A parenting time order grants time between a parent and the child[ren]. The Michigan Child Custody Act (MCL 722.27a) states: "It is in the best interest of the child to have frequent and constant contact with the non-custodial parent. If the parents agree on parenting time terms, the court shall order those parenting time terms, unless the court determines on the record that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child. A child shall have a right to parenting time with a parent unless it is shown on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time would jeopardize the child's physical, mental, or emotional health." During the person's parenting time, that parent is responsible for all routine decisions affecting the child.
The Michigan Child Custody Act states that the judge may consider the following factors when determining the frequency, duration and type of parenting time to be granted:
- The existence of any special circumstances or needs of that child.
- Whether the child is a nursing child less than six 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 to and from the parenting time.
- Whether the visiting parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.
- Whether the visiting 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.
In Saginaw County, a standard parenting time schedule is contained in every Judgment of Divorce unless the parties agree to a different schedule (with the court's approval) or the judge determines that modifications to the standard schedule are necessary. The standard parenting time schedule used in Saginaw County is available in the second floor lobby of the Friend of the Court Office and under the "Forms" section of this website.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Parenting Time
You may contact an attorney to assist you in enforcing and/or modifying your court order. In the alternative, you may request assistance from the Friend of the Court by filling out an Affidavit and Request for Enforcement of Parenting Time form. The form is available in the second floor lobby of the Friend of the Court Office and on the forms page. Upon receiving the completed form, the Friend of the Court will determine the appropriate action to move forward on our request including, mediation, joint meeting or show cause hearing.
The Friend of Court can only enforce denials that have occurred within 56 days immediately preceding the submission of the affidavit. Friend of the Court cannot act on expected denials; you must actually have been denied your time before filing the affidavit.
File a motion with the court for a change in the order on your own behalf or contact an attorney for assistance. Motions and instructions regarding parenting time are available in the second floor lobby of the Friend of the Court Office and on the forms page. After the Motion has been filed and the matter has been heard by the Referee, the Friend Of the Court may conduct an investigation and file a written recommendation. A fee will be assessed by the Friend of the Court against the party requesting the changes and should be paid prior to the investigation.
Yes, parenting time and support are separate orders of the court, with separate enforcement procedures. You MAY NOT deny parenting time solely because child support is not being paid.
Review your orders and attachments for guidance on parenting time requirements. The Friend of the Court can only require the parties to follow written orders. Unless your order states each parent's responsibility for clothing, the Friend of the Court does not have any enforcement power.
That is your decision. If you make the decision to deny parenting time in these circumstances, you may be asked to explain to the court at a contempt hearing why you felt your decision was in the best interest of the children.