If you are a parent who is unmarried or planning to divorce, you may have many questions about child custody in Michigan. Parents are encouraged to work out their own child custody arrangements, but understandably, this is not always possible. If parents cannot come to an agreement regarding custody and parenting time, the court will intervene and determine a child custody schedule on behalf of the parents. In Michigan, the Child Custody Act dictates how the court makes decisions about parenting time and custody.
Joint Custody or Sole Custody?
There are two types of custody under Michigan law: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is a parent’s decision-making authority and physical custody is where the child physically lives. Parents with joint legal custody consult with one another regarding major child-related decisions whereas sole legal custody assigns all decision-making responsibilities to one parent. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the child maintains a residence with both parents. Typically, one parent in a joint custody arrangement is the primary custodian and the other parent enjoys child visitation, technically called parenting time in Michigan law. When a parent has sole physical custody, the child resides only with them.
Best Interest Factors Considered During Custody Disputes
When parents cannot agree on custody issues, the court will make a determination based on the child’s best interests. The Michigan Child Custody Act lists the factors used to evaluate what type of child custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. These factors include but are not limited to:
- The emotional ties between the parents and the child
- Each parent’s capacity to provide the child with guidance and love
- The parents’ capacity to provide the child with clothing, food, and medical care
- The amount of time the child has lived in a stable home environment and the benefit of maintaining continuity
- The permanence of the existing or potential home or homes
- Each parent’s moral fitness, mental health, and physical health
- The child’s home, school, and community records
- The child’s custody preference (if the court considers the child to be old enough to make this decision)
- Each parent’s ability to facilitate a positive parent-child relationship between the child and his or her other parent
- Any history of domestic violence
- Any other factor considered relevant by the court
Contact a Novi Child Custody Lawyer
If you have further questions about child custody in Michigan, contact an experienced Oakland County family law attorney at Elkouri Heath, PLC. Call our office at 248-344-9700 today to schedule a free consultation.