Compassionate Family Law Attorney Protecting Your Rights and Interests
When dealing with issues in the family court, the most sensitive and potentially volatile situations are those that involve children. As a parent, you want what is in the best interests of your child, and being able to spend quality time together is an important part in fostering a healthy parent/child relationship. At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our experienced family law attorney provides knowledgeable, compassionate legal representation to assist you in establishing parenting time arrangements that suit both you and your child’s needs. In many cases, an original parenting order that is filed through the court eventually proves inadequate in terms of meeting those needs. A modification of this order is required to ensure you and your child get the amount of time together you both deserve.
Your Rights To Parenting Times
During the process of going through a divorce involving children or in other child custody disputes, a parenting time order may be entered through the court, which provides a guideline for when, where, and how often you see your child. Under Michigan Parenting Time Guidelines, the court aims at establishing parenting time in a length and frequency that will promote a strong relationship between you and your child. At minimum, parenting time should include the following:
- Alternating weekend parenting time, which runs from 6:00 p.m. Friday to 6:00 p.m. Sunday.
- Weekday parenting time, set to occur from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on an evening agreed upon by both parties. In the event an agreement cannot be reached, the visitation will occur on Wednesdays.
- Holiday parenting time, in which holidays are divided fairly between both parents based on the parents being given the rights to specific holidays on even or odd numbered years.
- Spring, summer, and winter vacation parenting time, again based on rights assigned to each parent based on even or odd number years.
Requesting A Parenting Time Modification
Under Section 722.27a of the Michigan Child Custody Act, our family law attorney can request a modification of the parenting time order on the grounds that one of the parents is not receiving the amount of time with the child they are entitled to by the court, as well as in circumstances in which time spent with one of the parents is determined to not be in the best interests of the child. The court also allows a parenting time modification when other factors that relate to the existing order need to be more well defined, such as the following:
- The division of responsibility in terms of arranging transportation for the child to visitations;
- Restrictions on the presence of third parties during parenting time;
- Requirements for providing notice when parenting time is canceled or will not occur for any reason;
- Specific instructions on having the child ready for parenting time, as well as instructions for when the child should be picked up or dropped off with the other parent.
The court will then consider the parenting time factors set forth in MCL 722.27a(7) to determine the frequency, duration and type of parenting time that should be granted. MCL 722.27a(7) has nine factors, and they are:
- 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.
The court will also consider the best interest of the child the child 12 best interest factors, but may only focus on one of a few issues in those factors. However, if the parenting time modification request would result in a change of custody, it may not be granted unless the court finds the change would be in the best interest of the child (See Child Custody and Petitions for Custody Page for more information).
Legal Representation You Can Trust In Family Court Matters
At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we know that the health and well-being of your child or children is your top priority. If you or someone you care about is involved in a dispute over parenting time or needs to modify an existing parenting time order, contact our experienced Grand Rapid family law attorney today. We provide the aggressive legal representation you need to ensure the rights and interests of you and your loved ones are protected.