Divorce in Michigan – Custody of Minor Children

Divorce in Michigan: Custody of Minor Children

Do you have children, and are you considering a divorce?

Are you wondering what the difference between sole and joint custody is?

Today, we are continuing our series on divorce in Michigan. This week, I have started sharing about divorce and how it can affect your children legally. Divorce can be difficult on everyone including your children. It can help every involved to have the knowledge on what to expect.

Please remember that the information provided here is meant to be an overview and is general. If you have a specific question or questions regarding your situation, your children, or anything else regarding divorce and the custody of minor children, please leave your questions in the comment section below or call my office.

Once you have decided to go through with the divorce, there are still many more decisions to be made particularly concerning your children. To start, there are a few terms that we need to familiarize ourselves with when we are talking about custody of minor children.

Legal Custody: Michigan Legal Help has a comprehensive definition that makes this term easy to understand,

Legal custody means the right to make important decisions about your children, like where they go to school, what religion they are, and non-emergency medical decisions.”

Physical Custody: This term refers to the parent the child lives with.

Joint Custody: In joint custody, both parents can share legal and physical custody. With joint custody, both parents have a say in what school the child attends, and the child is allowed to live with both parents.

Sole Custody: Sole custody is when only one parent has custody. If sole physical custody is given, the next step will be deciding parenting time or visitation to the “noncustodial” parent. We will be reviewing this on Friday, so please make sure to come back.

As I explained earlier, every divorce is different and that is because every couple’s situation is different. You and your child’s other parent may or may not be able to easily come to an agreement on which form of custody is best.

If you are unable to agree, the court will decide custody and parenting time. The court will make the decision based on a legal test of 12 separate factors. Those factors will make up what is known as “the best interest of the child”. On Monday, we will examine each of those factors.

If you have any pressing questions about the custody of minor children in a divorce in Michigan, please contact an experienced attorney that is knowledgeable in family law. Please call my office at:

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000