Sole Custody Vs. Parental Rights in Michigan

By Elizabeth Rayne

A determination of the degree to which each parent should be involved in the raising of minor children is an important process, involving both fundamental rights as well as what is deemed best for the child. In Michigan, these issues can often be resolved by the parents in lieu of court intervention, or by order of a judge. Either instance can lead to joint physical or legal custody, but if one parent is awarded sole custody, the other parent may request parenting time. In addition, either parent may request a modification of custody if certain conditions have changed following the original order.

Parental Agreement

In Michigan, as in other states, parents are encouraged to reach their own agreement regarding custody arrangements before getting the court involved. When parents cannot agree, the judge will decide the custody arrangements by looking at a number of factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Factors include the capacity of each parent to provide for the child, child's school record, and in some cases, the child's preferences.

Sole Custody

In Michigan, the court may determine that parents cannot adequately work together to take care of their child and award sole custody to one parent, meaning that one parent has both physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to providing day-to-day care for the child and where the child primarily lives. Conversely, legal custody refers to which parent makes major decisions for the child, including issues surrounding education and medical treatment.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Joint Custody

In Michigan, with or without the request of either parent, the court may consider ordering joint custody. Under this arrangement, both parents share physical and legal custody. Conversely, at the discretion of the judge, the court may simply order joint physical or joint legal custody instead of both. The court will state in the record the reasons for granting or denying any custody requests. As in other matters, the decision comes down to whether the parents can cooperate, agree on important decisions, and what is in the best interest of the child.

Parenting Time

When the court awards sole custody, the non-custodial parent is typically given parenting time, which is time set by the court for the non-custodial parent and child to spend time together. The few cases in which a parent will not be awarded parenting time is when imminent harm to the child is likely as a result of abuse, neglect or drug abuse. The court may award specific parenting time with set schedules or reasonable parenting time, which gives the parents flexibility in scheduling. If parents cannot agree on parenting time, the court will set the schedule. When the non-custodial parent has parenting time, that parent is responsible for making "routine and emergency decisions" for the child while the child is in his care. For example, if the child is injured while the non-custodial parent has parenting time, that parent may make the decision whether or not to bring the child to an emergency room.

Modification

When a parent wants a change in the custody order and the parents cannot come to an agreement on the change, either parent may motion the court to change the existing order. To request a custody modification from the court, you must file a motion with the circuit that issued the custody order, and serve the other parent with the motion. The court will then schedule a hearing, where you must present evidence to support your request. You must show that it is in the child's best interest to modify the order, and demonstrate a significant or substantial change in circumstances since the original order was made. Factors that may lead to a modification include neglect, abuse, or immoral activity in the home of the custodial parent.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Child Custody Rights for 12 Years & Older

References

Related articles

Court Procedures for Shared Custody in South Carolina

Understanding the custody procedure in South Carolina can help parents better prepare and present their case to a judge. The process operates similar to a trial, with parties exchanging information in advance and attempting to reach a mutual resolution, based in either sole or shared custody arrangements. If the parents cannot effectively resolve these issues to the satisfaction of the court, a judge will issue an order following an analysis of the factors related to the best interest of the child..

What are the Child Custody Rights of the Non Custodial Parent in Ohio?

Understanding the rights of a noncustodial parent in Ohio can be important for the initial allocation of physical and legal custody, as well as for any subsequent modifications. The noncustodial -- or nonresidential parent -- is usually awarded parenting time, which can follow the standard Ohio parenting schedule, or it can be adjusted on the basis of relevant factors, which the judge deems to be in the child's best interest.

How Often Can You Check an Ex-Spouse's Income for Child Support in North Carolina?

Child support is awarded to a custodial parent to assist with the expense of raising a child. The non-custodial parent is legally obligated to pay once a court has ordered it. Although the court makes a determination on the amount of child support at the time child support is awarded, the order can be modified at a later date due to a change in circumstances, such as when an ex-spouse’s income increases.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Reverse a Sole Custody Order in Missouri

Provided the existence of certain conditions, a parent can be successful in reversing a sole custody order in the state ...

Filing for Physical Custody in Virginia

Both parents and Virginia courts are primarily concerned with what is in the best interests of the child in a divorce ...

Child Custody Options in Iowa

In Iowa, as in most states, child custody issues must be resolved before the court can issue a divorce decree. ...

Kentucky State Child Custody Guidelines

For divorcing couples with minor children, determining custody can be a major source of conflict. In Kentucky, state ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED