Parenting Time & Visitation in Macomb County – Lawyers, Attorneys
At our law office, we understand that absolutely nothing is more important to you than your children – and the time you spend with them. Whether your child visitation is established through a divorce, a family support case, or a paternity case, we can help you understand your rights and obtain the visitation schedule that is best for you and your child.
Understanding Michigan Parenting Time Law – Macomb County Lawyer / Attorney
In Michigan, the time a child spends with the non-custodial parent is called “parenting time” by the Court (it was formerly called “visitation”). Under Michigan law – unless there are unusual circumstances (such as drug usage or criminal conduct) – it is considered to be in the child’s best interests to have a strong relationship with both parents. The Court will almost always favor a Parenting Time (Visitation) Agreement that will encourage a relationship with both parents.
Generally, if the parties and their attorneys can reach a Parenting Time (Visitation) Agreement, the Court will approve it (unless there is some detriment to the child). If the parties simply cannot work out the terms of visitation (parenting time), the judge will be forced to make the determination – based upon the circumstances of both parents and recommendations of the Friend of the Court.
What is “Reasonable” or “Liberal” Parenting Time? Macomb County Lawyer / Attorney
When both parents are able to “get along” with each other, “reasonable” or “liberal” parenting time may be agreed upon by the parties and/or ordered by the Court. Under this type of arrangement, specific days and time frames are not specified – and the parents are free to work it out between themselves. This allows parents the greatest flexibility and enables them to adjust the parenting time schedule as the child’s needs and schedules change, without having to go back to court.
Generally, however, most parents are encouraged to have some form of fixed schedule of parenting time – which includes details as to which parent will have the child(ren) during the week, on weekends, specific holidays and school breaks. Having a “set schedule” is beneficial because both parents know what is expected – and it is enforceable in Court if disputes arise.
What If Parents Can’t Agree on Visitation? – Macomb County Lawyer / Attorney
The Judge will often refer parents who cannot reach a visitation agreement to mediation, or to the Friend of the Court (FOC), for an investigation into the facts of the case. The FOC or mediator will make a recommendation as to a specific visitation schedule that should be imposed upon the family.
In cases where parents cannot agree, the advice and representation of an experienced family law attorney is essential – in order to present the parent’s best position to the Court, and to defend against any allegations made by the other spouse.
Ideally, both parents would be able to agree on the specific days and times that each parent would have the child. When parents are cooperative it causes less psychological stress to the child. Sadly, however, one parent is often simply uncooperative, unreasonable, or even vindictive. When this happens, and the parents cannot agree on parenting time, it is important to have an experienced lawyer and strong legal representation so that the Court will make a fair determination about parenting time.
Common Visitation Arrangements – Macomb County Lawyer / Attorney
In Macomb County, it is most common for the Judge to allow the child(ren) to live during the week with the parent who can provide the “most stable” environment (See more about child custody here.) The non-custodial parent is then usually (though not always) allowed to see the child as follows: (1.) one evening during every week; and, (2.) every-other weekend; and, (3.) on alternating holidays; and, (4.) 2 to 4 weeks during summer vacations from school.
Absent any “special circumstances” (parental unfitness, drug usage, medical needs of a child, etc.) this is the most common parenting time arrangement that is imposed by the judges in Macomb County.
How Does Visitation Affect Child Support? – Macomb County Lawyer / Attorney
It is important to note that child support is typically based upon the number of overnights spent with each parent. So, Parenting Time does directly impact the child support that is paid or received. Unfortunately, this can sometimes motivate parents to try and manipulate Parenting Time simply to obtain more – or pay less – child support.
In this type of situation it is especially important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side. An experienced lawyer can help make sure that the Parenting Time that is best for the child is ordered. And they can make sure that the child support you receive – or are ordered to pay – is fair.