Today, Michigan courts are required to adopt a gender neutral approach and assess the ability of each parent to care for their children. The Michigan family division looks to the Child Custody Act of 1970 to determine the child's custody, support and parenting time. Even if the parties come to an agreement about custody in Michigan, the court must still apply the best interest standard in determining whether or not to abide by the agreement of the parties. Even if a determination is made by the alternative dispute resolution process in Michigan, the court must still make their own determination.
In Michigan custody battles, parents, agencies and third parties including grandparents may have standing to seek custody. In Michigan the parent is given the presumption of custody, because it is presumed that it is in the best interest of the child to be with a parent unless there is clear and convincing evidence to establish custody with another person or agency.
A Michigan judge must examine the best interest of each individual child, but will keep the children together if that is indeed in the best interest of the child.