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Child Custody Michigan

Are you Looking for a Child Custody Attorney in Michigan?

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.

Need a Michigan Child Custody Overview?

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.

What's the Difference? Custody vs. Joint Custody

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.

What is Michigan’s Best Interests of the Child Standard?

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:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  • The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • 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.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

Free Child Custody Law Consultation

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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