In Michigan, like in other states, a child’s best interest is used to determine an appropriate parenting time schedule for him or her. A parenting time schedule is the court-determined time that the child spends with his or her parents, who may have joint or sole physical and legal custody of him or her.
If you are a parent going through a divorce, a parenting time arrangement will most likely be a part of your divorce settlement. Talk to your lawyer about how this arrangement is determined and how you can advocate for your right to a fair share of your child’s parenting time.
The Factors Used to Determine Parenting Time
Numerous factors are considered when determining an appropriate parenting time arrangement for a child. One of these, perhaps the most important, is the child’s current custodial environment. Generally, it is best for the child to remain in a stable custodial environment and if the court finds that the child’s current environment is a healthy, nourishing one, it will preserve this arrangement. This does not mean that an existing custodial arrangement cannot be changed, though. The court also considers a set of factors to determine the arrangement that is in the child’s best interest, which includes the following:
- The child’s academic needs and ability to fulfill them in his or her current environment;
- The child’s individual relationships with both parents;
- Each parent’s mental and physical health;
- Each parent’s capacity to provide for the child;
- Whether there is a history of domestic violence in either household; and
- Each parent’s willingness to comply with court orders.
Can a Child Choose His or Her Parenting Time Arrangement?
In certain cases, yes. If a child is old enough to develop and voice a reasonable preference for his or her own parenting time schedule, the child’s preference may be considered.
Changing a Parenting Time Order
It is possible to alter a parenting time order if it no longer meets a child’s needs. Families who opt for Friend of the Court services can receive help from their friends of the court to complete this process. To alter a parenting time order, the parent seeking the change must file a Motion to Change Parenting Time. He or she must serve this motion to the other parent, who can file a written reply or motion in response to respond to the allegations contained in the motion at the motion’s hearing. Both parents have the right to legal representation. At the hearing, the court reviews the parents’ claims and may alter or choose to preserve the existing parenting time order.
Work with an Experienced Clinton Township Family Lawyer
It is important for a child to maintain a consistent relationship with both parents after his or her parents’ divorce. Parenting time orders create the framework for these relationships and provide legal protection for them. To learn more about parenting time plans and other child custody issues, speak with one of the experienced family lawyers at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. Contact our firm today to set up your initial consultation in our office.