Understanding the “12 Best Interest Factors” in Michigan Child Custody Law
March 14, 2016 - Categories: Legal Articles
If you are preparing for divorce and you have minor children, it is important to understand that the Michigan courts consider the “best interests” of the child when deciding child custody.
Below are the factors the court will consider in issuing its custody order:
- The relationship between each parent and each child. The court will want to understand how emotionally attached the child is to both parents and whether there is love and affection in the relationship.
- The capability of each parent to provide the child with the emotional and educational support the child needs. If the religious upbringing of the child is at issue, the court will consider the parent’s ability to raise the child in his or her religion. In sum, the court will consider the parent’s ability to raise the child to become a successful adult.
- The court considers each parent’s ability to meet the child’s basic needs such as providing food, shelter, clothing and medical care.
- The child’s current living arrangements will be considered and whether it is desirable to continue the living arrangement. The court will want the child to have a stable home.
- The court will also consider who else is living in each parent’s home and whether the child will have a stable and reliable family.
- Each parent’s history will be reviewed to determine moral fitness. In other words, arrest records, substance abuse and other such matters will be considered.
- Any issues regarding the parents’ mental and physical health will be considered in determining their ability to parent.
- The child’s past performance at home, school and in the community will be reviewed. If the child is not thriving in his or her current home, the court may consider making a change.
- If the child is old enough, which is usually decided by the judge, he or she can express a preference on where to live.
- The court will examine the willingness of each parent to encourage a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent. The courts want a child to have a relationship with both parents if possible.
- Any evidence of domestic violence involving the parents will be closely reviewed. The court will not place a child in a home where safety is a concern.
- The court can consider any other factor it deems relevant to determining child custody.
Michigan courts presume that joint custody is in the best interests of the child, but this presumption can be overcome during the review of the above factors and your child’s specific needs.
Please contact us to schedule a free custody and parenting time consultation. With just a low initial retainer, our team of local Michigan lawyers is standing by to assist you with a wide variety of child custody and parenting time matters. Call Access Legal Care, PLLC, today at 855.583.6521.