Does child custody even matter anymore?

Does child custody even matter anymore? Traditionally, Child custody came in two forms. Legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is defined by statute (MCL 722.26a(7)(b)) and refers to the “decision making authority as to important decisions affecting the welfare of the child”. However, physical custody is not defined by statute.
Rather, physical custody is referenced in case law to describe the parent with the majority of parenting time. Simply, the parent with the majority of parenting time was refered to as having physical custody. Contemporary court decisions rely on statute. Replacing the term “physical custody” with “parenting time” which is also defined by statute in MCL 722.27a.

So does child custody even matter any more?

The answer is both yes and no. Legal custody matters. Physical custody does not matter. After all, it makes no difference who has physical custody. Parenting time, or the frequency and duration each parent spends with the child(ren) is what’s important when calculating child support or determining who qualifies for the child dependency exemption or other tax credits. By: Daniel Findling (c) 2024.

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