Whatever Happened to ‘Shared Parenting’ in Michigan? (Pt. 1)

Did Michigan pass the 50/50 shared parenting law? Why not, and would it have been good for kids?


The term ‘shared parenting’ conjures different ideas for different people. But here in Michigan, the term shared parenting refers to divorced parents evenly dividing custody of their children. In other words, a 50/50 split where each parent gets an equal amount of time with their child. It’s actually a rather controversial subject here in the Great Lakes state, with some people believing adamantly that it’s the best thing for parents and kids, and others saying it’s a disaster for some families and shouldn’t be required in all child custody situations. So which is it? Let’s take a look…


Isn’t joint custody the same as shared custody in Michigan?


That depends on who you ask.Some people use the terms interchangeably, and some apply very specific terms to very specific ideas. Joint custody (and often shared parenting) means that both parents have custody of their child, or children, but that can be divided a lot of different ways. Joint custody can mean anything from an even 50/50 split, all the way up to one parent having visitation every other other week, while the other parent cares for the child almost all of the time.  


Can parents split custody of their child 50/50 if they want to?


Yes, in most cases, if the parents agree that their child should spend an equal amount of time with both parents, and they’re able to work out a shared custody schedule that works for them, the court will support this choice. However, it isn’t legally required in Michigan that parents divide their custody time as an even split.


What does the law say in Michigan about child custody?


Current Michigan law says that child custody should be decided based on what is in the best interests of the child. Which means that there is no predetermined break down for how a custody agreement should look. Each case is handled differently, and in each situation, what’s best for the child should be the primary consideration when assigning custody. It has been called a “child-centered custody law” and one that’s been in effect in Michigan for almost 50 years. However, recently a new bill was introduced that would change that.


How does the new bill hope to change child custody agreements in Michigan?


House Bill 4691 aims to change the current status quo by making ‘shared parenting’ the default setting for divorces. In other words, unless a parent can prove that it would be detrimental to a child’s wellbeing, all custody agreements in Michigan would be 50/50 splits, with each parent receiving an equal amount of time with their child. Is this a good idea? Lots of people say yes, and just as many say no.


Are you trying to figure out a good custody arrangement for your family?

Join us next time, for a look at House Bill 4691, and a discussion about why some people think it would be exactly what Michigan needs, and why others don’t! Until then, if you’re getting divorced and have questions or concerns about child custody, come and talk to the people who can really make a difference. At The Kronzek Firm, our skilled family law attorneys have helped countless parents to work out the best custody agreements, that work for what’s best for their kids. Call us today at 866 766 5245 and let us help you too.