Parents with minor and un-emancipated children who are no longer together routinely have to work with each other to arrange visitation and parenting time with the non-custodial parent. In such child custody cases, some parents may be able to mutually agree and draft a workable schedule while others may not be able to see eye-to-eye on any issue related to parenting time.
Michigan residents in contentious child custody cases and facing parenting time complications or issues may find it interesting to know that a Tennessee mother who failed to timely return her 4-year-old son to the father, who is in Michigan and has primary custody, has been charged with custodial interference. The mother only has visitation rights with her son and claims that she is concerned for the safety for her son when he is with his father.
If parents are agreeable and able to work with each other, in Michigan, a presumption for joint custody exists. When determining child custody, Michigan courts apply a 12-factors test. Child custody is awarded based on the best interest of the child and some of the
12-factors include the physical, emotional and mental state of all parties including that of the child, ties between the children and the parent, length of time child has lived in a stable environment, the moral character of parents, evidence of domestic abuse and other factors.
With respect to custodial interference, as in the case above, state laws vary on the issue. But, a parent charged with custodial interference may face a criminal charge. It is best for parents facing similar issues to understand their legal rights and seek expert advice to avoid a spur of the moment decision, as not returning a child in a timely manner, which may negatively impact their parenting time in the future.
Source: WKZO, "Missing child returned to Michigan dad," Oct. 10, 2012