Family court judges in Michigan consider a wide range of factors when determining child custody orders. The goal is to create a custody arrangement that promotes the children’s best interests.
Parents who are contemplating divorce in Michigan can benefit from understanding how custody orders work and which considerations can complicate decisions.
Parenting time rights
In most cases, Michigan family courts strive to grant both parents time with their children. Physical custody can be divided in different ways. Sometimes, one parent has sole custody, but the other has a set amount of parenting time. Also, parents can have joint custody, and children spend approximately equal time in each household. During a divorce, parents can try to reach an agreement regarding custody through negotiation or mediation. Family court judges can also issue custody orders if the parties cannot agree.
Best interests and safety
Custody orders should prioritize children’s needs. For example, in cases involving domestic violence or substance abuse, judges can restrict parenting time to protect children. Custody disputes that involve abuse can be especially complex.
In addition, courts consider the children’s home life, school and community when determining custody. Family court judges examine the children’s distinct care needs and the ability of each parent to meet those requirements. Depending on the age and maturity of the children, their preferences can impact rulings. Finally, judges factor in emotional ties and affection when creating child custody orders.
Divorce can be especially difficult for parents. Although custody cases are complex, family court judges aim to develop custody arrangements that benefit children.