Ending your marriage means dealing with a lot of uncertainty. For many parents in Michigan who are unhappy in their marriage, divorce is the only real solution. However, divorce comes with a number of complications, including the fact that you may not have control over the outcome of the custody proceedings.
Unless you and your ex file an uncontested divorce where you set your own terms, the courts will have the ultimate say in the allocation of parental responsibilities and rights, including custody and support. The terms of custody will vary depending on your family's circumstances. The courts strive to create unique and appropriate custody guidelines for each family.
Because there are so many variables in custody cases, it is impossible to know exactly how the courts will split up rights and responsibilities. However, familiarizing yourself with Michigan's custody laws and the way that the courts usually approach these proceedings can help you anticipate the most likely outcomes for the custody of your children in your divorce.
Custody determinations always focus on what the kids need
Your rights as a parent are substantially less important to the courts than what your children need for a healthy childhood and adolescence. While the courts do typically arrange for both parents to share custody, they don't do that because it's what the parents want. Instead, they do it because it is what is in the best interests of the children.
Most kids benefit from maintaining relationships with both of their parents in a divorce. The courts will typically do everything in their power to ensure that the children will experience the least amount of chaos and upheaval in their lives. That includes creating custody guidelines that have both parents playing a significant role.
Although it is common for parents to want sole custody, that usually isn't what will be best for the kids. Unless there are severe issues in your family such as addiction or abuse, both parents remaining active in the lives of the children is probably the optimal outcome and the goal for the courts.
Are you mentally prepared to share custody with your ex?
Divorce may officially end your legal marriage, but it won't be the end of the relationship with your spouse if you share children. Instead, you can anticipate seeing one another for the rest of your lives. You need to prepare for a co-parenting relationship.
Even when your children are older and no longer dependent on you, you will probably see your ex at occasions such as graduations, weddings and birthdays. It is best for everyone involved if you start to process your own feelings now and get comfortable with the reality of sharing parental responsibility with your ex.