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How do courts determine ‘best interest of the child’?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2021 | Child Custody |

When parents get divorced, they often worry what will happen to the kids. How will they share time with the kids? Who will make decisions about the child’s life? These questions are often answered by the court based on the ‘best interest of the child’ standard. Under Michigan law, courts will consider several factors when determining custody arrangements that serve the best interest of the child.

Factors to determine best interest of the child

Michigan courts will consider various aspects relating to the child, as well as the parents, when determining what child custody arrangement will ensure the child’s safety, emotional and physical wellbeing, and success. Some of these factors include:

  • Each parent’s willingness and capacity to support the child physically, emotionally, and financially.
  • The relationship between the child and each parent.
  • Whether the child current living environment is stable and whether maintaining continuity is beneficial for the child.
  • The physical and mental health, earning capacity, and moral fitness of parents.
  • History of drug and alcohol abuse and/or domestic violence.
  • The child’s needs (education, health, etc.).
  • Child’s preference (if the court determines they are old enough for their preference to be valid).

In addition to the specific factors listed in the statute, courts are allowed to consider anything they think is relevant to the decision.

Ideally, both parents will be able to share both physical and legal custody of the child, giving each parent time with the child and decision-making powers relating to the child’s upbringing. However, in some situations, the court may find that the best interests of the child are best served with one parent having sole custody. Your family law attorney can help navigate these custody issues and ensure your child remains the number one priority throughout the divorce process.