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Definition of Parenting Time

Michigan statutes recognize that when parents separate ordivorce, their child(ren)’s best interests are served by continuation ofthe parent/child relationship.

So strong is this recognition that the law establishes apresumption that it is in the best interests of a child(ren) to havestrong relationships with

both parents. Therefore, parenting time should be of afrequency, duration and type reasonably calculated to promote a strongrelationship between the child(ren) and the parent. The child(ren) has a right toparenting time unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincingevidence that parenting time would endanger the child(ren)’s physical, mentalor emotional health (MCL 722.27a).


Parenting Time

Parenting time is time set aside by court order for a parent and child(ren) to spend together in the absence of a contrary agreement by the parties. Michigan law recognizes that it is in the best interests of the child(ren) that parenting time occur in a frequency, duration, and type reasonably calculated to promote a strong relationship between the child(ren) and the parent. To this end, parenting time should be on a regular schedule with specific consistent starting and ending times for the ease of the parties and child(ren) in planning their schedules.  Ideally, orders should provide for changing needs of the child(ren) and changes in the parties’ schedules. Parties should adopt parenting time schedules that are flexible and expansive while keeping in mind their child(ren)’s need for certainty and stability. When the parties adopt a schedule, the courts normally will not interfere with the schedule unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The sample schedule presented in this guideline (see link to guidline below) is based upon the most commonly used schedules across the state. Specific days and periods of time have been chosen for ease of use. Specific parenting time is designated to occur with fathers in some years and mothers in other years in order to promote uniformity and ease of use across the state. Parties should develop a schedule that best accommodates their own families’ situation. Whenever possible, the parents should attempt to begin parenting time immediately after school is dismissed for the day when parenting time occurs on a weekday during the school year. If this cannot be arranged, or, if the parties cannot agree, the specific times in the sample schedule (or another specific time to which the parties can agree) should be used.  Although the parties may agree to use the sample schedule, or it may be necessary to use the sample schedule because the parties cannot agree, the preferred schedule is one that the parties develop themselves.

 

 
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