Michigan legislation is unique in that it is one of the few in the nation that expressly encourages parents to come to a child custody agreement on their own, and without court intervention. However, it also recognizes that many former partners may struggle to see eye to eye on what is best for their shared children, which is why the law also outlines factors a judge may consider when making custody determinations. You can find those factors in the Michigan Custody Guideline.
One of the first factors the courts will consider is the existing relationship between the child and each parent. In particular, the courts want to see that love and affection exist between the parties and that both parents have the capacity to continue to demonstrate love, affection and guidance when raising the child. The judge will also take into consideration the moral fitness of both parties, as well as yours and the other parent’s physical and mental health.
In addition to assessing your ability to provide your child with love and affection, the courts will also consider your ability to meet your child’s most basic needs. Those include food, shelter, clothing, medical care and any other form of remedial care the law recognizes and requires.
Next, the judge will consider the living arrangement at each parent’s home. The courts will assess the permanence of each proposed custodial home, as well as the length of time each parent has maintained a stable and satisfactory living environment. The school and community in which each home is located may also factor into the custody equation.
If your child is old enough and mature enough, the courts may also consider his or her preference. Additional factors that may affect custody include the willingness of either party to encourage and facilitate an ongoing relationship with the other parent and prior domestic violence convictions.
You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.