In any child custody case, one parent will typically be named as the custodial parent and assume primary responsibility for the child’s overall well-being. Depending on the arrangement, the other parent may or may not share authority for making important decisions about the child’s life. Either way, Michigan law provides that it is the right of the child to have parenting time with both parents unless spending time with a particular parent would “endanger the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health.”
Parenting time—sometimes called visitation in other states—is determined based on the child’s best interests. Parents are encouraged to develop a parenting time schedule that meets their needs, but if the parents cannot reach an agreement, a schedule may be set by the court upon consideration of a number of statutory factors, including:
- Any special needs or circumstances affecting the child;
- The likelihood of abuse of the child or parent;
- The inconvenience to the child required to travel between homes;
- Whether a parent is expected to comply with the order;
- A parent’s previous failures to exercise parenting time;
- Any attempts by a parent to keep the child from the other parent; and
- Any other factor found to be relevant.
A reasonable parenting time agreement should be customized to meet your family’s unique needs regarding birthdays, holidays, school calendars, family traditions, and extracurricular activities.
Washtenaw County Parenting Time Disputes
If either parent acts or fails to act in such a way that the other parent’s parenting time is compromised, the situation may constitute a parenting time violation. In Michigan, the Friend of the Court (FOC) is a government agency that provides assistance to parents with custody, parenting time, and child support concerns. The FOC is required to initiate enforcement activities if it receives a written complaint with evidence to support a parenting time order violation. Such enforcement measures may result in the commencement of civil contempt proceedings or the modification of the existing parenting time order.