How Courts Determine Child Custody

How does a court determine who should have custody of minor children?

In Michigan, custody is determined by determining what is in the “best interests” of the minor children.  To determine what is in the best interests of the minor children, the court looks at the following factors:

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

What is the difference between sole custody and joint custody?

Sole custody means that one parent makes all important decisions regarding the minor children, with the other parent only having parenting time (visitation).  Joint legal custody means that both parents share decision-making authority as to important decisions affecting the welfare of the child, including decisions regarding medical care and education.  Joint physical custody gives both parents the rights of physical custodians, however does not necessarily mean that each parent has the child 50% of the time.  Joint physical custody arrangements can vary from one parent having all but alternating weekends, to 50-50 arrangements and everything in between.

To determine what is the best custody arrangement, you should discuss the facts of your case with a skilled, family law attorney.  Loraine R. Kuhn, attorney at law, has been handling custody cases in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Livingston Counties for over 30 years and can help you determine what type of custody arrangement is in the best interests of your minor children.

For a free consultation, contact Family Law attorney, Loraine R. Kuhn at 248-593-9090.

Loraine R. Kuhn’s office is conveniently located in Bingham Farms, MI, near the I 696 Freeway and close to Southfield, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield, Novi, Northville and Livonia.

30500 Northwestern Highway, Ste. 200 Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3177