Parenting time agreement

Sometimes parents know best, especially when it comes to their children. Michigan parenting time law provides parents an opportunity to reach a parenting time agreement unless the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time agreement is not in the best interest of the child(ren).


Parenting time is different than legal custody, which defines which parent (or both) is/are responsible for major decisions regarding the child(ren) such as choice of school, domicile and health care. Physical custody is an antiquated term that described which parent exercised the majority of parenting time. Whereas parenting time describes the frequency and duration of time each parent spends with a child. For example, if mom is awarded every other weekend and every Monday and Tuesday overnight, that is a parenting time schedule.

The Michigan Parenting Time Statute is found in Michigan Compiled Laws Section 722.27a and subparagraph (2) of the statute provides:

(2) If the parents of a child agree on parenting time terms, the court shall order the parenting time terms unless the court determines on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child.

MCL 722.27a(2)

If parenting time is disputed, a court will consider the best interest of the child factors in addition to the following statutory considerations:

(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; and

(i) Any other relevant factors.

When parents can agree on parenting time, tensions are reduced and money is saved. In either case, we can help you manage your situation. Let it be our privilege to help.


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I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances. That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

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