The best interest of the child factors are 12 factors defined by the legislature that the court must consider when deciding cases involving child custody, parenting time, choice of school and guardianship cases. Although any specific factor may be important in a given case the most important best interest of the child factor has nothing to do with a child.
The Most important best interest of the child factor
The Michigan legislature helps us define “best interest of the child” by requiring courts to evaluate and consider 12 factors (identified as factors a thru l) which are formally set forth in Michigan Compiled Laws section 722.23.
The statute provides a court with specific considerations of what is in a child’s best interest with a catch all provision. Specifically, factor (l) which provides a court to consider “any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
The 12 best interest of the child factors are provided below:
(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child;(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give love, affection, guidance, and continuation of the educating and raising the child in its religion or creed, if any;
(b) 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.
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical and other remedial care;
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes;
(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved;
(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved;
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child;
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;
(j) 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;
(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child; and
(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
Factor J is the most important best interest of the child factor.
A court is required to consider each factor and make findings on the record. However, the factors do not have to be treated equally. A court can determine the weight of each factor. When considering all of the best interest factors, the factor that typically is the most important is factor j, 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.
The willingness and ability of each of the parties to encourage a continuing parent-child relationship with the other parent is the most important best interest of the child factor.Daniel Findling, Attorney at law.
Every child deserves to be loved and when parents disparage the other parent they often do not recognize that they are disparaging the child. After all, a child shares DNA with both parents. On the other hand, when parents strive to foster and encourage a good relationship between the child and the other parent (even if they have animosity with the other parent) a child feels safer and more secure.
Although every best interest of the child factor is important, how parents act towards each other is often the most important factor in ensuring your child strives even after divorce.
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