What is Legal Child Custody in Michigan?

Updated: Sep 25

Michigan has essentially two types of custody, Physical Custody and Legal Custody. This article will discuss “Legal Custody”. To see more on Physical Custody, click here.


Legal custody is the right to make legal decisions for a minor child, such as major decisions about that child’s medical care, schooling and religion. It includes major decisions, like where a child goes to school and whether a child can have a major medical procedure.


Most parents share “joint legal custody” of their children with each having the ability to have a say in major decisions. It would be uncommon for only one parent to have sole legal custody in most situations. It’s important to remember that when the Court enters an Order on Legal Custody, that Order is meant to be permanent, so it’s important to make sure you are receiving appropriate legal guidance from an attorney.


Legal Custody provides that each parent has the right to share decision-making authority as to the important decisions affecting the welfare of their children with each having the full legal capacity, as a parent, to authorize emergency medical treatment for the children whenever an emergency may arise while the child is in that parent’s care. Each parent will have complete access to medical, school, and other documentary information concerning the children. Important decisions shall include, but shall not be limited to, notification of school conferences, special activities, serious academic or medical conditions, and any contemplated change in the children’s schooling. If parents disagree on any legal decisions, the Court will make the final decision regarding the child.


Legal Custody can also require parents to:

  • Foster, encourage, and support the relationship between the child and the other parent;

  • Have access to the child’s medical and school records;

  • Advise each other promptly of any serious illness, emergency, or any other significant that may arise while the child is with him or her;

  • Decide all routine matters concerning the child’s welfare during the time the child is in his or her respective possession;

  • Support the other in enforcement of reasonable rules and regulations for the child;

  • Respect the other party’s religion; and

  • Refrain from any action that may estrange the child from the other parent or tend to discredit, cause disrespect to, or diminish the quality of the relationship with the other parent.

If you find yourself dealing with legal custody or parenting time issues, Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles cases in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and all surrounding counties, call today for a consultation. 269-381-4471



269-381-4471

121 W Cedar Street

Kalamazoo, MI 49007

All information provided on this site should not be construed as legal advice.   Always meet with an attorney to find out your legal options.

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