Parenting Time Attorney – Protecting Your Rights With Your Children
Once a couple decides to separate or get a divorce, they will need to go through several legal processes. There will be a lot of things to take care of, but perhaps the most important one would be the welfare of their child or children and what will happen to them once the divorce is settled. The welfare of the children is always a top priority, and the case will revolve around it entirely. This is where parenting time is decided.
What is parenting time?
Parenting time is established in different ways, either through a family support case, a paternity case, or a divorce case. In legal terms, parenting time is described as the scheduling of contact between the children/child and a parent. In the past, it was called “visitation” and can be agreed upon between the two parents, or as a court order. According to Michigan Courts, parenting time is determined based on the child’s best interests and benefits.
The law covering parenting time and child custody varies from state to state. Michigan law promotes that a child needs to have a strong relationship with both his/her parents for better guidance, even after the parents have already divorced or separated.
Under Section 7 of the Child Custody Act of Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL), ”Parenting time shall be granted by the best interests of the child.” The goal of this statute is to ensure that the child or children will remain to have a continued relationship with the parents, while also making sure that parental responsibility and access will be promoted. It should not be regarded as a portion of a child’s time allocated to one or both of the parents, but rather, it should be the parents’ time that they will reserve for the child/children.
How parenting time is decided
If you and your partner won’t be able to come up with a workable parenting time for the child/children, the judge will step forward and decide on such matters based on the child’s benefits and best interest.
The judge will decide on how parenting time will be assigned to the parents. Several factors have to be considered for the judge or the court to determine how long the visits will be, how often a parent will be given time with the child, and whether or not the parenting time needs supervision.
In general, the law states that custody arrangements and parenting time must remain stable, that’s why the judge will first need to ask if the child/children have already established a custodial environment with both parents, or with one of them. If the answer is yes, the judge will be asking for more evidence, should one of the parents request to change the said arrangement or environment.
One factor that the judge will look into is the child’s age. Is he/she old enough to remain in the current arrangement or has it been going on for a significant amount of time that it can now be changed or altered? Who does the child look to or depend on when it comes to his/her essential needs such as love, attention, food, and housing? Another factor is the disposition and capacity of both parents to provide for the child’s needs, such as guidance, love, affection, and education. The law also recognizes which parent is capable of providing other basic needs of the child, such as food, clothing, and medical care.
Other factors to consider
Aside from the capacity and disposition of the parents to provide for these needs above, the permanence of the custodial home (whether existing or not) is also a significant factor. The home should exist in an environment that’s satisfactory and stable, and there should also be a desire to maintain or continue the said environment.
The parents’ current condition should also be considered, including their moral fitness, as well as their physical and mental health. If the child has any special needs, of course, this should also be taken into consideration. For example, if the child is less than a year old and still nursing from the mother, he/she will need more parenting time and custody with the mother as expected.
If the child is already at a reasonable age to express or decide on preference, the judge may also consider it, especially if this preference appears reasonable enough to the court. The law states several factors that may be considered as far as parenting time is concerned, although the judge may still present or review other factors that he or she deems to be relevant to a particular case.
How we can help
We understand the emotional burden of having to go through a divorce, and we know how time-consuming it can also be. Family law revolves around a variety of domestic and family-related concerns, and you’d be assured to know that this is among our lines of expertise. Legal family issues can alter your lives forever, as they are very much sensitive to handle. With this in mind, you will need to have an experienced professional by your side as legal representation. Family law is a very complicated matter, and you should only trust a professional to handle your case.
Lawrence J. Coogan Law Office is here to assist you when it comes to family law matters. Whether it’s child custody and parenting time, divorce, to the division of property inheritance, our specialization can surely help you out. With more than 30 years of legal experience in Metro Detroit, Attorney Lawrence J. Coogan has served and continues to serve the residents of Dearborn Heights, Melvindale, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Dearborn, Allen Park, Lincoln Park and other nearby areas in Wayne County.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Our website provides an online form that you can fill up anytime to request for a legal consultation. For immediate concerns, you can give us a call at (313) 381-0044. Rest assured that all your information will remain confidential and will not be used for any purpose.