Setting up a plan for parenting time after a separation or divorce can be an overwhelming experience. There are many questions that parents may have, such as who should have custody, how much time the children should spend with each parent, and what to do if there is a conflict. Read on for information on Michigan child custody laws and guidelines, as well as tips for coping with parenting time conflicts.
How to Create a Co-Parenting Agreement
If you are getting divorced or separated and have children, you will need to create a co-parenting agreement. This document will outline how you will both share parenting responsibilities after the divorce is final.
A co-parenting agreement should include a schedule for when each parent will have custody of the children, as well as which holidays they will spend with each parent. It should also specify how decisions about the children will be made, and what happens if one parent wants to move away with the kids.
In order to create a co-parenting agreement that works for both parents, it is important to communicate and negotiate effectively. You may need to compromise on some things in order to come up with an agreement that everyone can live with.
Child Custody Provisions in Michigan
The Michigan Child Custody Act governs the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for children. The Act provides a number of factors to be considered in making a custody determination, including the child’s best interests. Custody may be awarded to either parent or shared between parents, depending on the circumstances of the case. The Act also provides for the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests in proceedings.
Determining Parenting Time
The Michigan statute on parenting time, MCL 722.27, sets forth a number of factors to be considered in making a determination about parenting time. These factors include the best interests of the child, the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to cooperate and make decisions jointly, the parents’ willingness to facilitate contact between the child and the other parent, and any history of domestic violence.
The Best Interests of the Child Standard
The Best Interests of the Child Standard is a legal principle in Michigan that states that the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration in any judicial decision concerning the child. As you may have noticed in the previous paragraphs, this standard is applied in a wide variety of situations, including custody and visitation disputes, child support determinations, and even in adoption proceedings.
Factors Considered in Determining the Best Interests of the Child
When making decisions about what is in the best interests of a child, Michigan courts consider a number of factors. The court looks at:
- Parenting Capacity: This includes being able to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs. A parent who is unable to meet these needs may not be granted custody or parenting time.
- Relationship of the Parties: The court will look at the history of the relationship, whether the parties have been able to cooperate in the past, and whether there is any current hostility between them. If the court determines that the parties cannot cooperate or are hostile towards each other, then the court may award less parenting time to one party.
- Stability and Continuity: The stability and continuity of a parent-child relationship is often cited as a factor in determining parenting time. The courts want to ensure that the child has a stable home life, which is why they may favor awarding more parenting time to the parent who has always been the child’s primary caregiver.
- Health and Safety: The court will not only consider the ability of each parent to care for the child, but will also consider the mental and physical health of each parent, any history of abuse, and any other factors that may be relevant to the best interests of the child.
- Availability of Resources: Availability of resources is a factor in determining parenting time because it can impact a parent’s ability to care for their child. For example, if one parent is unemployed and has no money to support their child, the court may award more parenting time to the other parent who has more financial resources.
Making Changes to a Parenting Time Order Judgment
If a parenting time order is in place and one of the parents wishes to make a change, they can file a motion with the court seeking a change to the order. The court will then again consider the factors we have listed in the paragraph “Factors Considered in Determining the Best Interests of the Child” before making a decision. If the court agrees to modify the order, it will issue an amended order reflecting the new arrangement.
Tips for Parents on Co-Parenting
Co-parenting can be a difficult task, but there are some things that can help make it easier. One important thing to keep in mind is to communicate with your co-parent regularly. This can help you stay on the same page and avoid any misunderstandings. You should also try to set some ground rules for how you will both handle parenting responsibilities. This can help ensure that everyone is doing their part and that no one feels overwhelmed.
You may, however, also want to set boundaries with the co-parent. Setting and having both parties understand these boundaries is important and may help to prevent conflict and drama and help keep the focus on the kids.
Also important is setting a schedule. Make a schedule that works for both of you. Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible.
Need Help With Drawing Up a Parenting Plan, or Need Help With Changing One?
If you need help with a parenting plan or need help with changing one, our law firm can assist you. We have extensive experience in this area of law and can provide you with the guidance you need to make the best decisions for your family. Our team will work with you to create a plan that meets your unique needs and is in the best interests of your children. We understand that parenting plans can be complex, so we are here to help you every step of the way.
You may contact our firm by dialing 313-451-6898 to get started.