Figuring out custody during a divorce is rarely a fun experience. Every now and again a couple comes along who’s willing to set aside their grievances and work together for the better of their kids, but not often. In most cases, it’s a fight, full of resentment, bitterness, and sometimes even false allegations.
Parents have been known to lie about one another, hoping to skew the court’s perspective and gain an advantage in their custody proceedings. Many parents over the years have used the other parent’s mistakes or moments of weakness as a bargaining tool during the custody battle. Which is why it’s so important to be careful during and after your divorce, about what info you make public. Because the strangest things could affect how a judge determines your ‘moral’ firness’
How can your behavior affect the outcome of your custody agreement?
Every time a Michigan family judge has to evaluate a custody case to determine which parent should have what time and for how long, that decision is always made based on what the court thinks is in the best interest of the child. To help the judge make the right decisions, there’s a standardized list of twelve ‘best interest factors’ they refer to. And one of those factors is ‘moral fitness’.
So what exactly is ‘moral fitness?’ This is a difficult subject because moral fitness, by its very definition, is subjective. That means it’s often based purely on the opinion of the person making the judgment. However, from the court’s perspective, the definition is a more general understanding of the term ‘moral fitness’ and not a judgment of specific acts and behaviors. Although that can factor in as well!
How do Judges figure out if your ‘moral fitness’ is up to par?
There are many things that a Judge considers when making this determination, but there are also factors that never come into the equation. For example, personal or religious beliefs don’t come into it, unless they’re harmful to a child. What does get taken into account though, is your actions, behaviors, and choices, which are considered indicators of your moral fitness as a parent. These include:
- Whether or not you have a criminal record, how recently the conviction happened, and what it was for,
- Whether or not you introduced your children to a new partner before your divorce was final,
- Any substance abuse problems you may have, including alcoholism or drug abuse,
- Whether or not you have a history of domestic violence,
- Whether or not there are any prior allegations of child abuse or neglect that have ever been made against you,
- What your driving record looks like – a poor driving record can be an indicator of poor impulse control or temper control issues, and
- Whether or not you regularly use foul language in front of your kids, which is also considered to be an indicator of a person with low moral character
You’re not going to be expected to be a perfect parent!
If you’re worried about the Judge thinking you’re a bad parent because your home isn’t immaculate, or because your kids get cavities, give yourself a break. No one is perfect, and no parent would ever be expected to meet unattainable standards. What matters most is that parents are able to provide their children with safe, loving environments and good examples to look up to.
However, if your ex has lied about you to the court, or made false allegations in an effort to affect the custody agreement, you’ve got an upward battle on your hands. Fighting false allegations of abuse is serious, and requires a skilled and experienced family law attorney. If this sounds like your situation, call The Kronzek Firm right now at 866 766 5245 and let us help you. We have a long track record of success, and we can make a difference.