Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
Divorce can be a tumultuous experience for any family, but fortunately, it doesn’t need to be chaotic and disruptive. In Michigan, a no-fault divorce state, if one spouse wishes to part ways, the divorce court must proceed. Grand Rapids law firms deal with thousands of divorce cases annually, and no two situations are exactly alike.
In the best case scenario, your split will be amicable and you will be able to work with your divorce lawyer to divide assets evenly. However, when it comes to custody and child support, even the most civil divorce can turn ugly. In the state of Michigan, the rights of children are strongly emphasized, and divorce courts will go to great lengths to ensure that minors are placed in the safest and most psychologically healthy environment.
Many parents don’t realize how complicated it can be to navigate the legal system until they are forced to go through the process of making child support and custody arrangements with their attorney. It is highly recommended that every Grand Rapids parent or guardian seeking custody go through the process with an experienced family lawyer.
In the vast majority of cases, divorce courts grant parents joint legal custody. In short, this means that both parents will be permitted to make legal decisions on their child’s behalf. In specific circumstances, only one parent will be granted legal custody. The gender disparity in divorce courts is not as wide as commonly believed: divorce courts favor the most adequate guardian, regardless of whether they are male or female.
Though joint legal custody is generally granted without issue, obtaining full physical custody can be a more challenging process. Physical custody, of course, refers to the parent who lives with the child and is responsible for their physical care and upbringing. The court uses a variety of “best interest” factors to establish which parent will be able to provide the best physical environment for the child in accordance with their physical, psychological, emotional, and academic needs.
Divorce changes things—but it doesn’t need to severely impact your family routine. Michigan family attorneys want to help every child succeed. If you are seeking greater custody or hoping to appeal your case after losing custody, you are advised to reach out for a consultation with a Grand Rapids family attorney such as the law office of Beth Striegle.