Parenting Time Guidelines

Philosophy
We believe the decisions that parents freely and voluntarily make concerning the custodial and parenting time arrangements for their children should be respected. We are committed to helping parents make those decisions, as opposed to imposing a particular plan upon families.

However, when parents cannot agree on these issues, it is our duty to make recommendations to the court on a parenting time plan for the family.

Assessments
Our recommendations are based upon our assessment of what parenting time schedule will work best for the children and both parents. We structure parenting time schedules with the following precepts in mind:
  • Every child has an inherent right to the love, affection and financial support of both parents.
  • Every child has a right to spend time with both parents and it is the responsibility of both parents to insure this right of their children. 
  1. Schedule
  2. Expectations

Parenting Time Schedule


Every family is unique, and that is why we prefer that parents devise their own parenting time schedule. Some parents may choose to share physical custody of their children. In other situations, the children spend more of their time with one parent (the custodial parent) and have regular parenting time with the co-parent. In these situations, absent special circumstances, where the parents are unable to work out a parenting time schedule on their own, they can expect that the Friend of the Court will take their unique family situation into account.  The Michigan Parenting Time Guidelines provide an outline and examples of schedules commonly utilized by families in various situations.  

Holiday time and school breaks for children who are school aged are also generally shared or alternated.  An example of an alternating holiday schedule follows:

  • Holidays shall be alternated. The holiday schedules take precedence over all other scheduled parenting time.
  • In even-numbered years the custodial parent will have the following holidays:  Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and child's birthday.
  • In even-numbered years the co-parent will have the following holidays:  Memorial Day, Labor Day, Christmas Eve, and Halloween.
  • In odd-numbered years the custodial parent will have the following holidays: Memorial Day, Labor Day, Christmas Eve, and Halloween.
  • In odd-numbered years the co-parent will have the following holidays:  Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and child's birthday. The children shall spend each Mother's Day with Mother and each Father's Day with Father.  Parenting time shall be from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Holiday Hours
  • Holiday Hours are 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. for Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the child's birthday.
  • Holiday Hours for Fourth of July are 9 a.m., July 4 - 9 a.m., July 5. 
  • Christmas Eve shall be from 7 p.m., December 23 - 9 p.m., December 24. 
  • Christmas Day shall be from 9 p.m., December 24 - 9 p.m., December 25.
  • Halloween night visits shall be from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
If a holiday falls during a weekend that the parent is to have weekend parenting time, that parent shall have the children for the holiday and the weekend, and shall not be entitled to additional time. If a holiday falls on a weekend that the parent would not have parenting time, the holiday shall be spent with the parent having the holiday, but the balance of the weekend shall be spent with the parent who would normally have the children for the weekend. If a holiday immediately precedes or immediately follows a weekend that the parent would have weekend parenting time, the weekend shall be extended to include the holiday.

Co-parents are encouraged to cooperate with each other and to be flexible.  Agreed-upon deviations from the Court's order, however, should be in writing and signed by both parents to be enforceable.

Special Circumstances
Special circumstances, such as those involving substance abuse, child neglect/abuse, very young children, the absence of an established parenting time relationship with the child, or parents who live a considerable distance from one another, may require a schedule of parenting time that differs from the above.