In Michigan child custody cases, there are many factors that will be discussed when determining decision making rights, living arrangements and parenting time. First and foremost, the courts will strive to serve the child’s best interests. In general, the parents will focus on the child as well. However, given the chance that the marriage ended badly and the sides are in dispute over myriad issues, the child can get caught in the middle. This should be considered when crafting the custody arrangement.
The child’s relationship with the other parent should be a priority
As part of its assessment of best interests, the court will look at whether the parents will encourage a positive relationship with the other parent. In cases where the parents were on good terms in the divorce or were, at a minimum, capable of putting aside remaining acrimony for the good of the child, this should not be a major obstacle. Still, it is important to think about this in the context of the child’s best interests and the child custody decision.
The parent might be tempted to try and use the child to upset the other parent because of the way the marriage ended and the divorce. That could involve lacking flexibility if it is necessary to swap days; saying negative things about the other parent; or being difficult in general. This is a fundamental part of serving a child’s best interests just like having a safe place to live, a good education, medical coverage, extracurricular activities, proper nutrition and more.
It is important to understand all the facets of best interests and child custody
Of course, this applies to situations where the child will be safe and there were no issues with domestic violence, abuse, drugs, alcohol and other concerns. In those circumstances, it is understandable if a parent is reluctant and wants protections for themselves and the child. In child custody cases where safety is not a problem, it is important for the parents to put lingering differences with the other parent to the side and show a willingness to be accommodating for the relationship. For these understated aspects of child custody and every other consideration with family law, experienced representation can be essential.