Michigan Child Custody Lawyer

Are you wondering if you need a child custody lawyer?  If so, read on!

When a divorce involves children, questions often arise that require parents to balance the best interests of their children with their own personal needs. Ruth Nobel, the child custody lawyer at the Seward, Tally and Piggott, P.C. located in Bay City, Michigan, represents men and women in all divorce-related matters, including custody and visitation. 

Ruth Nobel has vast knowledge and experience advising and representing clients with child custody, visitation and parenting time issues. She represents clients throughout Bay county in the preparation, enforcement and modification of custody, visitation and parenting time orders. Ruth Nobel has worked extensively with Friend of the Court in Michigan, advising and representing clients in mediation, hearings and divorce trials.

If you are contemplating a divorce or have been served with a complaint for divorce and have concerns about how it will impact your time and relationship with your children, then schedule a confidential consultation with experienced Michigan child custody attorney Ruth Nobel. Call us at 989-892-6551 or fill out the contact form below. Located in Bay City, Michigan, Ms. Nobel accepts cases in the Bay County region including Midland, Michigan and Saginaw, Michigan.

Do you have questions like the ones listed below? Call our Child Custody Lawyer today!  We are on your side!

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

People often think about custody in terms of “legal” custody and “physical” custody. Legal custody means having the right to make important decisions about your children, such as where they go to school, what religion they are, and major medical decisions. Physical custody refers to the children's living arrangements.

Custody can be “sole” or “joint.” Sole custody means only one parent has custody. Joint custody means the parents share custody. If parents share legal custody, they must make important decisions about their children together. If parents share physical custody, the children take turns living with each parent.

Parenting Time

A parenting time schedule tells when the children spend time with each parent. If a court order says “reasonable” parenting time, parents must work out the specific dates, times, and other conditions together. The children’s ages, how far apart the parents live, and the parents' schedules can affect a parenting time schedule.

If a judge orders specific parenting time, all the details are included in the court order. It may work best to have a specific parenting time schedule if you and the other parent can’t easily talk to one another or agree on a parenting time schedule.

Many family courts have a standard parenting time schedule that may be used in your order. A standard parenting time schedule normally gives parents every other week and/or weekend. Holidays are split between the parents, and they switch each year. For example, this year you have the children for Christmas Eve and the other parent has the children for Christmas Day. Next year the other parent will have Christmas Eve and you will have Christmas Day.

If one parent is irresponsible or has harmed or threatened to harm the children, the judge may order parenting time to be supervised by a third party. The supervisor could be a friend, relative, or another person the judge chooses.  

Seem overwhelming?  Ruth Nobel, our child custody lawyer can help!

How Custody and Parenting Time Is Decided

Initial Custody Order

The law says generally that custody arrangements for children should remain stable. Because of that, the judge will always ask whether the child has an established custodial environment (ECE) with one or both parents. If so, it will take more evidence for a judge to change the current arrangement.

When deciding if there is an ECE, the judge looks at what the child's life is like. For example, does the child look to one (or both) of the parents for love and affection, food, housing, and other needs? Is the child old enough to have been in the current arrangement for a significant amount of time?  Ruth Noble, our child custody lawyer can help you with these factors.

The Best Interests Factors

You and your child’s other parent may be able to work out custody and parenting time for your children. If you aren’t able to agree, the judge will decide custody and parenting time based on the best interests of the child. This legal test requires the judge to consider these 12 factors:

Factor (a): The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child;

Factor (b): 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;

Factor (c): The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, and medical care or other remedial care recognized under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs;

Factor (d): The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity;

Factor (e): The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes;

Factor (f): The moral fitness of the parties involved;

Factor (g): The mental and physical health of the parties involved;

Factor (h): The home, school, and community record of the child;

Factor (i): The reasonable preference of the child, if the judge considers the child to be old enough to express a preference;

Factor (j): 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 judge 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.

Factor (k): Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child;

Factor (l): Any other factor considered by the judge to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

Have questions?  Call Ruth Nobel, our child custody lawyer today!

Contact Attorney Ruth Noble at 989-892-6551, extension 125
Contact Kristyn, Assistant to Ms. Noble at ext. 124


The preceding is provided for informational purposes only. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, it cannot be relied upon as legal advise.  Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations.  Please consult with Ruth Noble, our child custody lawyer at Seward, Tally & Piggott, P.C. for legal aid.

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Contact Information

Seward, Tally & Piggott, P.C.

1009 Washington Ave.

Bay City, MI 48708

Phone: 989-892-6551

Fax: 989-892-1568

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and by special appointment

We are located across the street from the Post Office and Court House.