When parents with children under the age of 18 split up they will have to determine with whom those children will live and whether or not they will share custody. Many people in Michigan have misconceptions when they think of the term child custody. For example, you may have heard of legal custody and physical custody as well as sole custody and joint custody. If you’re about to go through a custody battle you need to understand what these different terms mean.
Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
Legal custody refers to a parent’s rights to make important decisions in the lives of his or her children, including their schooling, their healthcare and their religious orientation. Physical custody is simply used to describe where and with whom the child lives.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody
Sole Custody refers to one parent having custody over all the important decisions in his or her children’s lives, while joint custody means that both parents get to have a say in all of these important matters. In other words, if parents share legal custody they must make important decisions together. If they share physical custody then the children will spend time living with both parents.
Joint Custody Rights
If one parent has sole legal custody then the other parent has no say in the important decisions affecting their children’s lives. However, a parent with joint custody has those rights. As mentioned previously, when parents share joint custody of their children they both have the right to play a key role in their children’s affairs, including religion, education, and medical treatment. Whether you have joint legal custody or not, both parents always have the right to make day-to-day decisions for their children such as what friends they hang out with and how they will spend their time with that parent.
Joint Physical Custody
When parents share legal custody of their children that means the kids will spend time living with both parents. However, joint physical custody does not mean equal time. How much time the children spend with each parent will need to be determined by several factors. It is best when parents can come to an agreement on these terms by working together. However, when one parent is awarded sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent would still have parenting time or visitation rights.
Determining child custody can be one of the most difficult aspects to resolve when parents split up. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins, we understand that both parents and the children are experiencing a lot of emotions and tough decisions. We have been helping people in these kinds of situations for more than 30 years in Michigan and we can help you, too. So give us a call at 248-646-7980, or click here to get in touch with us online.