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What does the court consider when deciding on parenting time?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Child Custody |

In Michigan family law cases, child custody can be one of the most complicated and potentially contentious issues a couple will face. Once the determination is made regarding custody, the non-custodial parent will generally be granted parenting time.

This is important for the child and the parent to maintain a relationship. It is imperative for parents to understand how a parenting time plan is formulated and to know their rights.

Know the key factors with parenting time

According to state law, the court will look at each case individually when deciding how best to organize parenting time. With child support, there are guidelines that the court will generally adhere to.

That is not the case with parenting time. It will need to know the circumstances when it decides on how often the child will see the non-custodial parent; the duration of the visits; and what kind of parenting time it will be.

The child might have specific needs that must be addressed. For example, the child could be suffering from a condition that makes it difficult to go back and forth. This will be factored in when developing a plan. The child’s age is key. An infant still nursing would need to be with the nursing parent to ensure they get the nutrition they require.

In some cases, there have been allegations of neglect and abuse. This will be a crucial part of the decision. If a parent has credibly been found to be abusive or neglectful, it will likely limit or eliminate their parenting time.

A child can be harmed by traveling back and forth. The court will need to gauge the distance and how it affects the child. There are sometimes cases where a parent is fearful that the other parent will commit an abduction. This must be addressed.

The child’s best interests must be served

In short, the court will analyze the entire situation when crafting a parenting time order. In many cases, there are no major problems and the parents can coordinate to serve the child’s needs, make sure there is a relationship with the non-custodial parent and the exchanges are completed without incident. In others, it is more complex.

For the custodial and non-custodial parent, it is wise to understand the law with child custody and parenting time. This can serve as a guide with how best to protect the child while still forging a fruitful relationship between both parents and the child.