Parents going through the child custody process in Michigan should understand child custody basics and how child custody is determined. This will help them navigate the process so they can arrive at a child custody arrangement that is best for their child.
Child custody and the best interests of the child
Child custody is always based on what is in the best interests of the child which makes knowing what that means useful for divorcing parents to understand. It refers to a standard that is used to guide child custody decisions that is based on several different factors including:
- The emotional ties between the parents and the child, including love and affection;
- The capacity of the parents to provide love, affection and guidance to the child and continue the child’s educational and religious upbringing;
- The capacity of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing and care;
- The length of time the child has been living in a stable and satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining the continuity of the environment;
- The permanence of the proposed home for the child;
- The moral fitness of the parents;
- The mental and physical health of the parents;
- The home, school and community history of the child;
- The child’s reasonable wishes if the family law court consider the child to be mature enough to express it;
- The willingness of the parents to facilitate and encourage and close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
- Any history of domestic abuse; and
- Any other factor the family law court considers relevant.
How and why these standards matter
Child custody factors are used to evaluate the best child custody arrangement for each child. It is helpful for the child’s parents to also focus on this standard, as it will be used by the family law court to evaluate child custody. It can make the process of resolving child custody smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.