Whether you are married and going through a divorce, separating from your partner, or never lived with your child’s parent to begin with, child custody is one of the most important issues to parents in Michigan. Referred to as parenting time by Michigan courts, parenting time often determines who will get custody of a child. Further, custody determines where that child will live, when a child can visit the other parent, and which parent will have the power to make decisions about a child’s life. If you need help seeking parenting time with your child – or protecting your right to parenting time – our lawyers are here to advocate for you. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.
What Is Parenting Time?
Parenting time is more than just custody. In fact, Michigan courts, cited above, state that parenting time is the frequency and duration of time spent with parents that promotes a positive relationship between the child and each parent. The courts recognize that it is almost always in the child’s best interests to maintain a loving relationship with both of their parents, and seek to strike an arrangement that serves this interest.
Meeting the Best Interests of the Child
The amount of time that a child spends with each parent is determined based on the child’s best interests. If the child’s parents are able to work together, they can – and certainly should – create a parenting plan together that explains how the child’s best interests will be served, and addresses the issues of parenting time, supervised parenting time (if necessary), and joint custody (if within the child’s best interest).
If parents cannot come to an agreement about a parenting plan, then the court will determine how parenting time will be divided by considering the following factors:
- The love and affection that exists between each parent and the child;
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child emotionally, psychologically, and physically;
- The length of time that the child has lived in their current home and environment;
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes;
- The moral fitness of the parties involved;
- They physical and mental health of all parties;
- The home, school, and community record of the child;
- The preferences of the child, depending upon the child’s age and maturity; and
- The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents;
- Domestic violence, whether or not it was witnessed by the child;
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant.
Our Law Firm Helps You
Determining where a child will live or who will make important decisions about a child’s life is emotional; both parents are clearly invested in the child’s life. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we know that there is nothing easy about not living with your child’s other parent and having to share time. We also know that the process of determining where a child will live can be very challenging, emotional, and stressful. Throughout the entire process, our lawyers are here to advocate for you. If you are ready to schedule your free consultation and learn more about our services, contact us today online or by phone. You can reach us at 616-698-0000.