As a parent, you probably have significant concerns about how the process of divorce will affect your children. You understand that your decision to end your marriage will bring changes to their everyday lives, possibly including where they live, where they go to school, how often they see their parents and more. Like other Michigan parents, you want to ensure that your children have as much stability and security as possible during this time.
There are several factors that a court may consider when making custody decisions. You and the other parent have the right to work on a custody and visitation order outside of court, negotiating terms based on your unique needs and the interests of your kids. However, in the event that this is not possible in your situation, you can benefit from understanding what factors the courts consider when making custody and visitation decisions.
The best interests of the kids
In every custody decision, the main priority is the best interests of the kids above all else. The court will make decisions based on what will provide the children with the most security and continuity of lifestyle. While every situation is different, family courts typically take the following into consideration:
- Ages, maturity levels and wishes of the children
- Mental and physical state of each parent
- Quality of the relationship the child has with each parent
- Which parent has provided the majority of the child’s care up to this point
- Allegations or evidence of abuse or neglect
- Willingness of parents to work together
- Conditions of each parent’s home
These factors and others could play a significant role in the access you have to your child in the future. You have the right to pursue a specific outcome, providing evidence that supports your claims and fighting for what you believe will be best for your children in the immediate aftermath of the divorce and well into the future.
The rights of parents?
It is possible to seek custody terms that both respect your parental rights and allow your children to have a strong relationship with each parent after a divorce is final. It may be helpful to seek an understanding of the legal options available to you and the steps you can take that will allow you to effectively pursue an outcome that is reasonable and sustainable for every member of the family.