There are nine parenting time factors a court should consider when determining the frequency, duration and type of visitation awarded to parents. The factors are set forth in MCL 722.27a(7)(a-i) and are in addition to (compliment) the statutory best interest considerations under Michigan law,
The nine Parenting time factors.
The court may consider the following when determining the frequency, duration, and type of parenting time to be granted:
(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 information.
It is important to understand that Michigan law requires a court to make adequate findings and conclusions in support of a decision (Arndt v. Kasem). However, although a court should evaluate each factor, it does not have to make adequate findings and conclusions regarding each.
Although a court is required to consider the factors in a contested parenting time case, the visitation statute (MCL 722.27a(2)) allows parents to agree on a specific schedule and the court must follow the agreement unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time agreement is not in the best interest of the child.
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