Michigan Family Law: Established Custodial Environment

Established Custodial Environment questions? Please call, 734.927.9782, and speak with a Michigan Custody Attorney at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your matter.

How does the Established Custodial Environment affect your Michigan Family Law matter?

If an established custodial environment exists with one parent then custody can be changed only upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that there has been significant change in circumstances and that the custody change is in the best interests of the child. Child Custody Act, MCL 722.27(1)(c).

If the Court determines that no established custodial environment exists then the burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence; not clear and convincing evidence.  It is important to note that just because a child is living with a parent, that living with that parent does not necessarily determine that an established custodial environment exists with only that parent. A parent may have sole physical custody, but sole physical custody by itself does not determine that the child looks to only that parent to provide guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort. An established custodial environment can be with both parents when it is demonstrated to the Court that they have provided guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort for the child.

The law provides that the established custodial environment of a child is established if over an appreciable time the child naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort. The age of the child, the physical environment, and the inclination of the custodian and the child as to permanency of the relationship shall also be considered.” Child Custody Act, MCL 722.27(1)(c).

Some factors the Court consider when determining if an established custodial environment exists include but are not limited to the following:

The amount of time a parenting “routine” has been in place

What kind of care and guidance is the child receiving from each parent?

Who is providing the parental care, and when?

What is the home environment like?

What is the physical quality of the parenting relationship?

What is the psychological quality of the parenting relationship?

Does the child feel secure with that parent?

Who do the children look to for guidance, discipline, necessities of life and parental comfort?

Please keep in mind your specific situation may be somewhat different from the norm. The information provided in this article is a guide to the basics of an Established Custodial Environment. Please call, 734.927.9782, and speak with a Michigan Custody Attorney at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your matter.  We represent clients in the Metro Detroit area (Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Livonia, Westland, Ann Arbor, Novi) and throughout Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Livingston counties. The firm’s office is located at 8556 N. Canton Center Road, Canton, Michigan 48187