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How Child Custody Works in Michigan

 Posted on November 11, 2022 in Family Law

Novi child custody lawyerChild custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of each parent and child indicating the time a child will spend with a parent and each parent’s ability to render decisions on behalf of a child. Judges can structure child custody agreements to satisfy the unique schedules of both parents, as they typically seek to promote a strong bond between parents and children unless one parent endangers a child.

Custody agreements can be reached between spouses through various negotiations, including mediation, and judges will usually order those agreements. Cases in which parties cannot agree can still result in joint custody determinations, although how judges award parenting time in joint custody cases can vary widely.

Types of Child Custody

When it comes to descriptions of custody arrangements, there are typically the following kinds of agreements:

  • Sole Custody — While it does not have a legal definition in Michigan, sole custody happens when a single parent gets both primary physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody involves a parent providing a majority of the daily care for a child, while legal custody involves a parent making major decisions about a child’s upbringing. When a judge believes parents will not be able to work together to benefit a child, sole custody can be awarded to one parent with the other parent possibly receiving parenting time.
  • Joint Custody — Either parent can request that a court consider ordering joint custody. A court must order joint custody if the parents have an agreement on joint custody unless the court determines that such custody would not be in the best interests of a child. Judges are able to consider joint custody without a request from either parent but should consider whether parents can cooperate and agree on important decisions involving the welfare of a child. State law defines joint custody as including both of the following individually or in combination:
    • Joint Legal Custody — Under this agreement, the parents will share decision-making authority for important decisions relating to the welfare of a child. The amount of time a child spends with each parent will not matter. 
    • Joint Physical Custody — There are specific times each parent has with a child. The parents do not automatically share decision-making authority unless a judge specifically orders joint legal custody. 

Contact a Novi, MI Child Custody Lawyer

If you are in the middle of trying to hammer out a workable child custody agreement during your divorce, make sure you are working with the Oakland County, MI child custody attorneys at Elkouri Heath, PLC. Our firm has handled scores of complicated cases involving all kinds of marital assets and claims, so we know how to help people prove their cases and get the decisions made that allow them to spend quality time with their children.

Attorneys Susan Elkouri and Symantha Heath have nearly a quarter-century of legal experience in matrimonial and family law matters. You can call 248-344-9700 or contact us online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. 




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