An introduction to parenting time

Parenting time (visitation) defines the frequency and duration each party spends with their child. Under Michigan law, parenting time is governed by statute. Specifically, Michigan Compiled Laws 722.27a, which is more commonly known as the parenting time statute.


The parenting time statute – MCL 722.27a

In the following paragraphs, we examine the most important provisions of the parenting time statute.

First, the parenting time statute requires a court to grant parenting time in accordance with the “best interest of the child” which are 12 factors the court also examines in custody cases. (See: MCL 722.27a(1))

. . . .It is presumed to be in the best interest of a child to have a strong relationship with both his or her parents. . .parenting time shal be granted to a parent in a frequency, duration and type reasonably calculuated to promote a strong relationship with the child and the parent granted parenting time.

MCL 722.27a(1)

Second, the parenting time statute provides that if the parents of a child agree on parenting time terms, the court shall order the agreed upon terms unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that it is not in the children’s best interest. (MCL 722.27a(2)

Third, the court may consider the following factors when determining parenting time terms: MCL 722.27a(7):

(a) The existence of any special circumstances or needs of the child.

(b) Whether the child is a nursing child less than 6 months of age, or less than 1 year of age if the child receives substantial nutrition through nursing.

(c) The reasonable likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.

(d) The reasonable likelihood of abuse of a parent resulting from the exercise of parenting time.

(e) The inconvenience to, and burdensome impact or effect on, the child of traveling for purposes of parenting time.

(f) Whether a parent can reasonably be expected to exercise parenting time in accordance with the court order.

(g) Whether a parent has frequently failed to exercise reasonable parenting time.

(h) The threatened or actual detention of the child with the intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent or from a third person who has legal custody. A custodial parent’s temporary residence with the child in a domestic violence shelter shall not be construed as evidence of the custodial parent’s intent to retain or conceal the child from the other parent.

(i) Any other relevant factors.

MCL 722.27a(7)(a)-(i)

Either party can request a specific parenting time schedule at any time. (MCL 722.27a(8).

Most parenting time schedules begin by alternating weekends, with one parent exercising parenting time one weekend and the other parent the other. Parenting time orders will often include provisions for pickup and drop off and other specific terms, holiday, school break and summer time.

parenting time schedule

                                                             Alternate weekend parenting time

Equal parenting time 2-2-5-5

                                                                    2-2-5-5 parenting time

The equal parenting time schedule labled 2-2-5-5 because each parent has two days followed by 5 days, inclusive of their weekend.

It is important to note that there is no “normal” parenting time schedule. After all, every family is unique and a parenting time order should reflect what is “in the best interest of the child” as the case may be. You can explore additional parenting time schedules by visiting this link:  Parenting time options in a Michigan divorce.

Let us help you create a parenting time schedule that is “right” for your family.

Michigan Divorce Laws – Everything there is to know.

Parenting time agreement

Michigan child custody law – the statutes

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