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When a couple with children divorces, a child custody arrangement is part of their divorce settlement. Child custody is closely intertwined with parenting time, but they are not the same thing. Custody refers to the parent’s legal rights and responsibilities to the child, whereas parenting time refers to the time the child spends with each parent. The couple’s child support order is determined partially by their custody order. Generally, the parent who has more overnight parenting time with the child receives child support payments from the other parent.
There are two types of custody: legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions on a child’s behalf, such as those regarding his or her education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to the responsibility of providing a home for a child and all that it entails, such as daily meals and access to household goods.
Both types of custody can be held jointly by both parents or solely by one parent. When parents have joint custody, they share the rights and responsibilities listed above. When one parent has sole custody, he or she has all of the responsibilities that come with that type of custody. For example, a child’s parents may have joint physical custody, but one parent might have sole legal custody.
When the court determines a child custody schedule, it does so with the child’s best interest in mind. This is done with the aid of the Friend of the Court assigned to the case. Factors used to determine the arrangement that is in a child’s best interest include:
As a parent going through a divorce, it is important that you educate yourself about all aspects of child custody before you begin the divorce process, such as how child custody is determined in Michigan and how you can advocate for your rights as a parent. To learn more, schedule your free legal consultation with our team of experienced family lawyers at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today.