Does Infidelity Affect Child Custody in Michigan?
Adultery is one of many situations that might lead you to divorce your spouse. While some couples are able to move beyond infidelity and repair the relationship, others cannot or simply do not want to try. There is no correct response to cheating; if you find yourself in such a situation, you will need to decide whether it is time to end your marriage.
Suppose that you do choose to divorce an unfaithful spouse with whom you have children in common. In that case, the court will decide with whom the children will primarily reside and the amount of support the non-residential parent will pay.
It is possible that your ex’s unfaithfulness is what led to the end of your marriage. As a result, you may be disheartened to learn that their infidelity is unlikely to affect the court’s decisions regarding child custody.
How a Michigan Court Makes Child Custody Determinations
There is one guiding principle the court is supposed to look out for when choosing the parent your child will reside with after the divorce: the best interests of the child. That said, Michigan law does give courts a list of factors to consider when deciding where your child should live, and this list includes the “moral fitness” of each parent.
While a penchant for cheating may make your ex a bad partner, that does not necessarily reflect their ability to be a good and loving parent. Moreover, without some additional evidence to the contrary, courts will typically assume that it is in your child’s best interests to have an ongoing relationship with your ex.
Thus, while infidelity may be grounds for a divorce and affect whether you receive any spousal support, it is not likely to carry much weight in matters of child custody and visitation issues.
When Your Ex’s Affair Could Matter for Child Custody Purposes
It’s true that your ex-partner’s unfaithfulness may not have much bearing on a child custody decision. However, there may be aspects of this relationship that a court would consider relevant to your child’s best interests.
For example, suppose that the illicit relationship your ex participated in involved physical abuse on one side or the other. This circumstance would give most judges pause when deciding whether that is the sort of environment in which your child should be placed. Illegal drug use in the relationship can also be persuasive to a court. In addition, if your ex intends to live with their new partner, the court would consider the safety of that location in their decision.
Experienced Assistance with Michigan Child Custody Issues
If you are divorcing and are concerned about where your child will live or about your ex’s access to your child, you should not delay getting legal help. Reach out and speak to Gucciardo Family Law today. We will work hard to investigate your circumstances and then use our advocacy skills to help you and the court protect your child’s best interests.
Too much information?
We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.