Attorney Kendra Ortega

Respected, Trusted Representation

Seeking Smart And Sensible Child Custody Solutions

While custody and parenting time are issues decided in a divorce with minor children, a custody action is also appropriate when parties share a child and do not reside together. If you will soon be facing custody proceedings due to divorce or other circumstances, it is important to seek skilled representation. In Holland and surrounding areas of Michigan, Kendra Ortega, PLC, is the firm to call.

Attorney Ortega provides strategic and cool-headed counsel during a time when it is difficult for clients to be calm and objective. She will work tirelessly to protect your children and your relationship with them, and she will advocate for outcomes that preserve and prioritize the bond you share.

The Basics Of Child Custody In Michigan

Legal custody refers to the decision-making power granted to one parent or jointly to both parents. The court prefers granting joint legal custody to both parents as long as they are able to effectively co-parent in making important legal decisions (related to matters like health care, religious upbringing, education and more). However, joint legal custody may not be appropriate where there has been a history of domestic abuse between the parents.

Physical custody refers to the ongoing living arrangement of the children. In Michigan, physical custody is called parenting time. The court may grant one parent primary physical custody of the children, or the court can find that the children should reside a relatively equal amount of time with each parent and grant them joint physical custody of the children.

Custody and parenting time can be negotiated between parents with the help of their respective attorneys and formalized in a custody agreement, also called a parenting plan. When possible, a negotiated outcome is preferable because it gives both parents more control over the outcome and tends to be significantly faster and less stressful than litigating the case and leaving the ultimate decision up to the court. However, negotiation isn’t always possible, including in cases of domestic violence.

If left to the court’s discretion, there are several factors that the court will consider when deciding the best custody arrangement for your children. These are known as the “best interests” factors (Michigan Legislature – Section 722.23).

The Important Role Of Personal Protection Orders In Custody Cases

Sadly, domestic violence often plays a role in custody matters. It could be a contributing factor to the parental split, a reaction to the custody dispute or both. If you fear for your own safety and/or the safety of your children, please speak with attorney Ortega about obtaining personal protection order (PPO). This court order can prohibit your abuser from coming to your home or workplace and can stop them from taking your children (unless they are doing so as part of an existing custody order).

Conversely, if you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence by your former partner, attorney Ortega will work diligently to disprove the allegations and clear your name and your standing in the custody case.

Discuss Your Legal Options During An Initial Consultation

Kendra Ortega, PLC, serves clients in Holland, Grand Rapids and surrounding communities. To learn how an experienced attorney can help you, contact the firm to schedule an initial consultation about your case. Call 616-369-7566 or submit an online contact form.