For Your Information: Types Of Child Custody Available

Wanting custody of your kids after a divorce is what most parents pursue. But what are your options?


While most people are familiar with the term “custody“, as in, “I have custody of my daughter” or “my ex is suing for custody of the kids”, not everyone is aware of just how many forms custody can take. Another factor that confuses people is that custody means different things in different U.S. states, so what you see in movies and TV shows may not be something that is allowed in Michigan.


Brandy Thompson, a family law attorney at The Kronzek Firm, says that when her clients say they want custody of their child, she asks them to explain exactly what that means to them. “Because the term “custody” has a variety of different meanings it is important for the client and lawyer to be on the same page with regard to this extremely important issue.”


With that in mind, we have compiled a complete list of all the many types of custody available today. However, please keep in mind that in order to know what types of custody arrangements are available to you, you would need to speak with a skilled Michigan family law attorney. Making custody plans, or assuming you understand custody law in Michigan can lead to messy legal situations. Always discuss your options with your attorney first!


Sole Custody

Sole custody refers to the fact that only one parent has custody of the child or children. However, sole custody can refer to sole legal custody or sole physical custody, or both.


Physical Custody

This type of custody determines which parent the child will live with and spend more time with. Physical custody involves the day-to-day care of a child.


Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the ability to make major decisions about a child’s life. Examples of this include: school, health care, religious beliefs, methods of discipline, and choices affected by moral concerns.


Joint Custody

Joint custody refers to the fact that both parents share custody of the child or children. However, like sole custody, joint custody can refer to joint physical, joint legal custody, or both.


Split Custody

This is an arrangement in which one parent would have full custody over one or more children, and the other parent would have full custody over the remaining one or more children. This gives each parent at least one child for which they are fully responsible, but splits up siblings from the same biological family.


Alternating Custody

This is an arrangement where the child or children will live with one parent for an extended period of time, and then live with the other parent for a period of time. While a child is with a parent during this arrangement, that parent retains full and sole custody. This is also sometimes referred to as Divided Custody.


Shared Custody

Similar to Alternating custody, in this arrangement the child or children would live for an extended period of time with one parent, and then for a similar period of time with the other parent. However, unlike alternating custody agreements, both parents would retain authority over the child or children throughout.


Bird’s Nest Custody

In a Bird’s nest custody agreement, the children remain at a fixed address and the parents move in and out of the residence for the duration of their custody period. This puts the burden of the upheaval and change on the parents and not on the child or children.


Third Party Custody

This type of custody occurs when the child or children are not under the care of either birth parent, but are rather cared for and placed under the legal custody of a third person. In some cases this third person will be a relative of the child, in other cases it may be a foster parent.


We hope this list was informative and interesting. If you have any questions about child custody, or are interested in changing your current custody arrangement, please contact us at 517 866 1000. Our highly skilled family law attorneys have decades of experience and can help you with all of your Michigan divorce and custody concerns..