parents and enforce child support obligations.

Child Custody: An Overview
Child custody overview and resources provided by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at the Cornell Law School.

More Resources