Michigan uses several criteria to determine child custody. In Michigan, parents are encouraged to jointly reach an agreement on child custody. However, a judge will decide custody if necessary. Primarily, the state of Michigan determines child custody based on the best interests of the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Michigan should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.
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Best Interests of Child
A court in Michigan uses several factors to determine a child's best interests. Those factors include:
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Any history of domestic violence
- The child's preference, if the child is of a sufficient age and maturity level to make a reasonable decision (generally age 12 or older)
- Each parent's willingness to communicate and encourage a relationship between the child and the child's other parent
- The length of time the child has lived in a loving and stable environment
- Each parent's ability to provide for the child's needs, including food, shelter, and medical care
- The child's home, school, and community record
Modification of Child Custody in Michigan
A court in Michigan will only modify a child custody order if there is clear and convincing evidence that there has been a meaningful change of circumstances and a modification of custody will serve the best interests of the child.
Relocation and Child Custody in Michigan
In Michigan, a parent entitled to custody or visitation may either move from the state of Michigan or 100 miles from the parent's current location only if the parent obtains permission from a family court judge, unless:
- The child's other parent agrees to the move
- The judge granted sole custody to one parent
- The parents were already living 100 miles apart prior to the intended relocation
- The move would allow the child's parent's residences to be closer than they were prior to the move
If a judge or parent approves a move, the relocating parent must provide the court with:
- The parent's new address, and
- A revised visitation/custody schedule
If a judge must approve a move, the relocating parent should be prepared to provide valid reasons for the move, including but not limited to better employment or being closer to family members.
For more information about child custody in Michigan, speak with a qualified attorney in Michigan or refer to the Michigan Child Custody Act.