There are a plethora of matters that have to be sorted out when divorcing. Some of these matters can be handled quite amicably and without having to get the courts involved. Other issues are more complex and require court attention. With respect to child custody in divorce, this topic tends to fall into the complex category in most cases. Because every parent wants to spend time with their child and be with them on a continual, regular basis, divorce can throw a wrench into this and leave the parents feeling upset. Undoubtedly, when a court issues a child custody order, even if it is for joint custody, the relationship between the parent and the child will inevitably change.
Many forms of child custody arrangements exist and can be applied in child custody situation. For instance, there is legal custody, sole custody, physical custody and joint custody. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the case, one of these types of custody arrangements will be used. Joint custody is the one where the parents share custody of the child.
In Michigan, they call this parenting time. When there is not a prior agreement, the courts will order parenting time. This is a time for parents to spend quality time with their child on a regular basis. Parenting time also provides for flexibility in scheduling things with the child and the like. The idea behind parenting time is for parents to have quality contact with their child on as frequent a basis as possible.
Each state has rules and regulations pertaining to divorce that they have to abide by and these vary from state to state. When dealing with custody matters, the courts are in one accord as far as the standard that is applied. The best interest of the child standard is what the courts utilize to determine the best placement for the child. This also includes taking into account the type of custody that would be most beneficial for the child. At the end of the day, the courts seemingly make child custody more about the child's needs than the parents.
Source: Michigan Courts, "Michigan Parenting Time Guideline," accessed Oct. 23, 2014