Family Law Attorneys in Michigan
Parenting time, previously called visitation, in Michigan is used to promote continuing and strong relationships between each parent and the child or children. Parenting time is different from custody in that it describes the frequency, duration and type of time required to maintain and promote a strong relationship between the parent and non-custodial parent. It is determined either by a written agreement between the parents or by determination by a Court. If parents of a minor child or children agree to a parenting time schedule, generally a Court will approve the agreement and enter it as an Order of the court.
If parents are unable to agree on parenting time, the court will apply the “best interests of the child factors” contained in the Michigan Child Custody Act in making its parenting time decision. The case will first be referred to the Friend of the Court for investigation and recommendation. If either parent disagrees with the recommendation, the matter will be decided by the Judge assigned to the case. Oftentimes the Judge will agree with the recommendation of the Friend of the Court.
When applying the “best interests of the child factors” to a parenting time dispute, the Court will consider and evaluate the following and determine how the factors will promote a strong relationship between each parent and the child or children. Generally, parenting time considerations are more adaptable and flexible concepts than a custody determination.
Best Interests of the Child Factors: MCL 722.23
- The love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection and guidance and the continuation of the educating and raising of the child in its religion or creed, if any.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care and other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
- The moral fitness of the parties involved.
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
- The home, school and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
- 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.
- Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against, or witnessed, by the child.
- Any other factor considered by the court to be of relevance to a particular child custody dispute.
In addition to the above factors, the Court may consider the following additional factors in determining parenting time if appropriate:
Parenting Time Factors: MCL 722.27a(6)
- The existence of any special circumstances or needs of the child.
- Whether the child is a nursing child less than 6 months of age, or less than 1 year of age if the child receives substantial nutrition through nursing.
- The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.
- The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time.
- The inconvenience to, and burdensome impact or effect on, the child of traveling to and from the parenting time.
- Whether the visiting parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the Court Order.
- Whether the visiting parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time.
- The threatened or actual detention of the child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent or from a third person who has legal custody. A custodial parent’s temporary residence with the child in a domestic violence shelter shall not be construed as evidence of the custodial parent’s intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent.
- Any other relevant factors.
Chapman Law Group is dedicated to helping families and individuals who are going through issues related to parenting time and custody. If you have any questions or are in need of assistance, please call Chapman Law Group to talk to one of our experienced attorneys.