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Custody Battles in Michigan: What to Do and What Not to Do

Custody Battles in Michigan: What to Do and What Not to Do

Child custody fights in Michigan are rarely simple. Tempers can flare when one parent tries to change existing custody arrangements, and parents may behave in ways they later regret. Beyond just being embarrassing, some of the parents’ choices during these custody battles can impact what the court decides to do.

What “Best Interests of the Child” Really Means

Whenever the court must make any custody decision in Michigan, the best interests of the child are its primary consideration. Every court is empowered to decide for itself what custody arrangements will best serve the child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Though the court’s focus is on the needs of the child, this does not mean the parents’ actions and behavior are unimportant. The court will note what the parents do and say both in and out of court to assess how likely each one is to advance their child’s best interests.

5 Things You Should Do During a Michigan Custody Fight

While there is a custody motion pending before the court, some of the positive actions you can take to increase the likelihood that the court will side with you include:

  1. Maintain the existing parenting time schedule as closely as possible
  2. Continue to encourage your child to spend time with the other parent
  3. Communicate with the other parent and keep copies of written communication
  4. Attend all court hearings and provide any documentation requested
  5. If you are ordered to pay child support, make all support payments as ordered

When you are in court, you will also want to frame your custody arguments in terms of your child’s best interests. 

Courts generally believe that children need stability, predictability, financial security, and the ability to visit with the other parent frequently. Showing the court how your preferred arrangements serve these purposes will go far in helping your case.

Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Involved in a Custody Dispute

The following five errors can leave the court with a negative impression of your ability to provide for your child’s best interests. As much as possible, avoid:

  1. Disrupting custody arrangements or denying visitation to the other parent without cause
  2. Speaking poorly about the other parent to the child or within their hearing
  3. Moving or making plans to relocate
  4. Failing to respond to court filings or show up to court hearings
  5. Putting pressure on your child to decide who they want to live with

In court, it would be a mistake to focus solely on what you want and how the court’s decision would affect you. While discussing your feelings is understandable and acceptable, talking exclusively about yourself tells the court that you do not give much thought to your child’s needs.

Guidance From a Child Custody Lawyer Can Be Invaluable

When you are involved in a custody fight, having a Michigan child custody lawyer with whom you can consult and discuss the case can give you an advantage. Your lawyer will help you take positive actions to strengthen your position and gather evidence and witnesses that can help the court make its decision.



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