If you are getting a divorce and you have children, your priority is likely making sure that your children continue to have a stable, loving environment to grow up in, even if their parents are no longer together. Michigan courts share this priority and will focus on making sure that the parenting time plan created in your divorce is in the best interests of your child.
What should be included in a parenting plan?
A parenting time plan is created to establish a plan for how the child’s parents will share time with the child over the course of the year. Your parenting time plan will likely include:
- Where the child will live primarily
- Schedule specifying when each parent will spend time with the child (school days, weekends, holidays, vacations, and school breaks should be addressed)
- How will decisions be made regarding the child’s upbringing
- How the child will be transported from one parent’s home to the other
- How disputes will be handled
If you and your ex can agree on the terms of your parenting time plan, the court will review it and determine whether it serves the best interests of the child. Under MCL 722.27a, Michigan courts will consider several factors when determining parenting time, including:
- Special needs of the child
- Child’s nursing needs
- Likelihood of abuse or neglect during parenting time
- Whether parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time
If the court determines that the parenting time plan is in the child’s best interests, it will order the terms. Once the order is finalized, both parents are legally required to adhere to the terms.
Many parents will fight to spend as much time as possible with their child, even if it is the expense of the other parent. However, it is important to remember that children often benefit from having a strong relationship with both parents. If you and your ex need assistance in working out the details of your child custody and visitation schedule, a family law attorney in your area may be able to help.