Parents have the legal right to have time with their children and also certain responsibility. Your obligation to your children and your rights as a parent influence the custody terms that you set when you divorce.
You and your ex will either need to negotiate arrangements yourselves or litigate in family court. Whether you intend to go to court or to handle things on your own for a faster, uncontested divorce, it is important that you understand the two different kinds of joint custody possible so that you can ask for the right terms.
Legal and physical custody are both important
Parents or the courts can create unique custody arrangements depending on a family’s needs. Often, parents need to divide both physical and legal custody.
Physical custody is what you likely think of when you think of custody. It involves time with the children and the responsibility to be there for them if something happens during the school day.
Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to your right to make decisions on behalf of your child. Legal custody is what lets you remove your child from a public school and homeschool them or decline certain kinds of medical care.
Generally speaking, parents will usually have shared legal and physical custody. Still, the exact division of those rights and responsibilities will depend on your family situation. There are scenarios where parents share physical custody, but only one has legal custody, for example. Learning more about the terminology that applies to Michigan custody cases can help you push for the best arrangements for your family.