Michigan Child Custody Resources and Support

Don't go through the child custody process on your own. Even if you can't afford an attorney, you have plenty of places to turn for support.

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In-depth guides

Use the following guides to help you and your family through the various aspects of custody and parenting time.

Friend of the Court offices

Michigan parents deciding custody work closely with their county Friend of the Court (FOC) office. FOC personnel don't offer legal advice, but they help with most steps in the custody process: conciliation, custody investigations, settlements, etc.

Before you open a case, you can contact your FOC office to get information and paperwork. As soon as you have a case open, contact the office for details on next steps.

Below are links to the Friend of the Court offices for the biggest counties in Michigan:

Wayne Washtenaw
Oakland Ingham
Macomb Ottawa
Kent Kalamazoo
Genesee Livingston

Check the Michigan court directory for links to other counties.

Legal aid offices

Parents who can't afford to hire an attorney may be able to get one free through their county's legal aid office. You must meet income eligibility requirements, which vary.

Many legal aid lawyers are multilingual and have expertise in special circumstances that may affect your case.

Modest Means Program

If you don't meet the income requirements to use a legal aid office, you may still qualify for reduced-cost representation from the Michigan State Bar's Modest Means Program.

Michigan Legal Help Program

For checklists and do-it-yourself court paperwork, visit Michigan Legal Help, a nonprofit organization approved by the state to assist people who are representing themselves in legal proceedings.

Michigan Legal Help doesn't provide legal representation, but it can help you find an attorney in your area.

Community dispute resolution centers

Community dispute resolution centers are court-approved nonprofits that offer mediation at a reduced cost, based on your income.

Below are links to community dispute resolution centers for the biggest counties in Michigan.

Wayne Washtenaw
Oakland Ingham
Macomb Ottawa
Kent Kalamazoo
Genesee Livingston

Michigan's Office of Dispute Resolution has information on dispute resolution centers in other counties.

Parenting coordination

High-conflict cases may benefit from parenting coordination, in which a neutral third party helps parents implement a parenting schedule and a parenting plan.

Parenting coordinators are trained to help parents communicate, make shared decisions, resolve co-parenting disputes and more.

Either parent can request parenting coordination, or the FOC might recommend it, but the court will only order it if both parents agree to participate. Parents must pay the coordinator's fees.

Parenting coordination is typically included in final orders, but it may begin earlier in a case (e.g., if parents struggle to follow temporary orders).

In cases involving domestic violence, a parenting coordinator can keep the parents' interaction to a minimum.

Our professional sources

For more help, consider reaching out to one of our sources. The professionals below provided expertise for this guide to custody and parenting time in Michigan. We hope they can help you, too.

Dawson Family Law, P.L.L.C.
David R. Dawson, Attorney at Law
Sterling Heights, MI

Friend of the Court Bureau
Timothy Cole, Management Analyst
Lansing, MI

Goldner Deeg Bissett, P.L.C.
Peter Bissett, Attorney at Law
Royal Oak, MI

Gryphon Place Community Dispute Resolution
Jacquis Robertson, Executive Director of Dispute Resolution Services
Kalamazoo, MI

The Kroznek Firm, P.L.C.
Charles Kroznek, Attorney at Law
Lansing, MI

Custody X Change app

The custody process requires organization. You may need to create a parenting plan, draft multiple parenting schedules, calculate expenses and beyond.

The Custody X Change app enables you to do all of that in one place.

With a parenting plan template, custody calendars, a shared expense tracker and other tools you can use in Michigan, Custody X Change makes sure you're prepared for whatever arises in your journey to child custody.

Take advantage of our technology to stay on top of all the moving parts of your case.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

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