Battles over child custody and visitation can be incredibly painful and contentious. Parents are often willing to do or say whatever they can to protect their relationship with their child, which means there are often hurtful, ugly and sometimes untrue accusations made during these cases.
This finger-pointing and mudslinging can make any parent feel badly about their parenting capabilities and scared about their chances at securing custody. However, it is crucial to understand that you don’t have to be perfect to be a good parent. That being said, if you do have some legitimate challenges or flaws that could jeopardize your rights as a parent, you can take steps to address them.
Many factors are considered when determining child custody in Michigan. Falling short in one or two areas may not necessarily mean loss of custody, but you can and should take steps to remedy some of the more serious issues. For instance:
- If you have a history of abusing drugs or alcohol, get into treatment and undergo counseling on a regular basis.
- If you cannot afford basic essentials for your child, secure employment and stay employed.
- If you have a toxic, volatile relationship with the other parent, examine ways you can improve the situation to make it better for you and your child.
- If you have not been a significant presence in your child’s life in the past, show up and be there for him or her, as long as doing so does not violate court orders or put your child in danger.
- Attend parenting courses if you have struggled with skills like discipline, responsibility, showing affection or appropriate problem solving.
Taking steps to correct bad behaviors and build good habits can be difficult. However, doing so can have a positive effect on you as a parent and your custody rights.
And remember: No parent is perfect. We all have flaws and shortcomings, but these don’t necessarily preclude someone from getting custody, as long as they do not have a negative impact on the well-being of the child. If you have questions about your fitness as a parent and the factors that are considered when assigning custody, it can be wise to discuss them with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.