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Im In A Much Better Place Now But How Might My Past Affect My Custody Rights

I’m in a much better place now, but how might my past affect my custody rights?

No one claims to have a perfect past. At some point in life, we all make mistakes; it’s part of being human. However, when you’re in the middle of a heated child custody battle, you better believe that the other side will bring up your previous indiscretions in an attempt to get the judge to rule in their favor.

In the state of Michigan, the courts believe that it is generally in the best interest of the child to have a close relationship with both parents. The judge hearing your case will consider several factors to determine child custody and parenting time (visitation) schedules.

The Michigan Child Act of 1970

According to the Michigan Child Act of 1970, section 722.23, the courts may weigh the following 12 factors when ruling in a child custody hearing:

  • The emotional ties between the parties and the children involved in the case.
  • The capacity of both parties to provide a child with proper love, affection, and guidance.
  • The capacity of both parties to provide food, shelter, and medical care for the child, along with other material needs.
  • The ability of either party to provide the child with a stable, healthy environment on a continuing basis.
  • The permanence of the proposed custodial home.
  • The moral fitness of both parties in the case.
  • The mental and physical health of both parties and how these conditions might affect their ability to care for the child.
  • The child’s preference, assuming the child is of sufficient age to express a preference as determined by the court.
  • The willingness of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Domestic violence in the relationship.
  • Any other factors the court determines to be relevant to the child custody dispute.

How to Handle Discussions About My Past in Court

The judge overseeing your custody hearing will not expect you to be perfect. However, they will closely examine any indiscretions related to instances of domestic violence, DUI or drug offense convictions, and other serious crimes.

If any of these situations have occurred in your past, it’s best to come clean to the judge and explain the circumstances in detail. More importantly, you’ll want to avoid making excuses and focus on what you learned from that experience.

Let the judge know how you plan to use that experience to improve yourself and improve the lives of your children so that they don’t make the same mistakes. You will also need to be able to articulate to the judge how you are going to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

It’s best to be as honest and forthcoming as possible. Otherwise, you could further damage your credibility. The court needs to see what actions you’re taking to better your life.

Initially, the judge could rule that you are only allowed to have supervised visitation. It may take a few weeks, months, or years to earn the judge’s trust. However, as long as you are being productive and making progress, you will eventually get to be a part of your kids’ lives again.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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