When you are getting a Michigan divorce, and you are also a parent of minor children, child custody will be one of the most important factors to iron out. While it may be tempting to rush through your divorce, it is essential to determine all details of custody before any papers are signed. If you have the right Michigan divorce attorney, he or she will not allow you to settle on the divorce without ensuring that your children are properly taken into consideration now and for the future.
Understanding Child Custody
There are various forms of custody:
- Joint legal custody: Both parents share the legal right to make long-term decisions about the child and his or her welfare in a joint legal custody situation, including schooling, medical needs, religious matters, and more. In this situation, one parent usually has physical custody.
- Joint legal and physical custody: Parents who share legal and physical custody participate equally in matters about their child’s upbringing. They evenly split the day-to-day care of and responsibility for the child.
- Standard (sole) physical custody: One party has sole physical custody of the children and the non-custodial parent has reasonable parenting time to spend with their child (e.g., weekends, holidays, school breaks, vacations, etc.).
- Sole custody: One parent has total custody of the child and makes all major decisions where the child is concerned.
Any custody arrangement is likely to come with some exceptions. There are many ways that parenting time can be divided successfully between divorced parents, and these are the details that need to be identified in a divorce settlement, even down to how the child will be disciplined. Modifications to the established parenting schedule also needs to be determined, since the ways parenting time is handled will fluctuate as the child grows and their activities and obligations change.
The Details of Child Custody
It can feel completely unnatural to a divorcing couple to talk about how their child’s time will be spent and where, like the child is a possession to be divvied up between them. But you must address important questions:
- Who will drop off the kids or pick up the kids from school?
- How much are former in-laws or new partners permitted to be involved in the child’s life?
- Will the child be exchanged at a neutral location or at home, school, or somewhere else?
- Is out-of-state or out-of-country travel with the child permitted?
- Who will the child spend holidays with? Will this schedule fluctuate from year to year or be consistent?
No one ever said divorce was simple. The presence of children makes it even more complicated and, sometimes, heart wrenching. The court always errs in the favor of what is in the best interests of the children, avoiding disruptive, stressful, and impractical situations.
Choose a Michigan divorce attorney who will guide you on your entire divorce journey, and help you navigate the terrain of child custody. Schedule your free consultation with Femminineo Attorneys in Macomb, MI.