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How do Michigan courts determine a child’s best interests?

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2022 | Blog, Child Custody |

Most of the issues you face during your divorce involve reaching an agreement that is fair to both you and your spouse. However, matters involving custody and parenting time also have to be fair to your child.

Michigan courts use the child’s best interests to determine a fair parenting time arrangement. The Child Custody Act of 1970 provides a definition of the best interests of the child. Here are a few of the provisions it includes that may apply to your case.

Environmental stability

The court checks to make sure that you can provide for your child’s basic daily needs, such as food and clothing. You also need to be able to provide stable housing and to offer the child the benefit of being part of a larger community.

Emotional needs

In addition to meeting your child’s physical needs, you also need to meet his or her emotional needs for affection, guidance and love. If applicable, this includes continuing to raise your child in his or her religion or creed.

History of damaging influences

The court investigates whether you or your spouse has ever exposed your child to any damaging influences, such as substance abuse or domestic violence. Such influences do not need to have affected your child directly. For example, the court may consider domestic violence between you and your spouse to be a damaging influence even if there was no violence against the child. It is sufficient if your child witnessed the violence.

The law allows the court to consider any other factor that it considers relevant to your child custody proceedings.