In the event that the parents of child cannot reach a mutual agreement regarding the custody of their child after divorce or separation, courts in Michigan will allocate the custody rights and responsibilities based upon the best interests of the child.

What factors are used in determining the child’s primary residence?

In order to determine the child’s best interest, custody placement will be based the following factors for analysis:
• Existing emotional ties between the child and each parent
• The child’s record involving school, home, and community involvement
• Moral fitness of the parties involved, including previous criminal charges
• Each parent’s willingness to facilitate a continuing relationship with the other parent
• Previous instances of domestic violence, abuse, or kidnapping (including those instances not directly involving the child but which they have witnessed)
• The financial and economic capability of each parent to provide basic necessities for the child

Are there any other considerations I should be aware of? 

Yes, the public policy of the state of Michigan is to encourage joint custody if at all possible before awarding one parent full custody of the child. However, if the court decides that joint custody is not in the child’s interest, they will consider the factors mentioned above.

Also, unlike other states, Michigan does allow parents to present information regarding their financial status when presenting an argument for full custody.

What Happens After the Court Has Made a Decision?

Once the judge has made a decision as to the custody arrangements, the order will be signed and filed with a court clerk to be kept in the court records for future reference.
In the event of a violation of the custody order, the violating parent may become subject to civil or even criminal consequences, which can include fines and/or a modification of the agreement. Both parents will be bound by the child custody order.

Do I need to Consult with a Michigan Lawyer for my Custody Issues?

Since Michigan encourages joint custody, it is highly recommended that you hire a lawyer, who can represent you as you negotiate and discuss with the other party. A child custody lawyer will be able to inform and update you regarding the various Michigan laws governing child custody orders.