Custody comes down to two main factors: Who is responsible for making decisions about the child and where the child will live. Taking the time to investigate what is best for the child, means that one cares deeply about them. A lot of energy and effort goes into making decisions like these, so it is important to make sure the decision is good for both parents and child.
Sometimes, parents can’t agree, or one is deemed unfit as a parent. Therefore, the State of Michigan has provided two types of child custody: sole custody and joint custody. Sole custody comes with two options as well: joint legal custody and joint physical custody, or a combination of the two.
What is sole custody?
Sole custody is when one parent is given physical and legal custody of the child. The parent that has sole custody is the only one who can make decisions about a child. If the non-custodial parent has visitation or parenting time, then they can make routine and emergency decisions while they have the child.
What is joint custody?
If the parents can agree and cooperate, the judge may award joint custody. Joint custody means that parents share in the decision-making process when determining what is in the best welfare for the child.
2 types of joint custody
The state of Michigan has two types of joint custody, or a combination of the two:
- Joint legal custody: This means that both parents share in making decisions about the child. This requires parents to agree upon things like education, religion, medical decisions, extracurricular activities, etc.
- Joint physical custody: With this type of joint custody, the child will have a specific time when they live with both parents. This does not necessarily mean that both parents will have legal decision-making powers unless they are awarded joint legal custody in addition to joint physical custody.
The parents and/or courts decide what is in the best interest of the children and one or more of the above may be awarded to one or both parents.
When navigating the child custody process in a divorce, it can be helpful to have professional guidance that is familiar with Michigan’s child custody laws.