There may be a perception that most Michigan child custody cases are rife with dispute and the sides are battling over every issue with each wanting primary custody. However, there are situations in which joint custody will be preferable. There are basics that must be in place before this can be ordered and the child’s best interests will always take precedence, but it could be beneficial to use this type of custody agreement. To determine if this is the ideal strategy, it is wise to have professional guidance.
Key factors with joint custody
Parents will be told about joint custody as the case moves forward. Either parent can ask that there be joint custody. The fundamentals of joint custody include the parents being able to discuss important matters in the child’s life and make decisions in good faith based on serving the child’s well-being. Once the parties agree that they will have joint custody, the court will likely approve it except in cases where it decides that it will not be in the child’s best interests.
The court can detail the living arrangements so the child maintains contact with both parents. With joint custody, the parent who has the child at the time will make decisions on basic matters and does not need to consult with the other parent. Even if there is joint custody, there will still be the need for child support. The child will spend a certain amount of time residing with each parent. If there are major decisions that need to be made on behalf of the child, the parents are expected to discuss them and come to a workable solution in tandem.
With any child custody case, being legally protected may be essential
Obviously, in acrimonious cases, the parents are unlikely to meet the criteria to have joint custody. However, for parents who are on reasonably good terms or can put their differences aside to focus on the child’s needs, joint custody could be a solid template for the child to maintain a relationship and have significant involvement with both parents. Regardless of the situation, parents who are divorcing and have concerns about child custody should have assistance from experienced family law professionals.