Whether you are seeking to establish a child custody and parenting time plan, or want to modify an existing one, the family law attorneys at McGinnis Chiappelli, P.C. can help. In custody matters, three main issues are generally addressed:

  1. Legal custody
  2. Physical custody
  3. A parenting time schedule

It is important to have an attorney who understands the court's ever-evolving position on custody and parenting time. It is equally important for that attorney to be able to craft creative solutions to complex custody problems and to help you develop a strategy for reaching your parenting goals.

When making custody and parenting time determinations, the court looks at some or all of the following factors to determine what type of arrangement is in the child's, or children's best interest:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  • The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents. A court may not consider negatively for the purposes of this factor any reasonable action taken by a parent to protect a child or that parent from sexual assault or domestic violence by the child's other parent. MCL § 722.23
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

The court may also consider the following factors when determining the frequency, duration, and type of parenting time to be granted:

  • The existence of any special circumstances or needs of the child.
  • Whether the child is a nursing child less than 6 months of age, or less than 1 year of age if the child receives substantial nutrition through nursing.
  • The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.
  • The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time.
  • The inconvenience to, and burdensome impact or effect on, the child due to traveling for purposes of parenting time.
  • Whether a parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.
  • Whether a parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time.
  • The threatened or actual detention of the child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent or from a third person who has legal custody. A custodial parent's temporary residence with the child in a domestic violence shelter shall not be construed as evidence of the custodial parent's intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent. MCL § 722.27a

Even after a custody or parenting time plan has been established, substantial life changes may necessitate a modification. We have successfully represented clients who sought to change their custody or parenting time arrangement for one or more of the following reasons:

  •  Parent needs or wants to relocate for employment or educational opportunities
  •  Parent remarries
  •  Child's school schedule or education needs change
  •  Parent is abusive or abusing substances


“When you receive a letter in the mail from your ex's attorney, your world comes to a screeching halt! Your mind is working overtime as you try to make sense of the legal jargon before you. I could ill afford the money to fight the motion, but as it was my children's future with me that was at stake, I had no choice but to hire an attorney. Lise Spresser took my case and she immediately put me at ease and explained what was going to happen. My ex wanted to change the parenting schedule and her attorney used dirty tricks to make their case. On my own I would have drowned in the experience, but with Lise at my side, with her experience and knowledge, she very quickly got my ex's attorney to back down and dismiss his own motion. The parenting schedule set down in the judgment remained unchanged. I'd like to thank Lise for her courteous and professional manner as she guided me through my little version of hell. I hope I don't need her services again but I would not hesitate to pick up the phone and call her if I did.”



“Don and his team were exceptional regarding my divorce proceedings; consistently going above and beyond. I didn't know what to expect having never gone through anything like this before. Don was patient and provided the highest level of service. He was available day or night. I knew that Don had my best interest and my children's as we proceeded through the process. He has the high level of integrity and trust. He really cared about me as a person, not just a client. I would recommend Don to anyone going through a difficult divorce. He is the best of the best!”


Every custody and parenting time matter is unique, and we would encourage you to contact us to discuss your specific case. The INITIAL CONSULTATION IS FREE. We offer flexible appointment times, along with reasonable fees.