Couples in Michigan who are preparing to go through the divorce process likely have a lot of questions about how everything will work out in the end, particularly if they have child custody issues that need addressing. Figuring out child custody is not always easy as not all parents have the same ideas about what is best for their kids. According to current divorce law, there are two ways in which child custody can be determined: parent negotiation or judge intervention.

If parents can come to agreeable child custody terms either on their own or with the assistance of counsel, they are more likely to be happy with the final result. Parent negotiation is the preferred method of figuring out custody arrangements, but there are some cases where it just does not work. In those cases, a judge may have to make the decision.

If a custody case goes to court, the judge will consider a number of factors before issuing a final ruling on the matter. Why? A judge uses this information in order to determine what type of custody plan would best serve the interests of the affected children. Some of the most important factors include:

  • Who has been the primary caretaker?
  • Do any children have special needs?
  • What living arrangements can each parent offer?
  • Does either parent have abuse or addiction issues?
  • What do the children want?

When all is said and done, the goal is creating a child custody plan that puts the children in the best situation. Michigan parents know their kids better than the courts do, which is why it is preferred that they try to work out a custody agreement and only use litigation as a last resort. A divorce law attorney can assist with custody planning or, if necessary, fighting for the desired custody arrangement in court.