How do I obtain full child custody in my divorce case? 1 Answers as of June 03, 2011

My son Mason was born September 4th, 2010. I have never tried to keep him from meeting or being a part of his biological fathers life in any way, however, he had chosen not to be around. To this day his biological father has not met him, everytime I have asked him if he would like to meet his son he has told me no he wants to sign his rights over to me and that he is not ready for a child. I've gone as far as messaging him once a month to attempt to reach out to him and see if he has changed his mind about it, because I know its important to have both a Mother and a Father. He was served papers for child support by the state of Michigan because I get assistence, and when that happened he had started to threaten me saying that if he had to pay child support he was going to take me to court over full custody and that he had absolutly no interest in our son so he shouldnt have to pay for him. I haven't heard anything back from the courts for the child support situation yet, and he has never paid any. Recently he has been saying that he wants to be around "eventually" when he is ready; although I dont want to keep him from his son I've been questioning whether or not this would be best for Mason as he is already almost 9 months old and has never met his father - his father doesnt even know his full name or his birth date, he has never asked anything about him. Due to his fathers sudden change of heart I've attempted to set up dates for him to meet Mason and he has blown him off every time with excuse after excuse - he doesnt have a job so its not like hes a very busy person. I wanted to know if this does come up in court, what my options were. Again I dont want to keep him from his son, but could I go for supervised visits for a certain amount of time etc before he was granted any specific custody? etc. My only job is to protect my son and as his father knows nothing about him OR taking care of children it worries me.

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The Findling Law Firm, PLC | Daniel M Findling
The first step in evaluating a contested custody case in Michigan is determining if there is an established custodial environment with one parent or both parents. An established custodial environment is defined as: 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. See. (MCLA 722.27(1). In simple terms, if the child has been living with one parent for a while, that parent will have an established custodial environment. As a general rule, courts are reluctant to remove a child from an established custodial environment. After determining if an established custodial environment exists, the courts will look at the best interest of the child(ren).
The second step in evaluating a contested custody case in Michigan is to consider the best interest of the minor child. Michigan adopted the Child Custody Act to require courts to consider the "best interest of the child" in child custody disputes. The courts evaluate and sum the following factors when determining what is in the best interest of a child: (a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child; (b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give love, affection, guidance, and continuation of the educating and raising the child in its religion or creed, if any; (c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical and other remedial care; (d) The length of time the child has lived in a stabile, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity; (e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes; (f) The moral fitness of the parties involved; (g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved; (h) The home, school, and community record of the child; (i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference; (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; (k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child; (l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute. Thank you for the opportunity to assist you in this matter. If you require further assistance or would like to schedule a free confidential consultation, I have provided my contact information below. During the consultation we can discuss both the obligations and benefits associated with your case. I look forward to meeting you to discuss your goals.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/3/2011
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