While Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, misconduct may be considered when it comes to child custody issues.

It was clear to Mary that her husband had become a changed man, and not for the better. Aaron showed good stability when they were married 7 years ago, followed by the birth of two children. But lately, his old “wild side” was taking over more and more of his life.

Aaron was starting to drink heavily again and staying out late with his buddies, sometimes to the detriment of his job. The last straw was his latest bender, where he offered no apologies or explanations for leaving Mary alone with the children for three weeks.

Mary consulted her family attorney about grounds for divorce and factors that the court considers regarding spousal support, property division and custody. She was relieved to learn that Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, so spouses are not required to allege misconduct to file for divorce.

Mary also learned that misconduct such as abandonment or abuse is one of the factors used to determine spousal support and to divide property. Misconduct is also used as a factor to determine custody if those issues impact the ability of a parent to care for and raise minor children.

To determine custody, the court considers misconduct when it evaluates the relationship between the parents and the children -- the court will consider whether a parent will support the children’s education, provide a stable home environment, act as a good role model, and sustain the mental and physical health of the children.

In Mary’s case, Aaron showed increasingly erratic and immature behavior that could harm the children. She began to question whether he could provide nutritional meals on a regular basis and whether he would be a good role model for the children. Given his conduct during the past year, Mary felt that it would be best to seek full custody -- at least until Aaron demonstrated a renewed commitment to his children.

During the divorce proceedings, Mary’s attorney successfully presented the case for spousal support, fair division of property and full custody of the children.

Mike Toburen - Attorney at Law   

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Attorney Mike Toburen

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