If you can amicably agree with your spouse on how you will share custody of the children, well and good. All you have to do is formalize your agreement in court. Here, a judge will review the custody arrangement and approve it if the terms are fair and if it serves the children’s best interests.
However, if you cannot reach such an agreement, a Michigan family court will decide how things will go. The court’s decision will be informed by a number of factors, as explained below.
The children take center stage in custody decisions
Michigan law presumes that it’s best for the children to maintain relations with both parents, and the court advises joint custody in custody cases. However, nothing is guaranteed. It all depends on the best interests of the children. They include:
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Instances of domestic violence
- Each parent’s moral fitness
- The reasonable preferences of the child if the court deems they are of sufficient age
- The emotional ties between the child and the parties involved
- The ability of each parent to discharge their parental duties, nurture and provide for the child
- Any other factors the court may consider relevant
The court will also look at whether the parents will be able to work together and agree on important decisions affecting the child before awarding joint custody.
Understand how custody proceedings work in Michigan
If you are in the middle of or anticipating a custody battle, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the looming court process and what you can do to protect your place in your children’s lives. It is equally crucial to be aware of your options when the other parent disregards the custody arrangement, and what to do if circumstances change and the custody orders are no longer serving the children’s best interests.