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Do Michigan courts consider children’s wishes in custody cases?

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2023 | Child Custody

Child custody is a deeply sensitive aspect of a divorce or separation. Nevertheless, it is essential for you to navigate this matter with empathy and understanding to ensure your child’s overall well-being. This involves knowing how courts decide on custody.

In Michigan, courts consider and evaluate several factors, such as a child’s emotional ties with each parent and each parent’s capacity to love, care and provide for their child. These factors guide judges to determine what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interests.

Children’s voices do matter

While not all states explicitly include it as a factor for their custody decision-making, a child’s preference is clearly listed as a consideration under Michigan’s child custody laws. However, a child’s wishes can only be part of the custody evaluation if the court finds that the child involved is of sufficient age to express their preference.

But what qualifies as “sufficient age”? It depends on each case and each judge’s discretion. Some states presume 14-year-old children are of sufficient age to have intelligible preferences, while others might find a nine-year-old mature enough to make intelligent decisions. Usually, however, courts look into the child’s maturity level in terms of understanding how the custody results will affect them, among others.

Only one part of a whole

Considering a child’s preference in custody cases is one way to make them feel involved and heard. Nevertheless, it is only one of the many factors courts consider. It is important to incorporate your child’s voice in the process but still maintaining their expectations.

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