4 Things a Judge Considers for Child Custody in Michigan
When there is a question regarding the custody of a child, a judge will consider many factors before reaching a decision. There are some Michigan statutes that provide guidance on custody decisions.
For instance, the Michigan Child Custody Act assumes that it is best when children have significant relationships with both parents. The courts will try to balance many different considerations when determining what is in the best interests of the child.
4 Factors Considered in Child Custody Cases
When determining the outcome of a child custody case, a judge knows no two circumstances are exactly alike. The courts will take many elements of the situation into account, and no single factor is guaranteed to determine the outcome of the case.
Many elements will influence the judge’s decision. The factor that is considered most important will vary from case to case. The following are the most common factors a judge takes into consideration:
#1 – Current Relationships
The child’s current emotional ties to the adults involved is a crucial factor. The court assumes that it is important for children to have strong relationships with parents whenever possible.
This does not only rely on the feelings of the child. A judge will also consider the ability (or inability) of the adults to give the child guidance, affection, and care. The emotional relationships that already exist between the child and the adults are an important factor in any child custody case.
#2 – Ability to Provide
A judge will also consider who can best provide for the material needs of the child. This is a unique component that doesn’t always correlate with whether the adult can provide connection and emotional care.
For instance, a child may enjoy spending time with their father, but their mother more regularly provides things that the child needs. This type of dynamic can change the outcome of a custody case.
A judge will likely try to answer the following questions during child custody hearings:
- Who is able to provide a safe and secure home environment?
- Who can take the child to doctor’s visits?
- What is the earning capacity of the adults involved?
- Who purchases things that the child needs (food, clothes, etc.)?
- Which parent handles any special needs?
- Who provides the child with health insurance?
Making sure the child has material security is only one part of deciding what is best for the child.
#3 – The Child’s Home and School Record
The judge will also examine how each parent supports the child at home and at school. For instance, does one parent consistently attend teacher conferences? Does one parent help the child with homework more than the other?
The answers to questions like these can help the courts determine how each parent contributes to the child’s success at home and at school.
#4 – Judge’s Discretion
Finally, each child custody case will be determined by any unique circumstances that the judge considers relevant. These may include:
- Reliability of each parent to visit with the child
- Relationships with stepparents or other adults
- The number of children involved in the case
- Any special needs the child has
Ultimately, each child custody case is different. Judges will use their discretion to protect the interests of the child.
Speak with a Qualified Family Attorney
If you need legal assistance with questions regarding child custody, speak with a legal professional. The premier family lawyers at Gucciardo Family Law have plenty of experience with child custody cases.
Our team of attorneys works hard for the best interests of our clients and their families. Call the friendly staff at Gucciardo Family Law today to schedule your free initial consultation.
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