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What Are Joint Physical Custody And Supervised Visitation Rights?

Who Works Out The Specific Schedule And Details For Joint Physical Custody? Does The Court Have to Officially Approve Of The Arrangements, Along With Any Changes Throughout The Years?

Ideally, the parents can decide a specific schedule for parenting time, as one would hope they know what's best for their own child. But when the parents cannot agree, it is common for negotiation to take place between their respective attorneys. If the parties cannot agree with the help of their attorneys, then they can try to resolve their matter with the help of the Friend of the Court or a private mediator. 

Many counties have policies or guidelines for various parenting time schedules but it is important to know that those guidelines are not the final say, and that ultimately only the judge can establish a custody and parenting time arrangement if the parties disagree.

Typically, the judge will approve a clearly written custody and parenting time agreement reached by the parents and sign an order or judgment containing the same provisions. Some judges will inspect the custody and parenting time provisions more closely than others. It helps to have an experienced attorney who knows each judges’ policies and preferences so that you can be prepared to get the orders approved.

The same thing applies to orders modifying custody or parenting time down the road. Some judges would accept a consent order and sign off on it without a hearing while others will require the parties to appear in order to ensure that the order is in the best interests of the child.

Under What Circumstances Will The Court Order 'Supervised Visitation Rights'? How Do They Work?

Supervised parenting time is ordered in very few cases. However, it can happen when there is some question as to the child's safety or welfare while in one of the parent's care. This could be when domestic violence has been alleged or proven, when child abuse has been an issue, or when the parent has a criminal, substance abuse, or mental health history.

Supervised parenting time will also be ordered if, for whatever reason, the child has been separated from the parent for a lengthy period of time and they need to get reacquainted. In limited cases, the supervision could be done by the other parent or another family member.

Sometimes, a court will ask a mutual acquaintance or family member known to the child to be present during the parenting time. When this is not possible, the court may order supervised parenting time through a counseling center or other facility that specializes in supervising visits.

ADAM has always encouraged clients to work with the supervised plan as scheduled and continue to take the steps necessary to move away from that limited parenting time into a regular custody and parenting time arrangement. Conversely, we advocate supervised parenting time for mothers with these types of issues to continue until she can prove that the child is safe and well cared for with her unsupervised.

How Do Courts Handle Visitation Rights for Other Family Members (grandparents, stepparents, etc.)?

Normally, extended family members or stepparents have visitation when their relative has time with the child. Under Michigan statute, a grandparent has a right to petition the court for parenting time with the child if that grandparent's child is unavailable to exercise the parenting time, for example, if they are deceased, incarcerated, or stationed overseas with the military.

The grandparent would have to establish a longstanding relationship with the grandchild and prove that a disruption in their parenting time with the child would be detrimental to that child's health and wellbeing.

If you're preparing for divorce, contact the American Divorce Association for Men for a FREE initial telephone consultation at (248) 327-0050, and get the information and legal answers you're seeking.

About ADAM (American Divorce Association for Men)

The American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM) is a group of highly qualified attorneys who advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child custody and parenting time, paternity, support, property settlement, post judgment modifications, and other family law matters. Since 1988, ADAM has been aggressive, diligent, and uncompromising when representing their clients. A team of compassionate and skilled family law attorneys, ADAM is dedicated to being Michigan’s leading divorce attorneys for men.

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