Custody can be decided by the divorcing parents or the court. It all depends on whether the divorcing parties are able to reach an agreement on how their time should be divided with their child(ren).


Deciding Custody When Two Parties Divorce in Michigan


When two individuals decide they no longer want to be married and minor children are involved, they can enter into the divorce proceedings with a parenting plan already in place. This parenting plan should outline the following:


  • Who the child will live with and how often they will visit each parent.

Will the child’s time be divided equally among both parents? Will custody fluctuate each week?


  • How exchanges will be made?

Although this might seem like a simple task, parties sometimes let their differences interfere with their ability to make a smooth exchange. Therefore, a parenting plan should outline where exchanges will be made, who will drive, and what the procedures are when a parent is unable to meet to exchange.


  • How holidays and birthdays will be spent.

For many parents, the holidays tend to be the most complicated times seeing that their child is living in separate households. While it is only natural for both parents to want to have custody of their child on major holidays and on their birthday, if they don’t intend on celebrating together, they need to create an arrangement for how these times will be spent.

There are a number of other things that must be addressed in a parenting plan and a Michigan divorce lawyercan certainly help a parent identify what these are and assist them with getting their plan drawn up.


When divorcing parents cannot agree on a parenting plan?


If, during the divorce proceedings, two parents cannot come to an agreement on how their child’s time should be split between them, then the court will need to intervene. The court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. This means the court will take into account many factors including, but not limited to1:

  • The emotional ties that exist between the parents and their child.
  • Each parents’ ability to care for and provide for their child.
  • The physical and mental health of both parties.
  • The child’s preference if they have reached an age where they are capable of “expressing their preference.”
  • The child’s ties to their community.


After determining what is in the best interest of the child, the court shall issue a custody order that outlines how much time each parent gets to spend with their child among other things.

If an individual is considering filing for divorce in Michigan and they have questions regarding child custody, alimony, child support, etc. they are invited to contact the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. Divorce attorney Stuart R. Shafer will help a parent understand their rights as well as provide them with legal representation to ensure their interests are protected.


The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. can be reached at:


1223 Turner Street, #333

Lansing, MI 48906

Phone: 517-487-6603




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