Child Custody Basics

Going through a divorce with children or a child-custody proceeding can be overwhelming. Below are the factors that the Court will look at to make an initial child custody decision. These factors are often referred to as the "best-interest factors." It is important to keep in mind that, practically speaking, courts generally refer to two different kinds of custody - legal custody and physical custody. Most parents share joint legal and joint physical custody, but not all. The parent with legal custody is commonly referred to as the parent who is in charge of making all the major decisions in the minor-child's life. The parent with physical custody is the parent with whom the child resides with most of the time. This should not be confused with parenting time. Parenting time is the actual schedule that the two parents follow to spend time with their children. 

MCL 722.23 spells out the factors that a court will look at to determine what custody arrangement is in the best-interests of a child. As you are preparing your case, you should keep these factors in mind and discuss any concerns you have with a competent family law attorney.

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child. 

(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.

(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.

(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents. A court may not consider negatively for the purposes of this factor any reasonable action taken by a parent to protect a child or that parent from sexual assault or domestic violence by the child's other parent.

(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

Contact our office today if you need assistance with a child custody matter. We are experienced attorneys practicing family law in Macomb County, Michigan. Schedule your free consultation online by clicking here.

Lashier Law Firm