Frequently Asked Questions about Child Custody Battles


Are you in the midst of a child custody battle?

What is the different between physical custody and legal custody?

Almost any parent that I have ever talked to says that they would step in front of a speeding car if it would save their child. Our children are worth more than gold to us. When facing a child custody battle, not knowing who your child will live with or how often you will get to see them can be terrifying.

Here are some of my most frequently asked questions when it comes to custody battles. If you don’t see your questions below, you can ask them in the comment section or contact my office directly.

What is physical custody?

This type of custody determines who the child is going to live with and who is responsible for daily childcare.

What is legal custody?

This type of custody determines who can make major life decisions for the child like where the child will go to school and which religious organization the child will attend.

Can only one parent have custody?

Both types of custody, legal and physical, can be awarded to both parents or just one parent.

Do I need a DNA test to prove paternity?

If both parents sign an Affidavit of Parentage, you can avoid having to get a DNA test to prove paternity.

How is paternity established?

The easy ways to help establish paternity is for the parent to sign a sworn statement saying that you are the parent. This is known as an Affidavit of Parentage.

What is an Affidavit of Parentage?

An Affidavit of Parentage is is a sworn statement by both the mother and the father of the child, stating that they are the parents. This is the easiest way to establish paternity. The Affidavit of Parentage is filed with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Here is a copy of an Affidavit of Parentage found on the website.

When parents cannot agree, how does the court decide custody?

Typically the “Best Interest of the child Factors” are used to decide custody. In the question below I answer what those 12 factors are, for more information on those 12 factors please see the following articles:

What are the “Best Interest of the Child Factors”?

Here are the 12 Best Interest of the Child Factors according to the Michigan Legislative – 722.23

  1. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  2. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
  3. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
  4. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  5. The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  6. The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  7. The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  8. The home, school, and community record of the child.
  9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  10. The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
  11. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  12. Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.


There is a lot of information provided in this article. Something that I have noticed is that every family that comes through my door has a specific situation and specific questions. If that is you, please contact me. As stated earlier, our children are incredibly valuable to us and we want the absolute best for them.

For more information about custody battles and divorce, please check out the list of articles below,