Child Custody Frequently Asked Questions

How does the court determine what is in the best interest of my children in a child custody case?

The court will examine a number of factors, including who the children are living with at the time the custody determination is made, the children’s historical relationship with each of the parents, and each of the parents’ ability to care for the children. See the Child Custody section of our website for a more detailed explanation of the Best Interest factors.

What are the different types of child custody?

There are two types of child custody in Michigan:

Legal custody – the parents share decision-making authority in important decisions affecting their children and must consult with each other to reach joint parental decisions.

Physical custody – who physically raises the child, and where the child physically resides.

My husband and I are separated, and he moved to another state. He has filed for divorce and custody in his state. What do I do?

If your spouse has moved to another state and filed for divorce and child custody, he would first have to meet residency requirements in that state in order to file. Each state has different laws. If he does not meet all requirements necessary to file, you would be able to contest both the divorce and the custody proceeding. It would be in your best interest to contact an experienced child custody attorney at Paul J. Tafelski, PC to discuss your options. Do not waste time. You may have an opportunity to challenge jurisdiction which will be lost if you wait. It is a great disadvantage to fight your divorce from a different state.

May I withhold visitation because my spouse will not pay child support?

Child support and visitation are two separate issues. A person cannot withhold visitation if child support is not being paid. If the court has ordered visitation, an attempt to violate the court orders could result in contempt. The proper way to deal with this is to file a motion with the court for contempt or enforcement of the order.

Are mothers more likely to be awarded custody over fathers?

The mother usually receives custody because she is the homemaker who cares for the children. Historically, the father is earning a living for the family and as such, does not spend as much time with the children. Also, some judges are biased against fathers and for mothers. However, with proper legal representation, the father may have just as much chance of gaining custody of the children as the mother. It would be a mistake to assume that the mother always gets physical custody. Contact the custody lawyers at Paul. J. Tafelski, P.C. today to discuss your case.

What factors do courts take into account when deciding who gets custody of the children?

A court gives the “best interests of the child” the highest priority when deciding custody issues. What the best interests of a child are in a given situation depends upon many factors, including:

  • the child’s age, gender, mental and physical health
  • the mental and physical health of the parents
  • the lifestyle and other social factors of the parents, including whether the child is exposed to second-hand smoke and whether there is any history of child abuse
  • the love and emotional ties between the parent and the child
  • the parent’s ability to provide the child with food, shelter, clothing and medical care
  • the child’s established living pattern (school, home, community, religious institution)
  • the quality of the schools attended by the children
  • the child’s preference, if the child is above a certain age (usually about 12), and
  • the ability and willingness of the parent to foster healthy communication and contact between the child and the other parent.

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