How Michigan determines the “best interests of the child”

How Michigan determines the “best interests of the child”

When you share a child with someone and you and that person no longer have a romantic relationship, you may need to determine who is going to care for your shared child and when. While, in some cases, people in your shoes can come up with custody arrangements without involving the court system, others prefer to have the court do so for any number of different reasons. 

If you task a Michigan court with deciding on a custody arrangement for your child, you should assume that the court is going to consider a variety of factors before making decisions. Just what are these common factors that the court system may consider when assessing a child’s interests? 

Determining factors 

While every custody case is different, you should expect the court to factor in the relationships that each person seeking custody has with the child or children at the center of the proceedings. More specifically, the state’s courts are typically going to take into account the love and emotional ties that each party involved in the case has with the child. 

The court typically also considers the capacity of each party seeking custody to provide financially and otherwise for the child at the center of the case. It may, too, take into account the child’s current living situation and his or her desire to remain there, if applicable. The mental and physical condition of each party seeking custody may also become a determining factor, and so, too, might the character and moral compass of each party seeking custody. 

The child’s preferences 

When age-appropriate, a court may also consider the wishes of the child in the middle of the custody case before issuing final decisions. While a judge may allow a child under 18 to voice his or her preferences about where to live, kids under 18 cannot legally decide where to live unless they have undergone emancipation. 

While this summary offers a broad overview of the factors that Michigan courts may consider in custody cases, this is not an exhaustive list of all areas that may undergo review. 

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