Anytime there are minor children involved, whether in a divorce case, paternity case, or custody case, issues of custody and parenting time arise. There are two types of “custody:” “legal custody” and “physical custody.”
Legal custody is the rights and obligations of the parties to share the major decision-making for a child, including decisions regarding their health and medical care, education, and religious upbringing. Barring special circumstances, in the majority of cases, parents are awarded “joint legal custody,” although a party may receive “sole legal custody.”
Physical custody is not defined by Michigan Statutes and is just another way to refer to the parenting time agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court. The term “physical custody” is often avoided by the courts and experienced family law attorneys because of the emotional reaction to the term by the parties. The term “primary physical custodian” or “sole physical custodian” usually just mean that the minor children reside with that parent more often or the majority of the time.
Best Interest Factors
Michigan law requires that the court must determine what is in the best interest of the children before an order can be entered regarding custody. The court must consider and analyze the following twelve factors in every case pursuant to MCL 722.23. Those factors are:
- The love, affection, and other emotion ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, guidance, and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs of the child.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintain continuity.
- The moral fitness of the parties involved.
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
- The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
- Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
- Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
Child Custody Attorneys Gaylord MI
Custody battles can be long and drawn-out and confusing. Hiring an attorney who is aware of the laws regarding custody can help you. The Law Offices of Daniel J. Harris, P.C. is a child custody attorney in Gaylord MI.