Nearly every citizen of the United States is at least familiar with child custody, the legal determination of how divorced or otherwise unmarried parents spend time with their children, but not everyone knows the specific laws of a given state. As with many laws, there are important differences regarding particular aspects of the law, and child custody in Michigan is no different.
In some states, child custody is not even called custody. It is instead referred to as conservatorship. Some states lean more toward joint custody unless it is not in the best interests of the child, while other states observe all of the factors without any presumptions. In certain states, the parents are required to submit parenting plans, while in others, the courts simply determine child custody with very little input from the parents.
One thing that all states agree on is that whatever custody arrangement is determined; it will be done with the best interests of the child in mind. This is the primary doctrine under which Michigan law operates, and the law observes the moral character of the parents, the needs of the child and much more in order to make a decision. Additionally, the desires of the child may be taken into account if the child is deemed to be of a sufficient age and maturity.
It is important to note that what is in the best interests of the child may include joint custody, even if one of the parents does not necessarily want joint custody. If one parent requests the option and the courts believe that the parents can cooperate well enough, then joint custody may be considered.
If you live in Michigan and you are going through a divorce or have questions about child custody, consider enlisting the aid of an attorney. An attorney who is familiar with Michigan law can help you understand all of the precedents and presumptions that are likely to go into your case, giving you a better idea of what to prepare for with child custody matters.