May 8, 2017

Considerations when determining child custody

There are many complicated issues that must be resolved when couples in Michigan and across the U.S. decide to file for divorce. One of the most emotional topics is child custody. Will the parents split custody or will the child primarily reside with one parent and visit the other on a planned schedule? Although studies show that joint parenting, in most cases, tends to be better for the children involved, it is not always feasible. Some parents live a significant distance apart and it is impossible to share 50/50 custody. Others are incarcerated or have a mental issue that does not allow them unsupervised time with their children.

To ensure that the best interests of the child are met, the judge presiding over the case often determines who is awarded custody of the children. According to Michigan’s Child Custody Act, the judge will look at the emotional bond that the child has with each parent, as well as each parent’s ability to care and support the child. Which parent can provide a stable, healthy and optimal environment for the child to grow, learn and thrive?

In addition to these factors, the judge may also look at the following:

  •          The physical and mental health of each parent.
  •          Whether there is a criminal background involved.
  •          The school and community where the child would reside.
  •          Which parent the child would like to live with.

In some cases, the judge may send an evaluator to look at both living environments and determine which would be best for the child.