It has literally been intoned a million times, with its utterance underscoring what judges in Michigan and across the county view as a bedrock legal principle where children are concerned.
That is this: Any outcome affecting children in a family law matter must promote their best interests.
What mom and dad want and say is important in a disputed divorce is of course important and will be considered by a court. Parental interests are preempted in any judicial determination, though, by reasoned assessment of what result is best for the kids.
One in-depth legal overview notes that the best-interest standard is especially relevant in a custody/visitation matter. That primer duly stresses that, “A child’s best interest is paramount in every custody case.”
Analysis of what optimally benefits a couple’s kids understandably hinges in many cases on scrutiny of multiple – and often interrelated – factors. Reference to Michigan’s Child Custody Act readily confirms that, laying out a number of statutory markers that should commonly be considered to guide a court’s best-interest ruling. They include the following:
- Parent’s ability to protect and nurture a child
- Ability to secure a stable and predictable environment
- Parental promotion of moral values, educational/social activities and other life-enhancing opportunities
- History of family violence
- Evidence of substance abuse
The above overview spotlights that last bullet point, noting closest judicial scrutiny of a home environment marked by substance-linked issues. It emphasizes that “an ongoing addiction to drugs or alcohol can certainly affect a parent’s ability to care for a child.”
Parental rights, duties and limitations can easily come under a proverbial microscope in a custody matter involving alleged substance abuse. Questions or concerns might reasonably be directed to a proven family law legal team.