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12-Factor Test for Custody Arrangements

Courts apply the following twelve factor test to determine if the proposed custodial arrangement is in the best interest of the minor child.

  1. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child. This factor focuses on the emotional bond that already exists between the parent and the child.
  2. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any. This factor tries to project the parent's ability to foster an emotional bond in the future, and the parent's impact on such matters as education, guidance, and religious training.
  3. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  4. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
  5. The permanence as a family unit of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes. This factor is entirely focused on the permanence of the family environment, not the acceptability of the home or the childcare arrangements.
  6. The moral fitness of the parties involved. Under this factor the court evaluates the parties' moral fitness only as it relates to how they will function as a parent and not as to who is the morally superior adult.
  7. The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  8. The home, school, and community record of the child.
  9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference. Typically when a child is twelve to thirteen the court will consider a child's preference in determining what the court believes to be the appropriate custody arrangement.
  10. The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents. In the case of a divorce if there has been a temporary order implemented and one parent has continually disregarded the order and failed to comply with parenting time schedules then the other party will likely be favored under this factor. Judges often times emphasize the importance of parents fostering a positive relationship with the other parent and do not look kindly on parties who speak negatively of the other party to their children.
  11. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  12. Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

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Jason L. Jansma PLC
40 Pearl Street
Suite 922

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: 616-581-7406 (Free Office Consultation)
Toll Free: 877-378-5541
Fax: 616-233-9166
Grand Rapids Law Office

Jason L. Jansma PLC
1300 W Centre Ave
Portage, MI 49024

Phone: 616-581-7406 (Free Office Consultation)
Toll Free: 877-378-5541
Fax: 616-233-9166
Portage Law Office