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Physical child custody versus legal child custody

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2023 | Child Custody |

Parents in Michigan typically only want what is best for their children. When parents divorce, child custody is often one of the most challenging things to figure out and agree upon. Although a variety of child custody arrangements are possible, it can be broken down into two primary types: physical custody and legal custody 

Physical custody 

When a parent has physical custody, it means that individual; is designated as the parent with whom the children will principally reside. This parent provides housing and takes care of the children’s needs on a day-to-day basis. Physical custody can be either sole or joint. These days, shared physical custody is the preferred arrangement. However, as with all decisions pertaining to child custody, the courts will base their decisions on the children’s best interests. 

Legal custody 

When a parent has legal custody, he or she has the right to make the major decisions related to their child’s upbringing. These are usually decisions involving health care, education, religion and extra-curricular activities. Like physical custody, legal custody can be either sole or joint. If a parent is awarded sole legal custody, it typically means he or she has the right to make all decisions related to the children without consulting the other parent. 

Where to go for help 

When it comes to child custody, the courts will always focus on the children’s best interests and well-being regardless of what parents want. However, the criteria for making these custody decisions can vary from state to state. Parents in Michigan who have questions or need help with any matter relating to child custody could benefit by speaking with a knowledgeable legal professional. An experienced family law attorney can help a parent obtain a long-lasting solution that benefits the client and has the best interests of the children at the forefront. 


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