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Looking at the issue of parenting time, P.1

Each couple has different circumstances when entering into the divorce process and will go about it a little differently. Two important areas couples typically have to deal with, though, are money and children. With respect to children, there is custody, child support, and then also parenting time. Each of these issues has to be worked out by the couple, with or without the intervention of the court.

Under Michigan law, as in other states, the courts presume that a continuing relationship with each parent is in the best interests of the children, and so parenting time is usually calculated so that children are able to maintain a strong relationship with each parent.

Whether a couple negotiates their own parenting time schedule or has to get the court involved, parenting time plans are always approved or disapproved on the basis of the best interests of the child. Parenting time is, therefore, more about the children than it is about the parents, though parents do have rights that should be advocated as well.

In setting up a parenting plan, there should be a balance between structure and flexibility. Couples can establish a parenting time which is very informal and doesn’t require court involvement when there is a dispute, for example, but there should always be enough structure and definition to the schedule that both parents are clear about the time they have with the kids.

Some couples will need a highly structured and formalized parenting plan, while others may prefer a looser agreement. Getting the balance right is important.

We’ll continue this discussion in our next post and look at the importance of working with experienced legal counsel to address parenting time issues. 

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Looking at the issue of parenting time, P.1 | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC