When a couple with children files for divorce in Michigan, perhaps the most contentious aspect of their divorce is going to be that of child custody. While both parents may want the best for their child, the reality is that their idea of what that is may change after the marriage ends. Since the children cannot live with both the parents full time, parents end up fighting over who gets to spend the most time with them. As a result, courts have to step in and make child custody decisions on their behalf.
Child custody factors
When making child custody decisions, courts consider the child’s best interests based on the following factors:
- Mental and physical health of the parties involved;
- The relationship, such as the love and affection between the children and the parents;
- Capacity of the parents to provide love and affection to the child and provide for his or her basic necessities such as clothing, food and medical care.
- Maintaining continuity;
- Mental and physical health of the parents and their moral fitness;
- The willingness of the parent to encourage a meaningful relationship with the other parent;
- Reasonable preference of the child;
- Any other relevant factors.
Parents are encouraged to make child custody arrangements on their own but when they are not able to agree on a parenting plan, the court steps in. It is helpful to have an experienced attorney voicing one’s concerns and side in court to help get the custody decision that best serves the child’s interests.