When parents are getting divorced in Michigan and one or more of their children are minors, it will be extremely important for those parents to learn more about divorce and child custody under Michigan law. Parents should gain a better understanding of how child custody proceedings relate to Michigan divorce law in general, and they should also learn more about custody guidelines and how Michigan courts make decisions about awarding or allocating custody to parents. If you have questions or need assistance, you should know that a Michigan divorce attorney can represent you. In the meantime, the following are five things every parent should know about divorces involving minor children.
Michigan Courts Will Handle Child Custody as Part of the Divorce Case
The Michigan Child Custody Act governs most issues related to child custody in a Michigan divorce. As Michigan custody guidelines clarify, when a married couple getting divorced has minor children from the marriage, child custody will be decided as part of the divorce case. In other words, neither parent will need to file a separate petition for child custody. Instead, legal and physical custody determinations will become a portion of the divorce case.
Courts in Michigan Will Use the “Best Interests of the Child” Standard When Making Custody Determinations
Similar to other states, in a Michigan divorce involving younger children, Michigan courts will use the “best interests of the child” standard to make a custody determination.
Children’s Wishes can be Considered
According to the Michigan Child Custody Act, the reasonable preference of the child can be taken into account when a court makes a child custody determination, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age. In deciding whether a child can express a reasonable preference and whether it should be considered by the court, the court will look at the age of the child to see whether the child has a clear understanding of the situation, and the court will also look to the past to see if a child has expressed a reasonable preference for custody that has been consistent over time. However, it is important for parents who are getting divorced to recognize that a child’s preference will never be the sole factor a court considers when deciding child custody.
Michigan Custody Includes Legal and Physical Custody
Like in other states, Michigan has legal custody (making significant decisions about a child’s life) and physical custody (providing caretaking functions for a child). Either can be awarded as sole or joint custody.
Michigan Courts Typically Award Sole Custody with Parenting Time When Parents Cannot Work Together
The Michigan custody guideline explains that, when judges have reason to believe that parents will not be able to work together for their child’s benefit after a divorce, the court will often award sole custody to one parent while the other parent gets parenting time. However, if either parent requests joint custody, then the court is at least required to consider awarding joint custody.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Michigan
Do you have questions about divorce as it pertains to child custody? One of our Michigan child custody attorneys can speak with you today about your questions or concerns. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins for more information about our services.