What can I expect in a child custody agreement in Michigan?

While Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, having children with your spouse can complicate matters. The standard 60-day period extends to six months to give you time to come to an agreement regarding child custody. The court wants to make sure you and your spouse have time to spend with your children in the majority of circumstances.

The Michigan Custody Guideline by the State Court Administrative Office encourages parents “to , reach their own agreements regarding custody arrangements.” The court will step in when you cannot come to an agreement, but it is better to come to terms with your spouse on when and how to see your children. The court understands that both you and your spouse have an emotional tie including affection and love for your mutual children.

The court takes into consideration your physical and mental health, moral fitness, emotional ability to love your child and the ability to provide for the needs of the child such as food and shelter. The child may be able to denote preference at a certain age and choose to live with you or your spouse. The court does take your child’s preference into consideration although they cannot legally choose until they are 18 years old.

Before you see a judge, the friend of the court office makes a recommendation and provides a written report to the court, your spouse and you during disputes over child custody arrangements. The evaluator looks at the same things a judge would such as home record, school record and community record for your child before making a recommendation. If you cannot reach an acceptable agreement with your spouse, a judge makes the final choice.