Parenting Time For The Protection Of Parent-Child Relationships
If you have a visitation or parenting time matter in Michigan, you need an understanding, aggressive and experienced family law attorney to ensure you get the custody and visitation arrangements that you deserve. At Garton & Vogt, P.C., you will find the guidance you need as you negotiate parenting time agreements that will ideally work for every member of the family. Our lawyers can help you devise workable visitation plans.
We understand that absolutely nothing is more important to you than your children – and the time you spend with them. Whether your child visitation plan is established through a divorce, a family support case or a paternity case, we can help you understand your rights and obtain a favorable visitation schedule for you and your child.
Understanding Michigan Parenting Time Law With The Help Of A Macomb County Attorney
In Michigan, the time a child spends with the noncustodial parent is called “parenting time” by the court. It was formerly called “visitation.” Under Michigan law – unless there are unusual circumstances (such as drug usage or criminal conduct) — it is considered to be in the child’s best interests to have a strong relationship with both parents. The court will almost always favor a child custody and parenting time (visitation) agreement that will encourage a child’s ongoing relationship with both parents.
Generally, if the parties and their attorneys can reach a parenting time (visitation) agreement, the court will approve it (unless there is some detriment to the child). If the parties simply cannot work out the terms of visitation (parenting time), the judge will be forced to make the determination – based upon the circumstances of both parents and recommendations of the Friend of the Court.
What is Reasonable Or Liberal Parenting Time? Ask A Lawyer.
When both parents are able to “get along” with each other, “reasonable” or “liberal” parenting time may be agreed upon by the parties and/or ordered by the court. Under this type of arrangement, specific days and time frames are not specified — and the parents are free to work it out between themselves. This allows parents the greatest flexibility and enables them to adjust the parenting time schedule as the child’s needs and schedules change, without having to go back to court.
Generally, however, most parents are encouraged to have some form of a fixed schedule of parenting time — which includes details as to which parent will have the child(ren) during the week, on weekends, specific holidays and school breaks. Having a set schedule is beneficial because both parents know what is expected — and it is enforceable in court if disputes arise.
What If Parents Can’t Agree on Visitation? Consult With An Attorney.
The judge in a child custody case will often refer parents who cannot reach a visitation agreement to mediation, or to the Friend of the Court (FOC), for an investigation into the facts of the case. The FOC or mediator will make a recommendation as to a specific visitation schedule that should be imposed upon the family.
In cases where parents cannot agree, the advice and representation of an experienced family law attorney can be essential — in order to present the parent’s best position to the Court and to defend against any allegations made by the other spouse.
Ideally, both parents would be able to agree on the specific days and times that each parent would have the child. When parents are cooperative it causes less psychological stress to the child. Sadly, however, one parent is often simply uncooperative, unreasonable, or even vindictive. When this happens, and the parents cannot agree on parenting time, it is important to have an experienced lawyer and strong legal representation so that the Court will make a fair determination about parenting time.
Common Visitation Arrangements
In Macomb County, it is most common for the Judge to allow the child(ren) to live during the week with the parent who can provide the “most stable” environment (See more about child custody here.) The non-custodial parent is then usually (though not always) allowed to see the child as follows:
- One evening during every week
- Every other weekend
- On alternating holidays
- For two to four weeks during summer vacations from school.
If there are no extenuating circumstances (such as parental unfitness, drug usage or medical needs of a child,) this is the most common parenting time arrangement that is imposed by the judges in Macomb County.
Understanding The Relationship Between Visitation And Child Support
It is important to note that child support is typically based on the number of overnights spent with each parent. This means that parenting time will likely directly impact the child support that is paid or received. Unfortunately, this can sometimes motivate parents to try to manipulate parenting time simply to obtain more – or pay less – child support. We discourage clients from using monetary factors to determine the custody and visitation arrangement that will serve them and their children well.
It is especially important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side when child custody and support are under discussion. An experienced lawyer can help make sure that the parenting time that is best for the child is ordered. They can make sure that the child support you receive — or are ordered to pay — is fair.
Get Your Questions Answered
Each family has unique concerns that may affect parenting time arrangements. To avoid spinning your wheels in fruitless negotiations with the other parent, work with a highly trained family law attorney. Garton & Vogt, P.C., offers clients this opportunity.