If you are getting a divorce, making sure that your child’s needs are met once the divorce is finalized is of critical importance. In Michigan, the time each parent spends with the child (when the parents live in separate households) is referred to as parenting time.
Parents will need to come up with a parenting time schedule to determine how much time each parent will spend with the child and come up with a schedule that serves the child’s best interests.
Creating a parenting time schedule
Unless a parent is a danger to the child, or otherwise unfit to care for their child, Michigan courts prefer both parents to remain involved in the child’s life post-divorce. A parenting time schedule will provide structure and stability for the child, and ensure that their needs are met.
A parenting time schedule will typically factor in:
- Contact with each parent (e.g. video chat, phone calls) every few days
- Distance between parents’ homes and travel time between homes
- Overnight time with each parent or extended time spent with either parent
- Parental involvement in the events of the child’s life (e.g. birthdays, medical appointments, school events)
- Providing consistency for the child
- Child’s age and developmental needs
It is important to note that parenting time is not the same as child custody. For example, parents may share joint physical and legal custody, but one parent may have less parenting time than the other.
Creating a parenting time schedule requires compromise and strong communication between both parents. A family law attorney can help make sure that you and your ex come up with a schedule that works best for your child.