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What are the different types of child custody in Michigan?

Oakland County Child Custody Lawyers have seen many cases involving children caught between parents during divorce. It is not unusual to hear custody issues being discussed by parents in front of a judge who will make the final determination of who gets custody once a marriage has legally ended.

The court considers many things when making a child-custody decision. The primary consideration for any judge is the best interests of the child. This means that a judge will determine whether a particular custody arrangement will benefit the children. Michigan courts recognize two types of custody arrangements — sole and joint.

In sole custody, one parent has primary legal and physical custody of a child, is responsible for the child’s everyday care and can make major decisions about the child’s upbringing such as where to go to school, what medical treatments are necessary and what sort of extracurricular activities the child can enjoy. If a judge believes that both parents cannot work together to raise their child, sole custody will go to the parent who can provide the better environment for the child.

Joint custody, on the other hand, is often requested so that both parents can make major decisions about rearing their child. The key to successful joint custody is cooperation. If both parents can work together or if a judge believes they can remain cooperative in raising their child, the judge will award joint custody. However, if the judge believes that joint custody is not in the best interests of the child, then the judge is likely to award sole custody to one parent.

Child custody disputes can be settled by methods other than litigation. If they can cooperate, parents can make their own custody arrangements before taking their case to a judge.

Source:, “Custody guideline,” accessed on Nov. 26, 2014