Commonly Asked Questions About Child Custody in Michigan

Commonly Asked Questions About Child Custody in Michigan

January 12, 2024 Off By Glespynorson

Divorce proceedings can already be challenging enough for the average separating couple to navigate. Add children into the mix, and the situation can be even more complex. Child custody arrangements in Michigan aren’t always straightforward, and legal intervention can be necessary to develop an arrangement that suits all parties.

It’s only natural to have questions as you start navigating this process. While your chosen lawyer can answer questions about child custody in Michigan, you can find answers to some of the more commonly asked ones below.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Michigan?

You might be familiar with standard Michigan divorce laws, but that doesn’t mean you’ll understand how child custody is determined in Michigan. Judges often strive for joint custody if it’s in the child’s best interest. This means a child would spend equal time with each parent. However, judges can also award joint custody without equal division. When parents don’t agree on parenting time and custody, judges can decide the child’s best interests on factors like:

  • Emotional ties
  • The capacity and disposition of the parents to give guidance, love, affection, food, shelter, clothing, and medical care
  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • Mental and physical health
  • The reasonable preference of the child

What Custody Arrangements Are Common in Michigan?

Michigan judges will always try to structure custody arrangements to promote strong relationships between parents and children. With every family dynamic being unique, they may order any of the following common custody arrangements:

Sole Custody

Sole custody is when one parent receives primary physical and legal custody. One parent is responsible for the child’s day-to-day care and makes all major decisions regarding their upbringing. The other parent may still receive parenting time.

Joint Custody

Courts must consider joint custody if either parent requests it. If both parents agree, courts must approve it unless the court determines it’s not in the child’s best interests. Joint custody means that both parents will make important decisions about the child’s welfare together and will share joint legal and physical custody.

Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody means both parents have decision-making authority regarding their child’s welfare, regardless of how parenting time is shared.

Joint Physical Custody

Joint physical custody describes both parents having their child at specific times. They don’t necessarily have to share decision-making unless the court orders it.

At What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

A child needs to be a minimum of 18 years old before they can legally decide where they want to live. However, Michigan law means that a child’s preferences are a factor in a court making custody arrangements.

Do You Have to Pay Child Support If You Have Joint Custody?

When you’re getting to grips with your new financial life post-divorce, it’s only natural to question whether you have to pay child support if you have joint custody of your child. After all, the added costs of childcare need to be accounted for in your budget.

According to the Michigan Legislature, joint custody doesn’t eliminate your requirement for child support. Both parents are responsible for child support based on their child’s needs and their own resources.

Child custody in Michigan can be complex, and getting to grips with your obligations can take time. By understanding the answers to some of the most commonly asked child custody questions, you may feel confident in managing what comes next for you and your child.