When Michigan parents are unable to agree on child custody arrangements, the court makes the decision for them. Prior to issuing a child custody order, the court must consider the best interests of the child.
The Child Custody Act stipulates all of the factors that the friend of the court must address before the court considers factors and makes a decision. One of the first factors is the child’s emotional ties to each parent. When a child is old enough to express a preference of custody, the court may consider that preference. The ability and willingness of each parent to encourage a continued parent-child relationship with the other parent is also an important factor, as well as the moral fitness and the physical and mental health of each parent.
Furthermore, the court must judge the disposition and capacity of each parent to provide love, affection, guidance, basic human needs and medical care for the child. If the child follows a religion or creed, each parent’s intent and capacity to continue the child’s education in that religion or creed may be a factor. The court also has to judge the permanence of an existing or proposed custodial residence and whether the child’s existing environment is stable and satisfactory.
As every child custody case is different, it is up to the court to determine whether any other factors are considered, such as a history of domestic violence. While many custody disputes involve the parents of a child, they could also occur between one parent and a close relative or family friend. Anyone who enters a child custody dispute might find that a family law attorney can provide useful advice for making informed decisions. No information in this article should be construed as specific legal advice.
Source: Michigan Supreme Court, “Custody Guideline“, December 05, 2014