How do Michigan courts determine custody?

How do Michigan courts determine custody?

Michigan recognizes four types of child custody: Sole custody, joint custody, joint legal custody and joint physical custody. When deciding which type of custody is best for your situation, a family law judge must take into consideration your child’s best interests. Because the “best interests” of a child may be subjective, the Michigan Custody Guideline outlines best interest factors. 

The most significant factor that a judge will consider during your custody case is the relationship between your child and each parent. Though the child’s relationship with you and your former partner may be unique, the judge will want to see that love, affection and other emotional connections exist between each parent and the child. Moreover, you and your child’s other parent should demonstrate the capacity to continue to provide your child with love and affection, as well as proper guidance. The judge may also take into consideration your child’s connection to the home, community and school of yours and the other party’s separate dwellings. 

Health also plays a major role in custody determinations. The courts will evaluate the mental and physical wellbeing, as well as the moral fitness, of each party before making any final decisions. 

Before awarding any type of custody, the judge presiding over your case may assess each party’s financial situation and ability to provide your child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care and any other type of care your child may require. If you and your ex are capable of meeting your child’s most basic needs, the courts may also look to the permanence and stability of the proposed or existing custodial home. 

Another best interest factor that may affect the outcome of a custody case is each parent’s attitude toward the other. Family courts like to see that both parties are willing to encourage and facilitate an ongoing relationship between the child and other parent. 

Finally, the courts will consider the child’s preference, if the child is of sufficient age or maturity level to express partiality. Domestic violence charges may also factor into the equation. 

You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only. 

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