What Are the Different Kinds of Child Custody in Michigan?

If you’re facing a child custody battle, you’re probably wondering what the final arrangement will look like. Who will have the kids when? And how will you and your ex handle major decisions on their behalf, like those regarding their education, medical care, or religious upbringing?

Thankfully, once it’s been finalized, a Michigan custody order will address all such questions. To learn more about the various kinds of custody in the state, read on:

Legal Custody

When a parent or other party has legal custody of a child, it means they have the right to make important decisions for him or her. In most arrangements, both parents are awarded legal custody. Generally speaking, a judge will not revoke this right from a parent unless they have a very good reason to do so.

In a joint legal arrangement, parents share the responsibility of making decisions for their children. As such, they must be willing to cooperate with each other and ultimately prioritize their children’s best interests above all else.

In a sole legal arrangement, only one parent has the right to make decisions on behalf of the children. As such, he or she does not have to consult the other before proceeding with any major milestones.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where the children spend their time. When a parent has physical custody, it means the children live with him or her.

In a joint physical arrangement, the children reside with both parents and move between homes on a predictable schedule. Depending on the specifics, one parent may be considered the primary custodian, while the other is considered to have parenting time.

In a sole physical arrangement, the children live with one parent 100 percent of the time, while the other parent may or may not have visitation rights.

As children get older, the court will consider their preferences before awarding physical custody; however, that’s just one of 12 factors they account for, which means it won’t be the deciding factor.

When Parents Share Custody, Does Anyone Have to Pay Child Support?

This is one of the most common questions regarding joint arrangements. The short answer is, probably.

In Michigan, child support obligations are determined using the Michigan Child Support Formula. This formula accounts for all kinds of factors, including each parent’s income and how overnight visits are divided.

In most cases, the parent who has the children for fewer overnights ends up being responsible for paying child support. As for the precise amount of the obligation, that also depends on a host of factors.

Speak with a Michigan Child Custody Lawyer

At Smith & Johnson, we handle all aspects of separation and divorce, including custody disputes. Whether you need help navigating a new issue or you want to modify an existing order, you can count on our tenacious team to advocate for your rights every step of the way. Call 231-946-0700 or submit the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation with a child custody attorney in Michigan.