How do courts award child custody in Michigan?

| May 28, 2021 | Child Custody |

Possibly the hardest part of a divorce is going from a house with children in it all the time to a house where children are present only half of the time. In order to avoid this, parents often find themselves fighting bitterly over child custody. Consequently, they are unable to make a child custody arrangement themselves and the decision has to be left to the court. Courts make these decisions in the best interests of the child, and in Michigan this means the child should have a strong relationship with both parents.

What factors affect parenting time?

In order to make orders about the time, frequency and type of parenting plan to make, the court looks at a number of factors. These include the likelihood or reasonableness of abuse or neglect during parenting time, the inconvenience of traveling for parenting time, whether the parent will reasonably exercise parenting time or if they acted unreasonably in the past, if there are any special needs of the child and any other factors the courts consider important.

What else can the parenting plan include?

Courts can also include terms and conditions about the responsibility of  reasonable transportation for the child for parenting time, in addition to the costs of transportation. The court can also restrict the presence of third parties during that time and a requirement that the parties must bond in order to make parenting time effective. Lastly, it may also require notice if parenting time will not take place.

If one parent believes and can demonstrate that parenting time with the other parent should be limited, then courts will not grant parenting time to the parent in question. Otherwise, courts try to give equal parenting time as much as possible. To understand what parenting time arrangement will work best for one’s situation, it might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney.