Child Custody And Best Interest of the Child in Michigan

Family law cases involving minor children in Michigan are likely to be the most difficult kind of case one has to go through. No other issue is closer to the heart than what to do with one’s children, and many people have questions about how the court analyzes these kinds of cases, and how decisions ultimately get made. When making a custody or parenting time decision, the court will evaluate each case based on the best interests of the child.

What Are the Best Interests of the Child?

The “best interests of the child” is a standard used in family law. There are a number of factors that must be considered by a judge or referee to determine what is in a child’s best interests, and these factors are used to decide child custody and parenting time issues. The best interests of the child are as follows:
(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.
(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.

How Are These Factors Analyzed?

The court is to consider each factor listed above, and make a finding on the record of the factors that favor each party. There isn’t exactly a score card involved in this analysis. Just because more factors favor one parent over the other does not necessarily mean the judge will grant the “winning” parent a favorable decision. Judges are not required to give each factor equal weight. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced attorney to help you make an argument that the factors that may favor you should be given greater weight.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

There is no room for error in family law cases involving minor children. Too much is at stake, and the last place you want to find yourself in is wondering whether hiring an experienced family law attorney would have helped you reach a better outcome. Akiva Goldman & Associates are experienced family law attorneys, and we provide free consultations at 586-268-2400.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Legal Matters

Our family law clients often ask us what the “best interests of the child” are in Michigan. Most of these people understand that it pertains to child custody and parenting time issues, but they usually don’t understand how this standard is evaluated. For a more meaningful evaluation of your family law case, contact Goldman & Associates today for a free consultation at 586-268-2400. Our expert attorneys can help you today.