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Parenting Time Vs. Custody In Michigan: What You Need To Know

Parenting Time vs. Custody in Michigan: What You Need to Know

When two parents decide to separate or divorce, the most challenging decision they have to make is regarding their children’s future. Child custody and parenting time are the two most crucial aspects that need to be addressed. While both concepts are closely related to each other, they are not the same. In Michigan, the terms have their meanings and different legal implications. If you are facing a child custody issue, you need to understand what these terms imply and how they can affect your child’s future. In this blog post, we’ll explain what you need to know about parenting time vs. custody in Michigan.

Custody in Michigan

In Michigan, custody applies to both legal and physical custody of a child. Legal custody means the right to make critical decisions about a child’s life, such as education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody refers to where the child will live and who will be responsible for taking care of the child. Child custody can be awarded either solely to one parent, also known as sole custody, or to both parents, also called joint custody. The court will determine what type of custody will serve the best interests of the child.

Parenting Time

Parenting time refers to the amount of time a non-custodial parent spends with their child. In Michigan, parenting time is awarded to the non-custodial parent, and it is based on the child’s best interests and the parents’ schedules. Parenting time can be divided equally between both parents or distributed in a way that suits the parents’ schedules and the child’s needs. The court will also consider factors such as the child’s age, health, and preferences before awarding parenting time.

How Custody and Parenting Time are Determined

Michigan courts determine the matters based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider various factors such as:

  • The child’s age, health, and preferences
  • The parents’ mental and physical health
  • The parents’ willingness to co-parent
  • The parents’ ability to provide for the child’s needs
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse

Modifying Custody and Parenting Time

Child custody and parenting time orders are not permanent and can be modified based on a significant change in circumstances. If one parent wants to change the order agreement, they must petition the court and show the reason for the change. The court will then re-evaluate the child’s best interests and make a decision based on that.

Seeking Legal Help

Child custody and parenting time disputes can be challenging and emotional. If you are facing these issues, you need an experienced Michigan child custody lawyer to help you negotiate the legal process and protect your child’s best interests. A skilled attorney can represent you in court, help you understand your rights, and work towards a favorable outcome for you and your child.


Child custody and parenting time are essential aspects that need to be addressed in a divorce or separation involving children. Understanding the difference between custody and parenting time is crucial in making informed decisions regarding your child’s future. In Michigan, courts determines the matter based on the child’s best interests. If you’re facing any of the issues stated you need legal help. Contact Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC today to discuss your rights and options. Give us a call at 586-496-7525.

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