What you should know about sole custody vs. parental rights in Michigan
Divorce is never a pleasant event. It brings frustration, confusion, and heartbreak, among other things; and that’s just the emotional side. Add property, children, and assets to the mix and it becomes a very trying experience. Unfortunately, more than half of married couples today close their marriage chapter in divorce. Even worse, children are many times involved and suffer the worst of the trauma. To that end, it is very important to determine the level of each parent’s involvement in the raising of their child or children.
This process includes fundamental Michigan rights as well as what is in the child’s best interest. Ideally, these issues can be resolved by the parents in place of intervening court action. If not, a judge will present an order. Either choice will lead to joint physical or legal custody, or sole custody. In regard to the latter, one parent might request specific parenting time and the custody order may also be modified depending on circumstances.
Parents in agreement
Many U.S. states including Michigan strongly encourage parents to reach an amicable agreement regarding custody details without involving the court. However, this is often not the case and a judge will make a final decision. Judges look at a variety of information to make a determination of what is best for the child, including the parents’ capacity to provide, the child’s school record, living arrangements, and sometimes the preference of the child.
Types of custodial scenarios
Child custody scenarios typically involve sole custody and parental rights. Each has its own place in the process and brings its own pros and cons.
If Michigan courts decide parents cannot work together in a way beneficial to the care of their child, sole custody will be awarded to one of the parents. That parent then has physical and legal custody—physical meaning daily care from food to lodging, while legal custody refers to the parent making the majority of major decisions such as education and health care.
When sole custody is awarded, the other parent is traditionally granted parenting time. This is specific time set by the court for the non-custodial parent and child to be together. In some cases, the court will award a set time schedule with reasonable time included, allowing both parents flexibility to work around their schedules. In situations where the parents simply cannot or will not agree on parenting time; the court will decide for them.
In most parenting time situations, the non-custodial parent is responsible for making routine decisions or taking emergency action when the child is in their care. If the child falls from a swing, for example; the parent can decide whether an emergency room visit is required.
If one of the parents wants to change the custody order but the parents don’t agree, a motion may be made to the court to modify the existing order by filing a motion and serving the other parent.
For more information on sole custody and parental rights, contact The Gucciardo Law Firm today at (248) 723-5190.
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