What kinds of custody should we consider when splitting up?

The fact that you both are giving consideration to how you may both agree to custody in Michigan is a great start. As you likely know, as parents, you can come to an agreement and unless unreasonable or not in your child’s best interests, there is a good chance the judge will sign off on it. So then, what kind of custody arrangements should you be reviewing?

If you both consider and agree on joint custody, the court will most likely grant it. This is because the court must order it unless he makes specific findings as to why that arrangement would be contrary to your child’s best interests. Generally, a joint custody arrangement will involve joint legal custody as well as joint physical custody, or a mix of both.

Joint legal custody

The first, joint legal, means that you will share significant decisions that affect the child. This is the opposite of one of you having a unilateral right to decide, even if contrary to the other parent’s wishes.

Joint physical custody

Physical custody, on the other hand, if joint, means that each of you will enjoy specific times with the child. You can share this custody even if you do not share legal custody. Typically, you will want to define when each parent lives with the child. You may have your child residing with you during the school year, while the other parent may have the child over the summer. While the child is living with you, you will make day to day, routine decisions. You will also make any emergency decisions, should they occur. When the child then lives with the other parent, he or she will become the decision maker in routine and emergent matters.

Sole custody

Sole custody exists if one of you, the parents, receives physical custody and legal custody. It would include the following:

  • You live with child primarily
  • You provide daily care and makes routine decisions
  • You make emergency decision
  • You make all other significant decisions that are not of an emergent nature

Sole custody usually results when the parents cannot come together and collaborate for the benefit of their child. The non-custodial parent will get parenting time.

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