Kalamaoo County

Ninth Judicial Circuit Court


A number of custody arrangements are possible. The most common are:

Joint Legal Custody: Means that the parents will communicate and cooperate with one another to reach mutual decisions about major issues affecting their children. This includes, but is not limited to major medical decisions, educational decisions and religious upbringing, if any.

Joint Physical Custody: Means that a child lives with one parent part of the time and with the other parent part of the time. This does not mean that the time spent with each parent must be equal.

During the time a child is with a parent, that parent is responsible for the routine decisions regarding that child.

Split Custody: Means that one or more of the minor children live with one parent and one or more other minor children live with the other parent.

Sole (Primary Physical) Custody: Means that the child lives primarily with one parent. Generally, the other parent receives parenting time with the child.

A custody order specifies with whom a child shall live. Parents are encouraged to reach their own agreements about custody. When parents cannot agree, the judge will decide.

In deciding custody, the court must consider all of the following factors of the Michigan Child Custody Act:

  1. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.

  2. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and continuation of the educating and the raising of the child in its religion or creed, if any.

  3. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

  4. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

  5. The permanence as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

  6. The moral fitness of the parties involved.

  7. The mental and physical health of the parties involved.

  8. The home, school, and community record of the child.

  9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.

  10. The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.

  11. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against, or witnessed by the child.

  12. Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.