What is a typical Michigan parenting plan?

There is no typical parenting plan.  Decades ago, the mothers of young children were generally awarded custody under what was called the “tender years doctrine.”  That doctrine assumed that young children should live primarily with their mothers.  The tender years doctrine has been repealed, and now fathers of young children can be awarded custody.

When the “tender years” doctrine was in effect and for many years afterward, fathers often had visitation every other weekend from Friday to Sunday.  These days, every other weekend often includes a pick-up from school instead of after dinner and a return to school on Monday morning. That provides three benefits:

  1. the parent picking up and dropping off at school can have some regular contact with the school;
  2. there are fewer face-to-face contacts between the parents, which helps in high conflict cases; and
  3. the weekend parenting time is expanded by one additional overnight.

Many parents also have a mid-week visit, which might include an overnight, and liberal telephone contact.

When parenting time is shared, there are many ways to divide the time, including:

  • every other week
  • two weeks on and two weeks off
  • Monday through Thursday in week #1 and Monday through Wednesday in week #2
  • Monday through Friday in week #1 and the other parent gets the weekend--then switching
  • a 2/2/5 plan where Parent A has 2 days, Parent B has 2 days, then Parent A has 5 days; then Parent B has 2 days; then Parent A has 2 days; and Parent B finally has 5 days in a row.  This pattern then continues.
  • A plan where one parent has the bulk of the school year, and the other parent has the bulk of the holidays, breaks, and summer.

Parties can design their own parenting plan.  Often, extracurricular events and work schedules will affect the plan they choose.

 The Michigan Parenting Time Guideline