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Two Categories of Custody: Legal and Physical
Family law has changed quite dramatically in the United States over the past fifty-plus years. Prior to 1970, in order to be granted a divorce a party to the proceed had to provide the court with a valid reason why a divorce was being requested. Today, Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that no reason needs to be given for splitting.
While this has made it easier for spouses to exit abusive marriages, fight for custody of their biological children, and demand child support, there are still many complications that can arise during the divorce process. These can range from mild inconveniences and annoyances to rage-filled fights over custody.
Children and Divorce
Even when couple’s reason for divorce is superficial and no abuse is involved, the family courts in Michigan still favor the rights of the children every time. It is minors who often fall between the cracks during messy divorce proceedings, and the Michigan court system—along with family law attorneys—are cognizant of how divorce impacts children physically, financially, emotionally, and psychologically.
Even the most amicable divorce can be traumatic for children caught in the crossfires, especially if both biological parents have their own ideas about where they should spend most of their time. Custody battles are common enough that our family law attorney has become extremely remarkable in this are of law.
Confusion Regarding Categories
Oftentimes, during the divorce process, couples become confused about the difference between legal and physical custody. They are, in fact, two different things.
Legal custody refers to the right of one or both parents to make legal decisions on their child’s behalf. Occasionally, only one parent is granted this right. It is commonly believed that gender disparity exists in this area of family law and fathers are unfairly discriminated against. However, divorce courts ultimately favor the most appropriate care giver.
Physical custody, on the other hand, is a slightly more discriminatory process. This is the process through which the courts come to a decision regarding the permanent residence of the child. It is often physical custody which causes divorcing couples to feud. In the end, the courts will make a decision based on a wide number of “best interest” factors and place the child in the home most likely to provide a physically, financially, and emotionally stable upbringing until they are a legal adult.
Families divorce every day in Grand Rapids. Law firms with expertise and credibility are happy to provide legal aid as you navigate your own divorce involving minor children.