Parenting time is what used to be referred to as physical custody or visitation. Michigan law recognizes that it is in the best interests of a child that parenting time occur in a frequency, duration, and type reasonably calculated to promote a strong relationship between a child and a parent. A child has a right to parenting time unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincing evidence that parenting time would endanger the child’s physical, mental or emotional health (MCL 722.27a).
How Michigan Courts Decide Parenting Time
In order to determine the length, frequency and type of parenting time, the court considers several factors (MCL 722.27a). These factors are as follows:
- The existence of any special circumstances or needs of the child.
- Whether the child is a nursing child less than 6 months of age, or less than 1 year of age if the child receives substantial nutrition through nursing.
- The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.
- The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time.
- The inconvenience to, and burdensome impact or effect on, the child of traveling to and from the parenting time.
- Whether a parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.
- Whether the parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time.
- The threatened or actual detention of the child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent or from a third person who has legal custody. A custodial parent’s temporary residence with the child in a domestic violence shelter shall not be construed as evidence of the custodial parent’s intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent.
- Any other relevant factors.
Parenting time includes regular parenting time, holidays, school breaks, and vacations.