One of the most difficult parts of a Michigan divorce is discussing the process and changes with the parties’ children. While parents may feel confident that ending their relationships is necessary to protecting their futures, children may feel worried and confused by the major changes happening in their lives. To help kids work through the challenges of divorce, courts seek to protect their best interests when establishing custody and parenting plans.

Every child has different needs, and courts look at many factors to determine how best to serve them through post-divorce planning. This blog does not offer any legal advice. Its intent is to inform readers of some of the important considerations that courts weigh when preparing custody determinations for divorce-affected kids.

Child custody factors: Evaluating the needs of children

Different kids need different levels of direct and indirect support. While older children may be somewhat self-sufficient, younger children may depend on their caregivers for food, transportation, and other basic needs. For these reasons, courts look at a range of factors to decide how best to ensure that children are provided for after their parents complete their divorces. Some of those factors include:

  • The mental, physical, and moral health of the parents
  • The mental and physical health of the child
  • The emotional ties between the child and their parents
  • The ability of the parents to provide for the child’s physical and intangible needs
  • The role that community, school, and other groups play in the child’s life

Many children will be subject to joint custody orders, which means that both parents will play important roles in their kids’ lives. Parents who share custody must work together to protect their children and their needs.

Preparing for custody and parenting plan hearings

Parents are excellent advocates for their children during family law hearings. They know their children and what types of care help their kids thrive. When preparing for the custodial negotiations that often come with divorce proceedings, parents can prepare themselves by discussing their fears and expectations with their family law attorneys. Though specific outcomes cannot be guaranteed in court, legal counsel from trusted family law professionals can prepare parents for the possible results they may face.