The end of a relationship can be difficult. This is especially true when children are involved. For Michigan parents, deciding on a child custody protocol will hinge on many factors. In some instances, the relationship between the parents is cordial enough – even friendly – so they consider having a joint custody agreement.
The court must consider a request from the parents for joint custody. Still, it will assess the child’s best interests and how they will be served before approving or denying it. If joint custody does not serve those best interests, it will likely be denied.
Essential aspects of joint custody that parents should remember
It is important to remember there are two types of joint custody: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. With joint legal custody, the parents will share the decision-making process on key issues such as medical care and schooling. It is not contingent on how much time the child spends with each parent.
For joint physical custody, the parents will each have the child at specified times. This does not mean they will have equal decision-making authority. That hinges on the judge also ordering joint legal custody.
Parents can agree to joint custody on their own, but it will be up to the court’s discretion whether to approve it. If, for example, there are personal issues with one parent that make it worrisome, the court could deny the request based on the child’s best interests. Once joint custody has been ordered, there will be a statement about when the child will live with each parent.
While the child is with one parent or the other, that parent will make all the basic decisions. A joint custody arrangement could say that the child lives with one parent during the week and the other on weekends.
If the parents agree on joint custody, they may come up with their own schedule for where the child will reside, which the court can approve.
With joint custody or other family law issues, having help can be essential
There is a common misconception that joint custody means the parents share time with the child 50-50. That is not necessarily so. There is a litany of considerations that are factored in with joint custody or any other kind of decision.
With these sensitive matters, it is imperative to think about the child and try to forge a reasonable child custody agreement. In these cases, it is important to have experienced assistance to be protected and reach an acceptable outcome.