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Post-Divorce Parenting Time

| Feb 28, 2024 | Divorce, Family Law

In Michigan, there is a presumption that it is in the child’s best interests to have a strong relationship with both parents, and the parenting time schedule should reflect that presumption.  The concept of parenting time plays a crucial role in ensuring that both parents remain actively involved in their children’s lives.

Parenting time refers to the specific schedule that outlines when each parent will spend time with their children. It is an essential component of a judgment of divorce, and the court’s primary focus is to promote the best interests of the child.  If the parents can agree on a parenting time schedule, then the only way for a court to order something to the contrary is by clear and convincing evidence.

The court makes parenting time decisions based on the best interests of the child.  The “best interests” is a set of 12 factors that are laid out statutorily and means the sum total of those factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined – despite that, not each factor carries the same weight, and each family’s situation will warrant different weight for different factors.  Some of these factors include the emotional ties between the child and each parent, each parent’s ability to provide a stable environment, and the child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community.

Parents are encouraged to work together to create a parenting time schedule that suits the unique needs of their family. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will establish a schedule based on the best interests of the child.

Once a parenting time order is in place, both parents are legally obligated to adhere to the schedule. If issues arise, such as non-compliance or a change in circumstances, parents may seek enforcement or modification through the court.

Enforcing parenting time agreements is a critical aspect of ensuring the well-being of children in the aftermath of a divorce. The state recognizes the importance of both parents playing an active role in their child’s life, and the court system provides mechanisms to enforce established parenting time schedules. When a parent fails to comply with the agreed-upon parenting time arrangements, the aggrieved party can seek enforcement through the court. Michigan law empowers judges to take various measures to address non-compliance, ranging from modifying the existing parenting time order to imposing fines or other penalties. The ultimate goal is to encourage compliance and uphold the child’s right to a consistent and meaningful relationship with both parents.

Parenting time in divorce cases is designed to prioritize the well-being of the child and maintain a strong parent-child relationship post-divorce. It is essential for parents to approach the process with a focus on cooperation, communication, and the best interests of their children. By understanding the legal framework and working together, parents can create a supportive environment that fosters the continued growth and happiness of their children.

Jesse Bergwerff