Parenting Time Regulations in Michigan
What does a court consider parenting time interference in Michigan?
Shared custody of a child is always a complicated issue. Parents want the hours they spend with their child to be enjoyable and free from difficulties. This should be simple to accomplish, but too frequently it is not. It is for this reason that laws regarding parenting time interference were created: to ensure that the time each parent spends with their child isn’t interrupted. So as to avoid the legal difficulties that come from violating custody guidelines, it is important for parents to know what constitutes parenting time interference, and what doesn’t.
What is Parenting Time Interference?
In Michigan, parenting time interference is defined as failing to follow the rules set forth by the child custody arrangement. This includes refusing to allow the other parent to see the child, withholding the child from the parent, or otherwise preventing the other parent from access to the child during their allotted visitation time. However, these rules must be broken in specific ways before the court considers an action to be a violation. There are three main guidelines to know.
There Must Be a Legal Custody Arrangement
An agreement made between parents outside of a court does not constitute a legal custody arrangement. Only an official arrangement made through the court carries any weight. This arrangement must include clear instructions regarding custody and parenting time. Without a legal custody arrangement, the court cannot become involved regarding parenting time.
The Child Must Be Kept Away from the Parent for More than 24 Hours
Dropping off a child late, or being late to pick a child up do not count as violations, unless these things occur on a regular basis. In general, parenting time interference only deals with incidents wherein the child was prevented from seeing the other parent for a period of 24 hours when it was that parent’s time with the child.
There Must Be Intent to Prevent the Child from Seeing the Other Parent
There may be instances wherein a parent is more than 24 hours late in transferring a child to the other parent, such as a delayed flight on vacation, or a car breaking down during a trip. These do not count as violations because there was no intent on the part of the parent to interfere with the visitation time. On the other hand, consistently causing the child to be late, taking the child away early, or otherwise attempting to detract from the time the other parent is spending with the child does show intent to interfere, even though it is not within the 24 hour time limit. If these cases occur with regularity, the court is likely to find the parent guilty of interference and is likely to impose sanctions.
Courts Hold Final Say
Though the guidelines are fairly clear, ultimately it is the court that will make the determination as to whether or not a parent is showing intent to interfere with the parenting time of the other parent. If a clear or implied intention is shown on the part of one parent to be attempting to infringe on the time the other spends with the child, it is likely violation will be found.
For further questions regarding parenting time regulations, please contact our office at 248-723-5190.
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