On Your Side. Always.

Does a child’s opinion matter in a Michigan custody case?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Child Custody |

When it comes to custody disputes, many wonder if a child’s opinion about where to live holds weight in court proceedings. Michigan law does consider a child’s preference regarding custodial arrangements. However, it is just one of many factors considered by the court.

While the child’s opinion may carry weight, it is ultimately up to the court to make decisions that serve the best interests of the child.

Consideration of the child’s preference

In custody cases, the court may consider a child’s preference about where to live, especially if the child is old enough and mature enough to express a reasoned opinion. The court may consider the child’s age, maturity level and ability to articulate preferences when determining how much weight the child’s opinion carries. However, the court does not have to follow the child’s wishes and will consider other factors as well.

Best interests of the child standard

The overarching principle guiding custody decisions is the best interests of the child. The court considers various factors, including the child’s emotional and physical well-being and the ability of each parent to provide a stable and nurturing environment. The child’s relationship with each parent and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse may also come into play. While the child’s preference is one factor among many, the court prioritizes the child’s best interests when making custody determinations.

By prioritizing the child’s well-being and considering a range of factors, courts aim to make custody determinations that promote the child’s health, safety and overall welfare.