When a married couple separates or divorces in Michigan, child custody and visitation matters must be legally determined by way of a court order. Custody may be determined as part of a divorce degree, but it may also be addressed as a separate issue if the parents are unmarried. You need a child custody attorney on your side to represent your interests and to help ensure that you reach the outcome you are hoping for in regards to your child custody matter.
What Are The Types Of Custody in Michigan?
There are generally different types of custody in Michigan, although the specific terms regarding custody and parenting time options are numerous and depend upon your individual circumstances.
Sole Legal Custody: This is generally where one of the parents makes all of the important decisions regarding the children (i.e. decisions regarding education, medical, religion), and where such parent has the majority of the time with the children. There are many reasons why one parent can gain sole custody of the children in Michigan, including the following:
Both parents agree one parent should have sole custody
One parent has a more flexible schedule
The parents reside in different states
The court has determined one parent to be unfit to have custody of the children
Joint Physical Custody: This is where everything is essentially equal. Under such option, the parents would have equal time with the children (or very close to equal time). Generally the parents will make all-important decisions together (i.e. decisions regarding education, medical, religion).
Joint Legal Custody: This is where one of the parents may have more time with the children, but the other parent has rights with regard to decision-making. The parent with more time with the children is sometimes called the "primary residential parent". The Parenting Plan may provide that one of the parties make the important decisions after consulting with the other parent. The Parenting Plan may provide instead that the parties make such decisions together.
Changing Child Custody Court Order
It's not uncommon for family relationships and finances to change after a divorce. If your income has changed, if you now have more or less time with your child, or if you have additional children in another marriage, you may need to request a change to your original support or child custody order.
Some of the most common reasons people file custody modification suits are:
Moving from one state to another
New spouse or boy/girlfriend of one parent has problems with child
Old order inaccurate to new life changes of parent or child
Safety issue regarding child
Change in residence of child from one parent to another
Standard visitation in order incompatible with one or both parents’ work schedules
Special medical/educational needs of child
Limit/Remove visitation under certain circumstances
It is important to be informed of your rights and understand issues related to child custody cases involving initial custody determinations and modifications because it can have a significant effect on child custody for fathers, child custody for mothers and child custody for grandparents.