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Understanding key child custody terms

Parents of Michigan children may be confused as they head into a divorce proceeding. Just what does a judge mean when handing down child custody orders that include physical custody and legal custody? It is true that many terms and processes related to family law can be a bit disorienting for those not familiar with the proceedings. That is why an experienced legal team is an essential ally as you head into your child custody negotiations.

First, it is important to understand some key terms when discussing child custody. Most of us only think about physical custody when we think about child custody negotiations; that is, where the child will live and who will provide daily care. However, legal custody is also an important consideration. This describes the obligation and responsibility to make decisions about the child's rearing, including health care choices, educational options and religious preferences. It is possible for parents to have physical and legal sole custody of their children.

However, a growing trend is emerging in our nation's courts, tending toward joint parenting agreements. In some cases, the parents share joint physical custody. In others, one parent has sole physical custody, but the non-custodial parent is allowed visitation rights, also known as parenting time. Visitations can include overnight or vacation visits, though they may also be restricted to supervised visits and phone calls.

No matter your child custody situation, you should realize that your case is unique and requires the knowledge provided by an experienced family law team. Every family deserves a fair legal proceeding to help them sort out their child custody concerns. Do not let your children be taken away from you because you did not seek the help of a lawyer during your child custody proceedings; instead, rely on a legal team to advocate for your rights. You can learn more about custody and parenting time on our webpage.

Source: Selleck Legal PLLC, "Selleck Legal PLLC: Child Custody" Sep. 04, 2014

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