If you are negotiating custody with your ex, you may be wondering how custody will be determined. Whether you work out an agreement with your child’s other parent and then seek court approval or ask the court to make the decision, there are certain factors that must be considered.
Factors to determine custody
Michigan courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining child custody arrangements. These best interests are determined by looking at the following factors:
- Age, health, and needs of the child.
- Age, health, and income of each parent.
- Ability and willingness of each parent to raise the child.
- Relationship between child and each parent prior to separation.
- Child’s connection to their current community and school.
- Child’s relationships with siblings, and extended family.
- Ability and willingness of parents to cooperate with each other to raise the child.
Shared custody often preferred by courts
Separating from your child’s parent can be extremely difficult. You may want to spend as much time as possible with your child and you may even think you would do a better job caring for your child than your ex. However, unless your child’s other parent is a danger to the child’s wellbeing, judges generally encourage both parents to stay involved in the child’s upbringing through a shared custody arrangement.
If joint physical and legal custody is awarded, both parents will have parenting time, or time spent with the child, and will be able to make decisions relating to the child’s upbringing. However, even the most cordial parents will likely not be able to agree on everything when it comes to the child. That is why the child custody agreement should also include a process for parents to follow to resolve these disputes.