Custody issues tend to be one of the most pressing aspects of a divorce between parents. Both parents usually want to claim more time with their children. However, when ruling on child custody, the court will always look into what is in the child’s best interest. But what happens when one parent’s ability to serve the child’s best interest is in doubt?
Even though child custody proceedings can involve strong emotions, it is important to keep in mind that your actions before, during and after the divorce can have an impact on your child’s overall well-being. Allowing negative emotions to control or impair your judgment can cast you in a bad light and hurt your chances of getting (or retaining) custody of your child.
Here are three instances when you can lose the custody of your child in Michigan:
Alcohol and substance abuse
Do you have an alcohol or drug problem? There is no doubt that a parent’s alcohol and substance abuse can greatly affect their child’s well-being. Even if you are addicted to legal drugs like opioids and marijuana, the court may bar you from living with the child to ensure their safety. You may be required to take a substance use assessment to determine the extent of your fitness for custody.
Untreated mental illness
Do you suffer from a mental illness that might endanger the child’s welfare? Mental illness may not automatically strip you of your child’s custody. However, you will need to prove that you are seeking treatment for your illness and/or that your condition doesn’t impair your parenting skills. If you are mentally ill and are not doing anything about it, the court might consider you unfit for custody.
A history of abuse and violence
Do you have a history of abuse or violence? It is never appropriate for a child to be the subject of abuse (whether physical or emotional). It is also never appropriate for a child to witness domestic violence. A history of abuse and/or violence can greatly work against you during child custody proceedings.
The end of a marriage is never an easy time for everyone involved. If you are caught up in a child custody tussle, learn everything you can about your options to protect that precious parent-child relationship you have.