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Factors Affecting the Child’s Best Interests in Custody Cases

When deciding issues involving child custody courts must make findings on certain factors regarding the child’s best interests. Michigan statutory law requires consideration of eleven specific factors when making determinations affecting child custody.

Statutory Factors

Under Michigan’s Compiled Laws, § 722.23 courts must evaluate certain factors when determining issues related to child custody.

The statutory factors for determining the child’s best interest include:

  • Love and emotional ties between the parties and their child
  • The parties’ ability to love the child and provide affection and guidance
  • The ability to provide the child with food, clothing, health care
  • How long a child has lived in a stable environment
  • The permanence of the family unit in the proposed custodial home
  • The parties’ mental and physical health
  • The home, school, and community of the child
  • The child’s reasonable preferences
  • The moral fitness of a parent
  • The willingness of the parties to facilitate a child-parent relationship with the opposing party
  • History of domestic violence
  • Other factors the court deems relevant

Applying the Best Interest Factors

Although the court is required to examine all statutory factors, it is not necessary to assess each factor with equal weight. For example, although the love and emotional ties between the parties and their child are likely to be present with both parents, the consistent attention and affection exhibited by one parent may be relevant in assessing a different weight to this analysis. It is common that many of these factors will be determined to be equal. In other cases, certain factors won’t apply—such as when there have been no issues of violence, substance abuse or mental illness. Without some of these extraordinary factors being present, custody and parenting time is frequently awarded to create a situation that is the least disruptive to the child’s routine as possible once the parents separate. Likewise, even if there are issues of mental of physical health are involved, they will only weigh in the court’s decision is they factor into a party’s ability to care for the child. So, for instance, if a party has a history of mental health issues that have been treated with therapy or medication and that person is otherwise a good parent, that issue won’t necessarily be counted against her.

Get Professional Advice from the American Divorce Association for Men

Need professional advice regarding the legal implications of child custody determinations? If so, look no further than the American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM). At ADAM, we understand the challenges husbands and fathers face when dealing with issues of divorce, including gender bias in Michigan’s court systems. We are committed to ensuring that you and your family’s legal rights and interests are not infringed through such bias. Father’s rights are children’s rights at the end of the day, as every child deserves the chance to be raised by both parents regardless of a divorce. The first step in protecting yourself and your children is to contact us to understand the law before you take action.

To consult one of our professional advocates, call ADAM at (248) 327-0050 contact us online today.

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