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Michigan family law: Sole custody basics

Parents in Michigan who are going through divorce or separation have a number of custody options open to them. This week's family law column will be addressing one of those options in particular -- sole custody.  What is it? Who can it? Is it the right way to go?

If sole custody is awarded, it means that only one parent receives physical and legal custody of the children. The kids will live with this parent and this parent will get to make all the major life decisions for the children regarding things like schooling, medical care and religious upbringing -- among many others. Sole custody can prevent a lot of problems, as the noncustodial parent simply will not get a say in any of it. 

Being awarded sole custody does not mean that the other parent loses his or her rights to visitation. He or she may still get scheduled time with the children, if it is deemed in their best interest. A noncustodial parent who has a history of violence or addiction may be denied visitation rights. 

Either parent can request sole custody. Whether it is appropriate for the situation will be determined by a judge. There certainly are times when it is justified, but more courts are moving to awarding shared custody so that children have equal access to both parents. 

Sole custody is just one custody option. At the end of the day, many Michigan families are finding that just about anything goes with child custody -- as long as the final order works to serve the best interests of the affected children. A family law attorney can help clients create custody plans that do just that. 

Source: FindLaw, "Sole Custody", Accessed on April 26, 2018

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