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Stacy L Van Dyken P.C. Law Blog

Stacy's practice is devoted to family law. Recognized as a premier family law practice in Michigan, Stacy has built her reputation on results and service. This blog is serves as an additional resource to obtain more information about family law related issues.

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Parenting Time, West Michigan

Posted by Stacy
Stacy
Stacy Van Dyken is well known throughout West Michigan for her dedication to her clients and her leadership ro...
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on Wednesday, 02 January 2013
in Divorce

One of the most difficult things about a divorce often involves deciding on the terms of parenting time, formerly called visitation. This time is when the non-custodial parent will spend time with the child. This process can be made much less stressful if both parties focus on the needs of the child. The key to developing a parenting time schedule that works for all parties is communication. For a child-centered approach, where the child’s needs are placed first, it is important for the two parties to focus on what is best for the child’s education, health, and well-being. I encourage my clients to create a written schedule that will assist them in handling specific holidays and school breaks. Ideally, this schedule would accommodate the needs of each parent’s schedule. If the parties cannot agree on a schedule, the Court will determine the terms of parenting time. As an experienced family law attorney, I aim to keep these cases out of court so as to empower my clients with amiable, agreed-upon arrangements. But sometimes, two parties, no matter how much they may love their child, cannot agree on parenting time. When this happens, I will aggressively litigate parenting time issues in family court and pursue what is in the best interest of the child.

Should a case like this go to court, it is common in Michigan for the Court to give preference to the parent who can provide the most stable and supportive environment for the child's health, education and emotional well-being. The non-custodial parent is then typically (though not always) allowed to see the child one evening during every week, as well as every-other weekend, and on alternating holidays, and for 2 to 4 weeks during summer vacations from school. There is also a tendency for the Court to allow more expansive alternate weekend parenting time as well as more flexible vacation periods for both parents. We like to empower our clients and create forums for open, positive communication. Not many people want to have the court decide on a visitation schedule, and for the needs of the child, many parties will find the common ground of peaceful communication about visitation in order to find the best fit for the needs of the child or children.

Time spent with one’s child is one of the most valuable things a person can have, and dealing with an uncooperative other parent can be frustrating, overwhelming, and at times, even scary. We take pride in our ability to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts so that the child will ultimately be the focus and benefit from a clearly thought out, well-negotiated visitation schedule. When it comes to sharing moments with children, it’s best to choose an experienced family law attorney whose approach is child-centered and compassionate. 

Tags: Custody
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Michigan Child Custody

Posted by Stacy
Stacy
Stacy Van Dyken is well known throughout West Michigan for her dedication to her clients and her leadership ro...
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on Tuesday, 04 December 2012
in Uncategorized

Michigan custody laws state that child custody can be granted as legal and/or physical custody. These can each be granted jointly or separately, depending on the circumstances. Whichever party obtains legal custody of the minor will be responsible for the major decisions including financial and medical decision as well as educational ones. Both divorced parents can share these legal rights, depending on negotiations and amiability of the parties. Physical custody occurs when the child is in the presence of one parent. This can be shared, also, per the terms of shared or joint custody. While many couples agree to negotiate the terms of child custody out of court, and without the help of an attorney, an attorney’s counsel and fees are minor compared to the emotional turmoil that a non-enforceable, not legal agreement could do to harm a family. 

It is important to find a divorce attorney who will work with clients to directly address their child custody needs and negotiations. It is important to find a compassionate, skilled divorce attorney who has a family-centered approach to assist each party in these negotiations to find a legal, binding, enforceable agreement that will benefit all parties while keeping the needs of the child paramount. 

One thing to look for when seeking the counsel of a child custody attorney is to find someone who has extensive experience representing clients in seeking child custody modification. Some reasons for custody modification could include: a substantial increase in the child’s age, dramatic change to a parent’s income level, one parent relocating to another state, evidence that the current living arrangement puts the child at risk of physical or emotional harm, or the custodial parent refusing visitation by the non-custodial parent.

It is wise to consult with an attorney when arranging or modifying a child custody agreement in order to protect your relationship with your child and make the agreement legally-binding. 

Written on behalf of Stacy L Van Dyken

Tags: Custody
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At the Grand Rapids law office of Stacy L. Van Dyken, P.C., we conveniently serve clients throughout West Michigan, including the cities of Holland, Muskegon, and Grand Haven; and throughout Kent County, Ottawa County, Allegan County, Barry County, Newaygo County, Montcalm County, and Ionia County.