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Divorce and Family Law

What does joint custody mean in Michigan?

When Michigan parents split up one of the most important things they need to work out is child custody. Many times, joint custody is mentioned as the most practical way to arrange child custody. But what does joint custody mean in Michigan?

In Michigan there are two types of child custody, physical and legal – there are important distinctions when it comes to the law.

Understanding the differences between legal and physical custody

Legal custody allows a parent to make decisions that impact their child including health care, childcare, education, and general welfare. If joint legal custody is awarded, then both parents have the right to make these decisions and should consult with the other parent before making non-routine decisions. If sole legal custody is awarded, then one parent will be responsible for all the decisions.

Physical custody relates to where the child will live. Joint physical custody means the child will have a residence with both parents, usually with one parent being the primary custodian and the other parent having their parenting time on a set schedule. Sole physical custody means that the child only lives with the one parent. In this situation visitation time may or may not be awarded to the other parent.

Getting answers to questions about child custody matters

A parent who is going through a divorce has many questions to decide during the process. These are very stressful times but working through these issues with an attorney who is skilled in family law can help make the process smoother. An attorney understands that this is one of the hardest times of their client’s life and will work hard to make sure their and their child’s best interests are protected both now and into the future.