There are any number of issues that may lead a Michigan parent to file for divorce. After making such a decision, the parent must negotiate child custody issues. Where will the children live and who will have legal custody, as well as will a noncustodial parent pay child support? These and other questions must be answered in order to achieve a settlement.
Child custody is a broad term that includes physical and legal custody. The parent or parents with legal custody have the authority to make decisions on behalf of a child or children. Parents often share legal custody, but it is possible that one parent may request sole legal custody as well.
If the court grants one parent sole legal custody of his or her children, it may have benefits as well as downsides. If the relationship between co-parents is contentious, a parent with sole legal custody might feel relieved that he or she does not have to seek the co-parent’s agreement regarding education, medical, faith or other decision topics. On the other hand, however, having sole decision-making authority can seem daunting at times.
It is possible for a pair of Michigan parents to share physical custody but not legal custody in a divorce. The reverse may also be true, where only one parent has physical custody but both parents must consult each other and agree about life decisions that affect their children. A concerned parent may discuss custody issues with an experienced family law attorney to gain support in determining what may or may not be best in a particular set of circumstances.