Child Custody in Michigan: Best Interest of the Child Doctrine

Divorce is never an easy process; but the difficulties become compounded when children are involved. The emotional and legal strains may become overwhelming, particularly when both parents seek custody of a child. In such instances, having effective, confidential counsel is invaluable. If you find yourself in facing a divorce involving custody issues, contact the law office of Michael A. Robbins for the experienced legal guidance you deserve.

Factors the Court Considers in Custody Challenges

Michigan law follows the "best interests of the child" doctrine, essentially considering a number of factors when determining physical custody arrangements:

  • Emotional bonding: The child's emotional stability is evaluated by looking at his connections to each parent, as well as the bonding activities that occur in the child's life. This might include a look at the amount of time each parent spends with the child in a typical day, the level of affection given by each parent, and the bonding routines in the child's life.

  • Parental capacity to provide emotional care for the child: A consideration of discipline and general communication with the child will be a part of deliberations.

  • Parental capacity to provide physical care for the child: Besides financial stability, the courts will contemplate work hour flexibility and special needs the child may have.

  • Continuity: Stability in the home environment will be a primary concern. Minimal disruptions in the child's life are preferable when possible.

  • Family Unit: Relationships with siblings, grandparents, and other family members will be considered.

  • Morality and Emotional Fitness of Parents: Abusive situations or any behaviors directly impacting the child will be a factor. A history of violence, whether in the presence of the child or not, is relevant. The court will also consider alcohol abuse; drug abuse; extramarital affairs or other fault on morality issue.

  • Mental/Physical Health: Mental or physical limitations of either parent will be factored into the equation.

  • School/Community: In addition to stability within school and community systems, a consideration of which parent attends school conferences, who assists with homework, and who supervises chores and responsibilities at home will tnjjjjjjjake place.

  • Child Preferences (depending on age): Although this is only one of many factors considered, the court may determine the weight of a child's preferences in custody arrangements.

  • Parent Attitude: The court will view the ability of each parent to be supportive of the child, regardless of placement. It will look at whether parents are critical or condescending toward one another or otherwise portray a derogatory attitude toward the other parent in the presence of the child. This might include a consideration of kidnapping threats, an irregular or unreliable visitation history, and the willingness of parents to flex with the child's extra-curricular activities.

Physical and legal custody of children are the most important issues to be decided by the courts in a divorce case. Be prepared to put forth the best case possible in order to obtain the outcome that is best for your family. Michael A. Robbins is a nationally recognized attorney specializing in divorce and family law. Let him help you with the most important battle of your life. Contact his Bloomfield Hills office today for a consultation.