Parenting Time

During divorce proceedings or when parents otherwise separate, visitation and the amount of time that parents are allowed to spend with their children is a very highly debated issue, ripe with emotion and fear. Parenting time is the time that a child spends with his or her parents. Michigan law recognizes the importance of allowing children to spend time with both parents in order to facilitate and promote the healthy development and wellbeing of children in the State. Unless there is evidence that parenting time would be prejudicial to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health, parenting time is presumed to be in the best interests of the child.

Parenting time should be of a frequency, duration and type reasonably calculated to promote a strong relationship between the child and the parent. If the parents can agree on a schedule, the courts will generally uphold the agreement, if it is flexible and reasonable. If the parties, however, cannot agree, the court will issue an order specifying exactly when the child will spend time with the non-custodial parent. When determining parenting time, courts will consider:

  1. The existence of any special circumstances or needs of the child.
  2. 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.
  3. The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.
  4. The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time.
  5. The inconvenience to, and burdensome impact or effect on, the child of traveling to and from the parenting time.
  6. Whether a parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.
  7. Whether the parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time.
  8. The custodial parent’s intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent.
  9. Any other relevant factors.

It is important to have an attorney assist you through the process. There are a significant number of factors that are used in determining parenting time, and it is important to be represented by an attorney who is well-versed in the factors that courts take into consideration. At the Law Office of Patrick L. Chatterton, we will protect your rights as a parent and promote the best interests of your children.