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What is the difference between custody and parenting time?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2023 | Divorce

When parents in Michigan go through a divorce, they may have many concerns, but one of the most important to them is what will happen with their children. Parents are often concerned with which parent will receive custody of the children. Custody is a term that many people use when discussing when they will have their children in their care. However, what many parents refer to as custody is really parenting time.

There are very important differences between custody and parenting time and it is important to understand the differences.

Differences between custody and parenting time

Custody governs decision-making responsibilities. There are two types of custody as well. There is legal custody, which determines which parent will make the legal decisions for the children. These are the major decisions regarding education, medical decisions and religious decisions. Physical custody refers to the living arrangements and which parent will make the day-to-day decisions for the children.

Parenting time is when each parent will have the children in their care. Usually, children will spend some time with each parent. Parents have different options for when they will spend time with each parent though.

One option is to have a parenting time schedule, which states the specific days that the children will be with each parent. The other option is not to have a set schedule and the children will be with each parent as agreed to by the parents. Deciding to have no parenting time schedule can lead to more conflict and if the parents cannot resolve their disputes regarding parenting time, they will need to return to court.

Custody and parenting time are both very important determinations in Michigan divorces involving minor children. Both are determined based on what is in the best interests of the children and can be very fact-specific decisions. While custody will either be sole or primary to one parent or shared jointly, there are many different possibilities for parenting time. It is important to understand how these decisions are made to ensure the best results for the parents and children.