Child Custody/Parenting Time

Child Custody

What is Child Custody/Parenting Time?

One of the most emotionally charged issues in a divorce or paternity case is custody of the children.  Usually, both parents want to spend as much time as they can with the children, and agreeing to a parenting time schedule is often not easy.  The parenting time schedule describes how the parents share parental responsibility and are responsible for daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the children, the time-sharing schedule arrangements specifying the days, times, and holidays that the children will spend with each parent, and designates which parent is responsible for health care, school-related matters, other activities, and the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the children.


The best interests of the children is always the primary consideration when establishing custody and a parenting time schedule.  Whether parties are establishing or modifying a parenting time schedule, the best interests of the children will be analyzed. In Michigan, the best interest factors are as follows:

  • (a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  • (b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
  • (c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
  • (d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • (e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  • (f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  • (g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  • (h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • (i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • (j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents. A court may not consider negatively for the purposes of this factor any reasonable action taken by a parent to protect a child or that parent from sexual assault or domestic violence by the child’s other parent.
  • (k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • (l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.


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