Negotiating for Parenting Time in Michigan: Important Factors to Consider
When parents separate or divorce, the situation is not only hard on the couple, but also on any children they share. As a parent, you naturally want to continue to have a relationship with your children, even if your marriage or partnership is dissolved, but it’s not always easy to make this happen. With the help of a qualified lawyer, however, you have the best chances of ensuring ample parenting time.
Ultimately, Michigan courts want to make decisions that are in the best interests of children caught up in situations beyond their control. This often means taking steps to ensure that both parents are able to spend time with kids and maintain loving and caring relationships. Before entering negotiations for parenting time, there are several factors you need to consider.
Types of Parenting Time Arrangements
There are two types of parenting arrangements in Michigan: specific parenting time or reasonable parenting time. The first requires that parents agree to a schedule that includes specific days and times when each parent has children, specific meeting places, and other related conditions. With a reasonable parenting time arrangement, there are no details laid out – adults simply determine parenting time as they go.
The Disposition of the Other Parent
If you and the other parent of your children get along great and you’ve enjoyed an amicable separation or divorce, it might make sense to opt for an arrangement that includes reasonable parenting time. This can allow both parents the flexibility to change the schedule as needed, as well as allow children to spend the time they need with one parent or the other.
On the other hand, a relationship that ends in contention could make this type of arrangement difficult, especially if one parent tends to dominate or wants to punish the other. Reasonable parenting time does not provide the same strict schedule as an agreement for specific parenting time, which means a parent has little recourse for complaint if he/she isn’t getting equal time and the other parent is putting up roadblocks to visitation.
Whereas small children can easily be handed off mid-week, this could be a lot more upsetting for school-age children that have to deal with moving between households in the middle of the school week (and potentially leaving outfits or important homework at the wrong house). Before negotiating an arrangement that is convenient for parents, take time to consider what will make life easy for kids, as well.
As part of reaching an agreement concerning parenting time, you might want to discuss how each parent will behave when children are with the other parent. How do you feel about the other parent calling to say goodnight? What if your ex was to show up at your doorstep unannounced to see kids during your dedicated parenting time? Setting boundaries from the get-go can help to prevent conflict and create the best possible situation for children whose lives have already been upended by the separation or divorce of their parents.
If negotiating parenting time is a top priority when you divorce or separate from your partner, contact the experienced professionals at The Gucciardo Law Firm at 248-723-5190 today to start planning your strategy for success.
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