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Parenting Time

The non-custodial parent is generally granted parenting time. The Judgment may state that general parenting times are granted and leave it up to the parties to decide the dates, or specific parenting time hours and dates may be written into the Judgment. If long distance must be traveled to exercise this parenting time, some arrangements can be made concerning the cost of same. Enforcement of parenting time rights is by an Order to Show Cause. Judgments of Divorce provide that the minor child may not be permanently removed from the jurisdiction of the Court without the Court's approval. To move the child from the state, the custodial parent must petition the Court for an Order granting same. Parenting time/Parenting Orders are modifiable upon a showing of a change in circumstances warranting same. There is also a provision in the law for the makeup of parenting times that have been wrongfully denied, and contempt of court action against the offending parent that can lead to a fine or jail term.

The Law

The Michigan Child Custody Act ( MCL 722.27a , MSA 25.312(7a) ) states: "It is in the best interest of the child to have frequent and constant contact with the non-custodial parent. If the parents agree on parenting time terms, the court shall order those parenting time terms, unless the court determines on the record that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child.

A child shall have a right to parenting time with a parent unless it is shown on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time would jeopardize the child's physical, mental or emotional health." During the person's parenting time, that parent is responsible for all routine decisions affecting the child.

Duration of Parenting Time

The Michigan Child Custody Act states that the judge may consider the following factors when determining the frequency, duration and type of parenting time to be granted:

  1. The existence of any special circumstances or needs of the child.
  2. 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.
  3. The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.
  4. The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time.
  5. The inconvenience to, and burdensome impact or effect on, the child of traveling to and from the parenting time.
  6. Whether the visiting parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.
  7. Whether the visiting parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time.
  8. The threatened or actual detention of the child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent of from a third person who has legal custody. A custodial parent's temporary residence with the child in a domestic violence shelter shall not be construed as evidence of the custodial parent's intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent.

Post Judgment Modification

Post-judgment modification of parenting time is subject to the same restrictions as post-judgment modification of custody. The parent wishing to modify parenting time must prove a substantial change in circumstances or good cause in order to get a hearing on the issues.

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