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Child Custody In Michigan

Cases with minor children raise a number of questions for parents. How do I get custody and where will the children live are the first couple of questions presented to a family law attorney. The difference between physical custody and legal custody is a frequent question for family law attorneys.

What is the difference between physical custody and legal custody?

Legal custody is the authority to make important decisions regarding the welfare of the child. The parent or parents that has legal custody will make important decisions regarding the children’s health care, education, religious affiliation, and day to day welfare. Legal custody can be awarded as sole legal custody or joint legal custody.

Physical custody focuses on where the child spends most of their time. Physical custody and a child’s established custodial environment are closely related to each other. The established custody environment is determined by looking to which parent the children have looked to for guidance, discipline, necessities in life, and parental comfort. 

If the parents cannot agree on custody the court will determine the appropriate custody arrangment by looking at what is in the best interest of the children. The court will make this determination by considering the best interest factors and rule on every factor before making a custody determination.


What are the best interest factors?

The best interest factors used by Michigan family court are found in MCL 722.23:

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.

(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.

(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.

(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents. A court may not consider negatively for the purposes of this factor any reasonable action taken by a parent to protect a child or that parent from sexual assault or domestic violence by the child's other parent.

(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

Free Consultation with a Michigan Child Custody Attorney

If you have a custody dispute and have concerns regarding your rights as a parent, call the Klich Law Firm to schedule a confidential meeting with a child custody attorney to discuss your rights. The Klich Law Firm handles child custody cases in all of Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County and Genesse County. 

Speak with an attorney now: 248-978-3327

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