What Do Judges Look for in Child Custody Cases in Michigan?

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What Do Judges Look for in Child Custody Cases in Michigan?

Divorce is tough on children. It’s also tough on their parents. Who will get custody? How much time will each parent get to spend with the kids?

In Michigan and other states, the courts make child custody decisions based on the child’s best interests. What does this mean? There are a dozen factors that judges look for in child custody cases. Here is a look at some of them.

The Love and Affection Between the Parent and Child

Which parent has bonded with the child? How much time does the parent spend with the child? Who takes care of the child’s needs, such as feeding, bathing, and playing with the child? How affectionate is the child with each parent?

The Capacity to Provide the Child With Needs

Who takes care of the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter? How much does each parent earn? Who provides health insurance for the child? Who arranges childcare or doctor appointments? Which parent can provide a stable environment for the child?

The Capacity to Educate and Raise the Child

Which parent stays home with the child when they are sick? Who deals with school and homework issues? What about sports and extracurricular activities? Do the parents involve extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, in the child’s life?

Each Parent’s Health

What is the physical and emotional fitness of each parent? Can they properly care for the child? Do they have a disability that makes this challenging or impossible?

The Moral Fitness of Each Parent

This involves factors such as child abuse, criminal activity, alcohol or drug abuse, and extramarital affairs, and how these behaviors have affected the child as well as the parenting behaviors of the parent.

The Child’s Place in the School and Community

How does each parent encourage school attendance? Who helps with homework? Who attends school activities? Which parent can provide the best stability for the child so they can stay at the home and attend the same school?

Relationship Between the Parents

How do the parents treat each other? Is there any badmouthing or criticism? Will each parent cooperate with the parenting time schedule? Will the parents support each other in maintaining their relationship with the child?

The Child’s Preference

In some cases, the child can express their preference for one parent over the other. There is no minimum age in Michigan. However, the judge will only speak with a child if they think the child is old or mature enough. The child’s opinion must be reasonable and not based on which parent has more money or fewer restrictions. 

Contact Us Today

Child custody is a contentious issue. Find out what you need to know to prove your case. The experienced Michigan child custody lawyers from Lucido & Manzella, P.C. can help make sure you and your child’s best interests are in mind. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (586) 228-3900.

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