What is really in the best interest of a child?

Michigan Compiled Laws section 722.23 defines the best interest of a child by listing 12 factors which should be considered, evaluated and determined by the court. The 12th factor, factor (l) is a catch all provision that reads: “Any other factor considered by the cout to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute”. After practicing law for almost 30 years, I am often asked what is really in the best interest of a child?


What is really in a child’s best interest?

In drafting the best interest of the child factors, the legislature relied on a committes determination of what a child needs are. Keeping in mind that all children need to be nurtured with love, affection, discipline and stability.

The best interest of the child factors include factors such as the love, effection and emotional ties between the parties and the child (factor a); The capacity to provide guidance, educate in raising the child (factor b); to provide food, medical care (factor c); stability (factor d); a permanent home (factor e), moral fitness (factor f); health of the parties (factor g); scholastic record (factor h); child’s preference (factor i); domestic violence (factor k); and any other relevant factor (factor l).

What is really in the best interest of a child?

You may have noticed that I omitted factor j which is in my experience, what is really in the best interest of a minor child.

    (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

MCL 722.23(j).

When parents cannot get along, are angry with each other (or themselves) and disparage the other parent, it interfers with their ability to nurture their child. After all, a child’s DNA is made up of both parents.

Divorce can be difficult and progressing through the emotional pain is hard. However, what is really in the best interest of a child is to do you best to ensure he/she does not feel your pain, or anger towards the other parent. After all, the divorce is not their fault.3

Let us help you navigate this challenging time with greater clarity and confidence. For personalized legal advice, feel comfortable contacting us.

By: Daniel Findling (c) 2024.

Our Core Values.


Ph. 248-399-3300 : Email:Daniel@Findlinglaw.com : After hours emergency?+1 (248) 633-8583

I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for almost 30 years. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances. That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

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