Skip to main content

My daughter's father wants joint legal custody of our infant. How likely is it to be granted if we've never been married?

Rockford, MI |
Attorney answers 1



I would suggest that you discuss the matter with an attorney as there are many aspects to a custody proceeding that need to be examined and discussed.

The 1st question is whether he has established himself as the father of the child. If you were not married at the time of birth then there are only two way he can establish that he is the father of the child under Michigan law. The1st way is if both parties sign an Affidavit of Parentage and it is filed with the appropriate state agency. The 2nd way is by an order of filiation which can only be obtained in a paternity lawsuit one of you would have to commence. If his parental rights are not established by one of these two procedures he in fact has no rights to custody or parenting time and is treated as a total stranger in the eyes of the court.

Once it is legally established that he is the father of the child he can pursue custody in court. The best interest test applies as set forth in the following statute. The judge mst take these factors into accont when awarding custody.

722.23 “Best interests of the child” defined.

Sec. 3.

As used in this act, “best interests of the child” means the sum total of the following factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the court:

(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 the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.

(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, 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.

There is a good chance that he will be awarded joint legal custody. This is different than physical custody. Joint legal custody means that he would have a say in the major decisions regarding a child's life. The day to day decisions are made by the parent or parents having physical custody.

Of course each case is reviewed on its own merits. I would suggest that yo avail yourself of a complimentary phone conference for new callers to discuss the matter in more detail. I can be reached by clicking on the link below.

Robert D. Mouradian

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer