Under Michigan law, there are two aspects to custody: legal custody and physical custody. When a Court determines the custody of a child, it must follow the Child Custody Act of 1970, MCL 722.23. The best interests of the child will control the Court’s decision. A custody determination will usually address both legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the involvement of the parents in making the major decisions concerning the welfare of the child. Physical custody refers to the parent or parents with whom the child primarily resides. Both legal and physical custody can be joint or sole to one parent or the other.
Sole legal custody means one parent makes all of the major decisions, such as medical care, school or religious choice, etc., affecting the welfare of the child. Joint legal custody means the parents share in making these major decisions.
Physical custody, along with parenting time, determines which parent the child lives with and what time they spend with each parent. Sole physical custody means the child resides primarily with one parent and joint physical custody means the child resides with both parents on an alternating basis. The Friend of the Court enforces custody and parenting time orders, once in place.
If you believe the other party in your case is violating your custody order, you may submit a written complaint to the Friend of the Court with specific facts showing the violation. You can find the form here. If the Friend of the Court determines that your complaint shows a violation of your order, the office will take steps to enforce your order.