Child Custody Factors
In Michigan, a Judge considers 12 factors when determining child custody.
When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, the Judge will determine custody based on the “best interests of the child”. In doing so, they are directed by Michigan law to take into consideration 12 specific factors:
(1.) The love and emotional bond that exists between the child and each parent
(2.) The ability of each parent to provide the child with love, affection, education, and guidance in their religion or creed (if any).
(3.) The ability of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, other remedial care and other material needs.
(4.) The length of time that the child has lived with one parent and/or in the same location in a stable environment, and the advantage of not disrupting this continuity.
(5.) The family unit’s “permanence” or stability in the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(6.) The moral fitness of each of the parents.
(7.) The mental and physical health of each of the parents.
(8.) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(9.) If the Judge considers the child to be old enough to express a preference, they will take into consideration the “reasonable preference” of the child.
(10.) The willingness of each parent to maintain & encourage a close, continuing relationship between the child & other parent.
Note: The Judge will not penalize a parent who has withheld a relationship with the other parent in order to protect the child (or themselves) from sexual assault or domestic violence.
(11.) Any history of domestic violence – even if the violence was not directed against or witnessed by the child.
(12.) Any other factor(s) considered by the Judge to be relevant to the child.
Because of the complexity of Michigan’s custody law, only an experienced lawyer can fully explain your custody rights and how the law applies to your situation. If you have a custody matter in Michigan, you need an understanding, aggressive and experienced family law attorney to ensure you get the custody that you deserve.