What Are the 12 Factors of the Best Interests of a Child Rule?
The 12 best interest factors outlined in the Act are:
- The emotional ties, including love and affection, between the child and each parent;
- The ability and the willingness of each parent to give the child love, guidance, and affection, including the continuation of the education and raising of the child in a particular creed or religion, if any exists;
- The ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with medical care, clothing, food, and other necessities and material needs;
- The length of time the child has resided in a satisfactory, stable environment and the desire to maintain continuity;
- The longevity of the family unit in the proposed or existing custodial home;
- Each parent's moral fitness;
- The physical and mental health of each parent;
- The community, school, and home, record of the child;
- The reasonable preference of the child for custodial residence (in the court's discretion);
- The ability and willingness of each parent to encourage and facilitate a continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent;
- Domestic abuse or violence, regardless of whether the domestic violence or abuse was directed at or witnessed by the child; and,
- Any other factor that the court may consider to be relevant to the child custody dispute.
Can a Parent's Home Be Considered as a Factor in a Custody Case?
The last factor allows the court to consider any other relevant information that could impact a child's best interest, including where each parent lives. In some custody cases, parents may contest the other parent's living conditions. In those cases, the friend of the court who conducts the custody evaluation for the court may conduct a home inspection. Home inspections may be scheduled with the parents or may be unannounced. The friend of the court includes relevant information from the home study in the report and recommendation to the judge.
Therefore, where a parent lives could impact a custody decision. For example, if a parent resides with a roommate that is of the opposite sex not related by blood or marriage and not in a relationship with the parent, the court may take into consideration whether the home may be appropriate for the child. Likewise, if the home is dangerous or hazardous to the child because it requires repairs, the judge may also consider this fact when deciding custody.
Contact a Michigan Family Law Attorney for More Information
If you believe that the living arrangements for your child's other parent could be detrimental to your child or pose a serious risk, you should discuss your concerns with a Michigan family law attorney. Contact Michigan divorce attorney Cameron C. Goulding to discuss your options. You may have grounds to contest the living conditions of the other parent so that the judge can consider the residence when determining custody and visitation matters.