When some couples divorce, they have an easy time working out a custody agreement. Yet, you and your spouse’s split may be contentious. You might have concerns about their fitness as a parent and are ready to seek sole custody. Before you do, it’s crucial to consider whether such an arrangement is in your children’s best interests.
How custody works in Michigan
In Michigan, courts determine custody based on the best interests of your children. Barring certain circumstances, they will likely conclude that you and your spouse will share joint custody. This could take the form of legal custody, physical custody or both. Joint legal custody means you two will share decision-making responsibilities regarding your children. Joint physical custody means your children will live with each of you at specific times.
Yet, you may consider both prospects untenable if your spouse’s actions led to your divorce. You may worry their behavior will carry over into parenting, and that they will set a poor example for your children. If so, you might want to petition for sole custody. This arrangement would make your children’s primary residence your home. And you would also have complete decision-making authority about their lives and well-being. But even if you receive sole custody, your spouse will likely retain rights to parenting time.
When courts award sole custody
Your spouse may not have been an ideal partner. But they may be a qualified parent who your children love. Thus, you will want to consider whether your desire for sole custody reflects their parenting abilities. And you must also realize that courts only award sole custody in exceptional situations. They may do so, though, if:
- Your spouse has committed acts of domestic violence against you
- Your spouse has a history of physical or sexual abuse toward your children
- Your spouse has a history of substance abuse
- Your spouse has a history of neglecting or endangering your children
- Your spouse refuses to communicate or cooperate when making parenting decisions
- Your spouse cannot provide a stable home for your children
Reaching a fair custody agreement can be difficult. But it’s crucial to prioritize your children’s best interests over your feelings toward your spouse. By doing so, you can ensure they thrive after your divorce.