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Michigan Family Law Blog

Michigan Child Custody FAQ's

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Oct 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

Our child custody lawyer in Oakland County answers frequently asked questions that we receive from new clients.  There is a lot of misinformation about child custody which causes confusion and misunderstanding by the public.  State law vary significantly or subtly on child custody. This blog addresses these frequently asked questions to help you make smart, informed decisions about your child and your situation.

If you still have questions or want more specific information about your child custody matter, please contact North Oakland Divorce Lawyer today either by using our online form or calling us directly at (248) 608-4123 to schedule a consultation.

What is the most common child custody arrangement in Michigan?

Child custody arrangements vary from family to family and state to state. There are several arrangements that are more popular than others, including legal custody, physical custody, sole custody, joint legal custody, and sole legal custody. Of these, joint legal custody is the most common custody arrangement. This is where both parents are involved in the decisions regarding how their child is raised. 

If we were never married, do I still need a custody order?

The answer to this question depends on your end goal. If you are seeking to establish any rights to the child, including custody, visitation, or child support, the answer is yes.  In Michigan, when a child is born out of wedlock, the mother has sole custody unless a court has issued an order to the contrary. 

How is child custody determined in Michigan?

In most states and most situations, when the parents of a child are able to agree on a child custody arrangement, the court will issue an order that confirms the terms of the agreement. When the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, they may have to attend mediation in an attempt to help the parties reach an amicable agreement. When all else fails, the court will hear the matter and issue an order the parties must abide by. The court will consider testimony and other evidence when deciding child custody. The best interests of the child is always the criteria the court uses in these decisions. 

What's the difference between legal and physical custody?

When a parent has physical custody, they actually have the child placed with them. This is the parent that lives with the child and takes care of their everyday needs. One parent may have primary physical custody while the other has secondary physical custody.  These days, the parents typically have a more shared physical custody arrangement in Michigan.

A parent that has legal custody is the one that is allowed to make important decisions about the child, including decisions regarding the child's medical care, education, and religious upbringing. Joint legal custody may be awarded to both parents so that they both have input in making these important decisions for their child.  

Does custody always go to one parent?

This is an incorrect assumption many people make. The answer is “no.” The truth is that courts in Michigan most often award other types of custody arrangements, such as joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or a combination of both.  The courts always consider the evidence and the best interest of the child to be of paramount concern. 

Do I need a child custody lawyer in Michigan?

Child custody laws are nuanced yet stringent. Mistakes are not affordable because the custody of your child is at stake. In many cases, parents mutually agree on child custody arrangements, and so that makes the matter easier but it is wise to have an attorney that can correctly explain the law and draft the necessary documents to make the agreement legally binding and guide you through the process.  In contentious situations, a child custody lawyer is highly recommended. It takes skills, knowledge, and a lot of perseverance to make sure the child custody arrangement approved or ordered by the court is fair and just and reflects what you had anticipated.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Michigan Today

If you need help with a child custody case, contact North Oakland Divorce Lawyer. Our child custody attorney in Michigan will advise you of your rights and guide you through the process. Contact us online or at (248)608-4123 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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