Getting Custody of Your Kids (Part 2)

There are many factors to consider when petitioning the court for custody of your children.


In part one of this series on gaining custody of your children, we looked at how a custody agreement is usually reached, and what the court considers important when changing custody agreements. Moving on, we’re going to look at what determining factors the court uses to make custody decisions.


First, a Friend of the Court hearing will take place. A judge, magistrate, or referee will usually be the person in charge. The hearing will provide an opportunity for both parents to give testimony.  Also, testimony may be provided by others, including family members, teachers or caregivers, and any expert witnesses hired for that purpose.


Also, evidence will be reviewed at this time, if there is any. Evidence can include school records, medical records, a psychological evaluation (if one was performed) and any other relevant documents. It’s important to note that the court can only view these documents if consent has been provided by both parents, or if the records are admitted into evidence under the Michigan Rules of Evidence.


In deciding how to assign custody of a child, there are a number of factors that the court takes into account. Obviously, the “best interests of the child” supersedes everything else. But there are twelve specific factors that can affect the court’s decision, too. 


The 12 factors considered by the court in determining child custody:


  • The love, affection, and emotional ties between the child and the parents
  • The involvement of each parent in the day-to-day life of the child
  • The ability and willingness of each parent to meet the child’s basic physical and medical needs
  • The safety and security of each parent’s home
  • The permanence and stability of each parent’s home
  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The home history and school record of the child while in each parent’s home
  • The preference of the child (age permitting)
  • The willingness of the parents to support a relationship between the child and each other
  • A history of abuse or domestic violence exposure
  • Any other factors that may affect the “best interests of the child” in determining custody


It is important to remember, however, that every case is unique. Brandy Thompson, one of our most sought after family law attorneys here at the firm, suggests that parents keep in mind that not all factors are weighed equally and not all factors are relevant in each case.


We hope this has been helpful in giving you a rough overview of what the court is going to consider important when it comes to child custody. However, while internet advice can be helpful, we highly recommend that if you are considering a change in your custody agreement, you contact an experienced family law attorney today to discuss your case. Especially when you are faced with emotionally difficult issues like custody.


I went through my child custody case with open eyes believing that the courts would see the truth, but I was wrong. As a college graduate and current masters student I thought I could handle this on my own. I tried everything I could, filed motions, co-parented, begged for explanations and I got nothing. I felt lost, stressed, helpless, alone and backed into a corner. So after a heartbreaking moment I finally decided to seek help and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. When I met Stephanie she changed everything for me. She helped me in ways I never thought was possible going above and beyond what I ever expected a lawyer to do in order help me feel safe. Although I'm still in the process of my case I can say with an open heart and clear mind that having her assistance has changed my life. She puts my daughter first and I will be forever grateful for that. For the first time since this whole court mess started I finally feel like I can breath again and it's amazing. I would highly suggest this brilliant woman to anyone. So if you're considering getting a lawyer, or considering this it. They will absolutely help you in any way they can. I know they did for me.

Malinda on Google, 2016