Michigan parents whose marriages are ending usually have many decisions to make. If a divorce is especially contentious, child custody issues may be on the table. One parent may feel justified in seeking sole custody of the children. However, this is not always an easy goal to reach.

In general, courts no longer favor sole custody except in special cases. For example, if one parent has been abusive to the child or spouse, the other parent may have a good case for seeking sole custody with limited visitation for the abusive partner. Other factors that may affect a judge’s decision for granting sole custody include addiction, neglect or other issues that make the environment unsafe for the child. Seeking sole custody simply to avoid contact with an ex-spouse will not likely win the approval of the court.

A parent should present the most positive impression possible in court. This includes arriving on time, being clean and appropriately dressed, and behaving with dignity and restraint. Having well-prepared documentation of one’s reasons for seeking sole custody is also an important element that can boost a parent’s chances for success under the right circumstances.

If divorce means bringing difficult child custody issues to court, Michigan parents would be wise to have solid legal representation from the earliest stages of the process. Because of the delicate and sensitive nature of custody matters, it is smart for parents to be well-prepared and to understand their rights and options. A skilled attorney can assist in these and other areas.