Determining Physical Custody: What are “Best Interest” Factors?
One of the most common complications arising from divorce is determining custody, both legal and physical. Even amicable ex-spouses can become protective of their children when it comes time to determine the custody arrangement.
Michigan family law courts are deeply concerned with the rights of minors, seeking to place all children in the most stable household possible. In a large majority of cases, both parents are deemed suitable for 50/50 custody arrangements, which allows children the opportunity to split their time equally between both parents’ homes.
However, there are a variety of “best interest” factors that are taken into account before a custody arrangement is decided.
“Best Interest” Factors
The list of “best interest” factors used to determine physical custody is fairly comprehensive. There are 12 in all; They range from factors involving emotional family ties to parental disposition to income level and everything in between.
Moral fitness is taken into consideration, and parents are evaluated based on their character. If one parent has had an extramarital affair or struggled with addiction, they might be deemed less suitable as a custodian.
Of course, these are complex and nuanced ethical situations to navigate. With the proper legal assistant, a parent with a complicated history can still fight for the ability to share custody with their child.
While the best-case scenario is often a 50/50 custody arrangement, this is not always advisable or even plausible. In cases where abuse and endangerment are likely, one parent can fight for sole custody and make a strong advocacy case for the safety of their child or children.
Furthermore, have some input into which parent they want to live with, and their opinion will be taken into consideration by the family law courts.
If you are in a custody battle, it can be terribly painful. Whether you are the parent fighting to ensure a child doesn’t end up living in a potentially abusive or neglectful household, or the parent trying to prove that their past history of addiction is under control, you deserve the right to reputable legal counsel from a Grand Rapids divorce attorney.