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Child custody in Michigan: The basics

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2023 | Child Custody And Parenting Time.

If you are in the middle of obtaining a divorce, some of the issues that are facing you may almost seem insurmountable at the moment. One of the most serious and significant issues in the divorce process is child custody and parenting time. Divorce is difficult enough but when a child is involved, it always seems so much more complicated and difficult to work out.

When it comes to deciding on and establishing child custody, there are specific guidelines that each state has in place, including Michigan. Once you and your child’s other parent have established and finalized the child custody, at some point in the future, something significant may have changed and you may feel that a child custody modification is necessary. Although it is not easy to have child custody modified, it can be done under justifiable circumstances.

What is child custody?

Child custody is the set of rights and responsibilities that each parent has toward the child. Custody does not mean ownership. It is about how much time a child will be spending with each parent and the responsibility of each parent to make decisions on behalf of the child. If the child custody order needs to be modified, the court judge will need to modify that. If the judge feels that there is some good reason not to modify the child custody order because one of the parents is questionable, they will decide accordingly.

If the judge is the one who is deciding on child custody for a particular family, the judge will make decisions on behalf of the child and will decide exactly how much time the child will spend with each child. This happens if the parents are unable to decide on child custody and parenting time between them. The judge’s goal in deciding about child custody is to build a strong relationship between the child and the parents.

Is there only one type of child custody arrangement?

There is more than one child custody arrangement. Those different arrangements can be decided upon by the parents or decided by the judge. If the parents are in dispute with regard to child custody, joint custody will be discussed. If one of the parents requests joint custody, the judge must consider that and rule upon it. The judge is also responsible for either granting joint custody or informing the parents why the judge has denied the request.

The bottom line is that that judge will decide based on what is in the best interests of the child. One possibility is that the judge will award joint custody and divide the time that the parents spend with the child equally. For example, the judge may award joint custody but not split the time that each parent spends with the child exactly equally. Perhaps one parent has physical custody during the school year and the other parent has physical custody during the summer.

Consult a Michigan family law attorney

If you are going through the divorce process and you are trying to work on child custody and parenting time, the legal advice of an experienced Michigan family law attorney may make things a lot easier for you. Your attorney can educate you about your rights and can help you to understand what you can expect and how the decisions that you make can impact everyone involved. The decisions that you make now are going to affect you and your family for a very long time so it is important that you have peace of mind and feel that those decisions were the best ones to make.