Many Michigan residents will have to navigate divorce proceedings this year. Especially for those who are confronting the process for the first time, questions may arise regarding child custody and related issues. For instance, many parents wonder who is considered the primary caretaker when they are both actively involved in the care and upbringing of their children.
A primary caretaker is typically responsible for the daily care and nurturing of the children involved. Many times, this transcends a physical need of some sort. This is why things like helping with school work, providing emotional and logistical support for sports activities and even meal planning and preparation are also considered primary tasks.
The court has the ultimate say in determining who is the primary caretaker in situations where the parents cannot come to an agreement between themselves. Every state has its own guidelines regarding key factors used to determine such issues. All states, however, consider the best interests of children in approving or deciding child custody arrangements, including -- when applicable -- which parent is to be considered the primary caretaker.
A child's preference may be considered in some circumstances, as well as which parent provided most care during marriage. The court no longer assumes a mother is a primary caregiver because many families include fathers who take on the role by staying home full time to care for children. A Michigan parent may seek clarification of state guidelines by consulting with a family law attorney before negotiating a child custody plan.
Source: FindLaw, "Preference for the "Primary Caretaker"", Accessed on Feb. 6, 2017