Child custody disputes are never pleasant, and ones that involve domestic violence can be especially difficult. It takes a lot of courage and determination to start the process and see it through to the end. While it’s difficult to predict the outcome, it’s critical to understand what facts will be relevant to your case and can help you get the best outcome for you and your children.
If you’re dealing with a child custody matter and domestic violence is an issue, understand that you do not need to face these challenges alone. Lansing family law attorney Tiffany DeBruin understands the emotional turmoil that you are facing and works tirelessly to protect your rights. Don’t let your fears jeopardize your family’s future – schedule a consultation with us today by calling (517) 324-4303 or filling out our online contact form.
How an Attorney Can Help
Attorney Tiffany DeBruin can help whether you’ve been accused of domestic violence or you are the victim. She understands that there are two sides to every story. You deserve representation and protection of your rights no matter what.
When handling a domestic violence child custody case, your attorney will gather evidence and present it to the court so that the court may determine what is best for the children. Parents often let their emotions get the best of them in these situations. Instead, an attorney can bring a fresh perspective.
How Child Custody is Determined under Michigan Law
Like many other states, Michigan tries to grant equal custody in divorce cases. The court will determine custody based on what it believes to be the best interests of the child, with a rebuttable presumption that the child should have a close relationship with both parents.
When determining what custody arrangement would be in the best interest of the child, the court will look to the following factors:
- The emotional bond with each parent;
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s material needs and education and medical care;
- The child’s current home, school, and community;
- The permanence of the existing or proposed home;
- Each parent’s moral fitness;
- Each parent’s ability to provide a stable environment for the child;
- The mental and physical health of each parent;
- The home, school, and community record of the child;
- The preference of the child;
- The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate a relationship with the other parent;
- Whether there has been any domestic violence;
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant to the dispute.
Under Michigan law, no one of these factors are considered more important than the others. The judge will weigh each factor separately in order to make an overall determination as what would be the appropriate custody arrangement. The court will also use these factors in determining visitation and parenting time.
How Domestic Violence Can Affect Your Child Custody Case
As you can see, domestic violence is a factor in determining custody of the child. It’s important to note that the judge will consider any form of domestic violence, “regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.” There is no definition of domestic violence under Michigan family law, but the courts generally recognize more than just physical abuse directed at the spouse or the child such as the following:
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual assault
- Threatening or intimidating behavior
- Restrictions on freedom such as forced isolation
Domestic violence is only one factor in determining custody. In other words, domestic violence alone will not determine whether or not custody is shared. The judge will consider the facts particular to your case. If there are concerns regarding the child’s safety, the judge may order supervised visitation. If there is a history of domestic violence involving a parent, the judge may order that exchanges occur in a public place or under supervision. Ultimately, custody will be denied only in extreme cases.
Contact DeBruin Law PLLC for Help With Your Child Custody Case
Whether you’re seeking a modification to an existing child custody order or are new to the process, Lansing family lawyer Tiffany DeBruin can help you do what’s best for yourself and your children. She provides her clients with compassionate, dedicated legal representation so that you can build a better future. Contact DeBruin Law PLLC at (517) 324-4303 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and how we can help you.