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The Divorce Attorney Journal

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    michigan child custody parenting timeThe simplest way to describe the difference between child custody and parenting time is this: Child custody is who gets to make decisions about the kid; parenting time is who gets to see the kid and for how long. When you get a divorce in Michigan, the legal system typically allows parents to come up with the best situation possible for their children. Every divorce is different, and so is every parent, but the consistent variable is that everything – in the court’s eyes – must be done in the best interest of the child.

    Understanding Child Custody

    Michigan courts categorize child custody as either legal or physical.

    Legal custody is usually awarded to both parents. This allows both parties to have a say in the major elements of their child’s life, from education decisions to healthcare choices to religious upbringing. Some parents may fight for sole legal custody, so an absentee parent does not get a vote in what’s best for the child.

    Physical custody describes where a child lives most of the time. This category is split into two pieces: sole physical custody or joint physical custody.

    • In cases of sole custody, the parent who has the child all the time is known as the custodial parent. The other, non-custodial parent has reasonable parenting time, which means there may not be any overnights or holidays spent with that parent. The details can be hashed out in different ways until both parties are satisfied. Often, if a parent has sole custody it’s because the other parent is largely uninvolved.
    • When parents have joint physical custody, they essentially share the child and split their time with the child. This arrangement has a variety of configurations – one week with one parent, the next week with the other parent, and so on; holidays and weekends and a month in summer with one parent and the rest of the time with the other parent; one night a week and every other weekend with one parent and all other times with the other parent. The configurations are endless, though many amicable splits aim to have joint physical custody work out as close to 50-50 as possible.

    Understanding Parenting Time

    Parenting time is a privilege. If one parent has sole custody but the other parent cannot prove their worthiness to be awarded parenting time – whether because of abuse, addiction, or other variables – parenting time may not be allowed at all.

    Sometimes parenting time is referred to as visitation rights in matters of sole custody. Visitation may be supervised or severely limited in location and scope. In some situations, grandparents may petition for visitation rights even if their son or daughter does not get to see the child.

    Parenting time in shared custody usually works out fairly enough with an outlined schedule, agreed upon by both parties, that is to be followed to the letter. The details can get as specific as where the child spends his or her birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and all major and minor holidays.

    Are you unsatisfied with your custody or parenting time arrangement? Get help from a Macomb County divorce lawyer. Schedule your consultation with Femminineo Attorneys PLLC in Mount Clemens to get advice and the help you need to protect your time with your child.

    What makes us the right divorce attorneys for you?

    Family Law Expertise

    Most lawyers are in a general practice and do some of everything. One of our main focuses is on Family law and being expert at divorce, custody and support matters.

    Strong Relationships

    We are in court daily, working with the family court judges, their staff and clerks, the Friend of the Court office, the Bar Association and other attorneys working in this area. We pride ourselves on fighting hard for our clients while working well with everyone.


    Our extensive experience and strong relationship with the courts and our peers leads many judges and attorneys to hire us to act as Mediators in other Family Law cases. Make no mistake; having a strong working relationship with the court can have a massive impact on your case. Unlike most attorneys, we have no fear of the court room and are in trial regularly against the best in the business. We see the judges every week and maintain strong ties with their staff.

    We Care

    Although every attorney can “handle” your case, Femminineo Attorneys cares about you and your family. We work extremely hard to keep this difficult process civil and to shelter your children from as much of the negative facets as possible.


    Once your case is concluded, we will be there to help you with any post-judgment problems that may arise.


    Everyone’s financial situation is different and we work with our clients to formulate a fee arrangement that works within your means.


    We have handled every possible situation involving domestic law. We will do everything possible to wrap up your case in a timely manner, avoiding delays that cause unnecessary legal fees.


    When your case cannot be easily solved, we will fight hard and use all of our resources to win. Unlike most attorneys, we have no fear of the court room and we regularly win cases against the best in the business at trial.

    Expert Staff

    Unlike many attorneys who have a part-time typist and work 30 hours a week, we have an expert staff available all day long to assist you and provide immediate service.

    Personal Service

    At Femminineo Attorneys, your case will be handled by an experienced family law attorney. Each of our attorneys in our family law division has many years of experience in handling family law matters.

    We encourage you to see these differences for yourself and call today to speak with one of our partners or schedule a free consultation at our office.

    During traditional business hours, please call us at: (586) 954-9500

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