Skip to main content
A Better Partnership

Child Custody and Parenting Time

Child Custody

Determining who will be the custodial parent after a divorce can be the most emotional and difficult issue in divorce cases.

There are two different components to custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody determines who makes major decisions for the child while physical custody/residency determines who will be the predominant caretaker of the child. Absent extraordinary circumstances, Michigan courts generally favor joint legal custody. However, every case has unique facts that may warrant a deviation from joint legal custody.

If parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will make the decision. The court is guided in its decision by “best interests of the child”. Michigan law provides several factors to be considered when determining what is in the child’s best interests, including:
 

  • Love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child
  • Capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection and guidance and continuation of the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any
  • Capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs
  • Length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • Permanence, as a family unity, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes
  • Moral fitness of the parties involved
  • Mental and physical health of the parties involved
  • Home, school and community record of the child
  • Reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference
  • Willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Domestic violence, whether or not it occurred in the child’s presence
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute


Your attorney will review the factors with you to determine what is in your child’s best interests and how they apply to your particular situation.

Modification:

Child custody orders may be modified until the child turns 18, and only if there is a change in circumstances or proper cause sufficient to justify a change.

 

Parenting Time

Parties have a right to parenting time with the child, absent extenuating circumstances. A parenting time schedule is often laid out in the judgment of divorce and provides specific criteria pertaining to the time a child spends with each parent. However, parents are encouraged to work together for the child’s best interest.

Parenting time is awarded to a parent in a frequency, duration and type in order to encourage a strong relationship between the child and their parent. The court may consider several factors when determining the frequency, duration and type of parenting time, including:
 

  • 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
  • Reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time
  • Reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time
  • 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
  • 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
  • Any other relevant factors


Some Michigan counties have developed a model/reasonable parenting time schedule to assist parties in fashioning a schedule that works for their particular case.

Modification:

Parenting time orders may be modified as the child’s age and circumstances change. This tends to rely on the facts and each case is unique. For the court to consider a modification of the existing parenting time schedule, a party must be able to prove that there is either a “change in circumstances” or “good cause” that justifies revisiting the parenting time schedule. Also, there is a tougher standard to meet if the parenting time modification would amount to a change in custody. Our family law specialists can assist you filing a petition and gathering the information necessary for a request to a change in the parenting time.  


Contact Us

 


NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.

ACCEPTCANCEL

Text

+ -

Reset