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Usher awarded primary custody of his two children

Readers in Livingston County know that even the most amicable divorces can turn hostile when a child custody dispute arises. When child custody is at issue, Michigan courts look to the best interests of the child in making decisions about legal and physical custody.

Usher Raymond, the well-known R&B singer, was married in 2007. Two years later, in 2009, he divorced, indicating that his marriage was "irretrievably broken." After a lengthy child custody dispute with his ex-wife, Usher was recently awarded primary custody of the couple's two young sons. The court also ordered that Usher and his former wife share legal custody.

While Usher's divorce took place in another state, Michigan family courts also decide on parenting time and legal and physical custody. When a parent is awarded physical custody, this means that the child will live primarily with that parent. Legal custody generally includes parents' rights to make decisions about a child's upbringing, including education, health care and religious affiliation.

During the course of the proceedings involving Usher, he and his ex-wife presented conflicting testimony concerning their relations. In Michigan child custody cases, courts would likely take this kind of testimony into account in reaching their decision. Michigan courts base their child custody determinations on the best interests of the child; however, they consider various factors in rendering a custody order or establishing visitation rights. These factors can include the child's own wishes, the parents' health, the child's age and sex and the maintenance of a stable home environment for the child.

With an understanding that child custody is governed by what is in the child's best interests, divorcing couples may wish to approach these disputes differently. Instead of disagreeing about child custody, spouses might instead view it as means to establish a new and stable routine that is most beneficial for their child.

Source: The Washington Post, "R&B singer Usher Raymond wins custody fight for sons against ex-wife Tameka Foster Raymond," Aug. 24, 2012

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