Similar to custody, parenting time is granted in accordance with the 12 best interest factors. In Michigan, it is presumed to be in the best interests of a child for the child to have a strong relationship with both of his or her parents. Parenting time can be granted in very specific terms, or, if the parties so desire, the schedule can be more open and flexible.
In addition to the best interest factors, the Court can consider parenting time factors, which include:
- 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 for purposes of parenting time.
- Whether a parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.
- Whether a 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.
There are many different terms and conditions that can be established with respect to parenting time that you should discuss with your attorney (e.g. specific pick up/drop off times; supervised parenting time; make-up parenting time, etc.).
A previous Judgment or Order regarding parenting time may be modified only if there is a showing of proper cause or change of circumstances. This initial threshold for parenting time modifications is not as stringent as when analyzed in the context of a custody modification, so it is important to discuss the difference with an attorney. The Court will apply a specific legal burden depending on whether or not the parenting time change will alter the child’s established custodial environment.
We welcome you to contact our office to schedule your confidential consultation. Consultations can be scheduled during regular business hours, Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on evenings and weekends upon request.