If we had a nickel for every time we heard a parent say “I want custody of my kids,” the floor of our office building would probably have collapsed under the weight of all those coins. Parents are parents. They don’t want to give up their kids, if they can possible help it. And who could blame them? Which is what makes so many custody situations so critical.
The number of parents who struggle with being shut out of their children’s lives, either by a vindictive ex or by a Judge who couldn’t see the full picture, is heartbreaking. But if that’s your situation, then we would like to remind you that all is not lost! Just because you don’t have the custody arrangement you want right now, doesn’t mean that you can’t have it at some point in the future.
However, if you want to change the custody agreement you have, it takes more than just wanting and wishing. There’s a lot involved, so let’s take a look at what that means for you. Assuming, of course, that your ex isn’t a violent child abuser with multiple provable substance abuse issues, you may well have quite a task ahead of you.
In Michigan, the family courts make all decisions that affect children, with the ‘child’s best interest’ as their pivotal deciding factor. If it looks like it would be better for your child to come and live with you, and your attorney can prove this to the court, then there’s a very good chance that your kid will be moving into your home at some point in the not too distant future. But that isn’t always the case.
The court doesn’t award custody of kids simply because you want it.
If living with their other parent isn’t actually bad for your child, then chances are the court is highly unlikely to give your child exclusively to you, and force your ex out of the picture. It is the current belief of Michigan family courts that a relationship with both parents, where possible, is the best option for a child. So regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, that’s the most likely scenario. But for a parent who only has visitation rights, even joint custody can sound like a dream come true.
Obviously, if you and your ex are able to come to some kind of reasonable agreement about how custody rights should be divided, the court will likely honor that. In fact, the court is more likely to support a custody arrangement that the parents made together, as long as you are both happy with it, and it appears to be good for your child.
But if you aren’t able to work together, the court will step in and decide on your behalf how the custody arrangement should be set up. They do this using the Michigan Child Custody Act‘s twelve ‘best interests of the child’ factors.
Join us next time as we look at what those 12 factors are that influence a court’s decision on how to assign custody of a child. However, if you need help with a custody arrangement or dispute, contact us at 517 886 1000. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you.