The Divorce Attorneys of Michigan help clients with their child custody matters. Child custody is probably the most contentious and emotional aspect of a divorce. This is one of the aspects of a divorce that linger long after the divorce is finalized with often unintended consequences. If you have any questions regarding child custody laws in Michigan or would like some guidance on the issue, please feel free to call our office and speak to one of our child custody attorneys.
In Michigan, when courts consider child custody matters, they are bound by the Child Custody Act of 1970 (MCL 722.21). The Child Custody Act governs matters that deal with disputes over the custody of a minor child. This Act is considered to be a gender-blind test in determining which parents to award custody to when disputed. The Child Custody Act takes the "best interest of the child" position when deciding custody disputes. The court is required to asses a number of factors in determining who to award custody to. The Child Custody Act provides standing (rights) to natural and adoption parents, agencies, and third parties, under special circumstances.
Based on the best interests standard, the trial court is required to make a determination as to whom custody should be awarded based on the best interest of the child at stake. There is a presumption that the natural parents of the children will serve the best interest of the child, unless clear and convincing evidence shows otherwise.
There are differences between joint and sole custody. Generally, sole custody is usually an arrangement where a single parent is awarded primary physical and legal custody. Joint physical custody is a term that is used to describe an arrangement whereby both parents share equal time with the child. Legal custody bestows the right upon the parent(s) to make important decisions regarding the child’s life, such as the child’s upbringing, medical treatment, school enrollment, and other important matters. Courts tend to favor awarding joint legal and physical custody of children. Courts are required to consider joint custody requests by either party and must state the reasons of either granting or denying the request. Keep in mind that these decisions largely hinge on the child’s best interests. However, if both parents cannot come to agreement on joint custody, then the court must determine which parents shall have sole custody.
The following are the factors of the best interest of the child standard that are taken into consideration when deciding child custody issues, per MCL 722.23:
If you have any questions regarding child custody laws in Michigan, please feel free to call us today and setup a free consultation to have all your questions answered.
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