Visitation and parenting time are often aggressively litigated and disputed matters in a divorce. In some cases, parents believe certain child visitation myths that create unnecessary disputes between the parties. When that happens, it's a good idea to talk with an experienced visitation lawyer to uncover the facts. Below are five child visitation myths that can create problems for parents who are going through a divorce.
1. Michigan still uses visitation orders.
Michigan, like many other states, have adopted the term “parenting time” instead of visitation to define when a parent spends time with a child. It is presumed that it is in the best interests of a child to have a strong relationship with each parent, including spending sufficient time with each parent. Therefore, the courts support an arrangement referred to as “reasonable or liberal parenting time” to ensure both parents have abundant access to the child.
2. A child can decide how much time he or she wants to spend with a parent.
When determining the frequency, length, and type of parenting time, the court reviews many factors. While a child's wishes may be considered a relevant factor depending on the child's age and other circumstances in a case, the child's wishes are not the guiding factor when determining the amount of parenting time to grant to a parent.
3. I cannot make up parenting time if my child's other parent denies access to my child.
Michigan's laws regarding parenting time have specific provisions for the makeup of parenting time. Each circuit court has a policy for the makeup of parenting time. If you miss parenting time with your child, you can contact the Friend of the Court office in your jurisdiction for help in contacting your child's other parent to set up an arrangement for you to make up the parenting time that you were denied. In most cases, you will be granted identical time that you missed with your child whenever possible.
4. Parenting time cannot be modified after a divorce is final.
The court recognizes that parents may need to modify parenting time as time goes by to accommodate the child's needs or other circumstances. You must file a motion with the court requesting a modification in parenting time. The court considers the same factors to determine whether to modify parenting time that it does when it determines the child's best interest. However, the court may focus on one or more issues within those factors that are relevant to the requests for modification parenting time.
5. Grandparents are not entitled to visitation in Michigan.
A grandparent in Michigan may petition the court and receive visitation with a grandchild under certain circumstances. If the grandparent meets all legal requirements, the court will consider if it is in the best interest of the child to order grandparenting time. Parents may object to the grandparent's motion for grandparenting time; however, the court may find that it is in the child's best interest to grant visitation with the grandparent over the parent's objection.
Contact Michigan visitation rights attorney Cameron C. Goulding to discuss the best interests for your child when it comes to visitation.