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How Is Child Custody Determined in Michigan?

How Is Child Custody Determined in Michigan?

When two parents undergo the process of divorce, one of the most contentious and emotional issues is that of child custody. Knowing how Michigan courts define and determine child custody can help you understand what legal steps you need to take to optimize your chances of a favorable outcome.


In general, Michigan operates on the assumption that having substantial time with both parents is in a child’s best interests. However, the determination of which parent ultimately gets custody will depend on several factors. Consulting with an experienced Michigan child custody attorney early in the process can help protect your rights and your family’s future.


What Factors Do Michigan Courts Consider When Determining Child Custody?

 Michigan courts evaluate numerous factors when making child custody decisions to determine what arrangement is in the child’s best interests. Some key factors considered include:


  • The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between the child and each parent
  • The ability of each parent to provide the child with love, affection, and guidance, and to continue the education and, if applicable, raising of the child in their religion or creed
  • The ability of each parent to provide the child with necessities such as food, clothing, and medical care
  • The possibility of continuity of a stable, satisfactory environment for the child
  • The sustainability of the existing or proposed custodial home as a family unit
  • The moral fitness of each party
  • The mental and physical health of the parties
  • The child’s home, school, and community records
  • Any evidence of domestic violence, whether directed against or witnessed by the child
  • Any other factor considered pertinent by the court


Does the Child’s Preference Affect the Outcome?

 While not the sole determining factor, a child’s reasonable preference regarding custody can be considered by Michigan courts if the child is deemed to be of sufficient age and maturity to express a reasonable preference. The court will evaluate the child’s age, ability to reason, and any other relevant factors.


Generally, the older and more mature a child is, the more weight their stated custody preference will carry. However, the court makes the final determination after considering all relevant factors about what custodial situation is genuinely in the child’s best interests.


How Can a Family Law Attorney Help?

 An experienced Michigan child custody lawyer can provide valuable guidance and advocacy throughout the custody determination process. Some key ways a skilled attorney can help include:


  • Ensuring you fully understand your rights as a parent under Michigan law
  • Gathering evidence and documentation to build the strongest possible case for custody
  • Preparing you to effectively represent your case to the court
  • Negotiating on your behalf with the other parent’s attorneys if settlement is an option
  • Forcefully representing your interests at any required hearings or trial
  • Advising you on appropriate next steps based on the court’s ruling


Having a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side can significantly increase your chances of achieving a custody arrangement that protects your parent-child relationship.


If You’re Divorcing, Contact Selleck Legal Today

 At Selleck Legal, PLLC, we understand that the outcome of your child custody decision may be one of the most consequential moments in your life. Our team has years of experience supporting Michigan families, and we know what it takes to present the most robust possible case on your behalf. We understand the compassion, care, and delicacy your case requires.


Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

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