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Michigan Child Custody Laws

February 24, 2022 John Engman & Associates

Michigan Child Custody Laws

Michigan Child Custody Laws

Michigan Child Custody Laws: What You Need to Know

The Michigan child custody laws are quite complex and vary from state to state. You should be aware of the different types of custody and what they mean for you and your family.

In many states, the parents are assumed to want joint custody of the children. However, in the state of Michigan, both parents must file for joint custody in order to get it. The courts will only consider joint custody if both parents file for it.

If one parent is deceased, then the other will have sole parental rights over the children until they reach 18 years old. If both parents are deceased, then the court will decide what is best for the children based on the best interests in their case.

What are the Different Types of Custody in Michigan?

In Michigan, there are three types of custody: legal custody, physical custody, and joint custody.

Legal custody is when a person has the right to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing. This type of custody is typically granted by a court order.

Physical custody is when one person has the right to make decisions about where the child will live and spend time with them. This type of custody can be granted by a court order or agreed upon by both parents.

Joint physical or joint legal custody means that both parents have equal decision-making rights over major life decisions for their children including where they will live and who they will live with.

How is Child Custody Determined in Michigan?

Child custody is a legal right that is granted to parents and guardians. There are several factors that a judge will consider when determining what type of custody is most appropriate for the child.

The courts in Michigan use the best interest of the child standard when deciding what type of custody to grant to each parent. This standard is used because it provides guidelines on how much time each parent should have with their children, how much time each parent should spend with their children, and how often they should see their children.

If a parent has physical custody, then they will be granted all rights and responsibilities for raising the child. If one or both parents have joint physical custody, then they will share responsibilities for raising the child equally.

If it is determined that it is in the best interest of the child to share joint custody of the children to maintain a close relationship with each parent, the courts will grant that. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.27a (1) However, joint physical custody doesn’t mean that the parenting time will be split 50/50.

What Is Parenting Time after a divorce?

Parenting time is the time children spend with their parents after divorce. It’s a crucial part of a child’s life and it’s important for both parents to spend quality time with their kids.

A parenting time is a period of time designated for a child to spend with one or both parents. The parent or parents are expected to provide guidance, supervision, and protection during parenting time.

This is a term that is usually used for those parents that are considered non-custodial. Under Michigan law, children have a right to parenting time with the non-custodial parent unless the other parent demonstrates, by clear and convincing evidence, that visitation would endanger the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.27a (3).)

If both parents cannot agree to a parenting time a judge will determine that for you. In most cases, it is best that the parents come up with a schedule that will meet the needs of their family. We encourage and try to work through these circumstances to come up with a resolution that everyone can live with.

What Does a Judge Consider When Deciding Parenting Time?

Some factors that the judge will consider if they are to decide parenting time.

  • The threatened or actual detention of a child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent during parenting time.

  • Whether the non-custodial parent has frequently failed to exercise parenting time.

  • Whether the court believes the non-custodial parent will exercise parenting time according to the order.

  • The inconvenience to, and impact on, the child for traveling for parenting time.

  • Whether there is a chance the non-custodial parent will abuse the other parent during the parenting time exchanges.

  • The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect during parenting time.

  • If the child is less than 6 months old, or if less than 1 year, whether the child is still nursing.

  • Whether the child has special needs.

  • Their own beliefs and personal preferences.

When a judge is required to determine a parenting time schedule they will look at the factors that will determine what is in the best interest of the child. You can find more information about this here.

  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

  • Each parent’s willingness and ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.

  • The child’s reasonable preference.

  • The child’s home, school, and community records.

  • The parent’s and the child’s mental and physical health.

  • Each parent’s moral fitness.

  • The permanence of the family unit of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

  • How long the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

  • The ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.

  • Each parent’s ability and willingness to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue the education and raising of the child in religion or creed (if any)

  • Love, affection, and other emotional ties exist between each parent and the child.

  • Any other factor the court deems relevant to a particular child custody dispute. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.23.)

Can My Child Decide Where to Live?

The answer to this question is no. Michigan law states that children cannot decide where they live during a divorce. The decision of where the child lives fall on the parents.

Children can be forced to move with a parent who has custody of them, but they are not allowed to decide where they want to live.

Conclusion: Why Find an Experienced Family Law Attorney and What to Expect for Custody Issues In Michigan

The conclusion is that you should find an experienced family law attorney to help you with your case. The attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and determine what is the best course of action for your case.

The most important thing to remember is that the attorney will be looking out for your best interests and safety. They will also have experience in handling custody issues in Michigan, which will help them determine what type of custody arrangement would work best for you and your children.

Call today and let John Engman and Associates assist you with coming up with a custody agreement that everyone can live with. Divorce isn’t fun and having children just adds to the stress. Try to remain calm and think of what is best for your children.

 Our criminal defense attorneys would be more than happy to assess the details of your case. To request a free consultation, call John Engman & Associates at (616) 454-5222.