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How does a court ensure a parent has time with a child?

Nothing is more important for Detroit residents than their relationship with their children. The law recognizes the importance of this relationship and seeks to allow the child to have a meaningful relationship with each parent.

For instance, last week this blog discussed how there may be restrictions on a custodial parent's desire for relocation because of the impact the relocation would have on the other parent's vitiation rights. The law provides certain rights for parenting time, even if relocation is not an issue.

Because it is presumed that it is in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both parents, parenting time is typically provided in such a frequency, duration and type that promotes a strong relationship between the child and parent. As with virtually any issue, there are exceptions to being given parenting time, such as when parenting time would endanger the child's physical, mental or emotional health. Barring these circumstances, however, the law favors parenting time to encourage continued parental responsibility and promote the child's access to the parent.

Typically, the court will provide for parenting time through a parenting time plan. This is an order of the court that directs parenting time according to a certain structure. The type of structure in the plan will depend on the amount of parenting time that is ordered, as there can be situations where a shared parenting time arrangement is put in place, and situations on the other end of the spectrum where a parent's visitation is supervised by others on a limited basis. Many parenting time plans fall somewhere in between these two options, which requires there to be a certain amount of flexibility in order to deal with potential obstacles that may arise.

Ultimately, the type of parenting time plan implemented will depend on the circumstance of each individual case. Both custodial and non-custodial parents should understand how the law views parenting time and what a court is likely to do when ordering parenting time under Michigan law.

Source: Michigan Courts, "Michigan Parenting Time Guideline," accessed on Nov. 14, 2015

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