How Is Visitation Handled By the Michigan Divorce Courts?
Divorce is always a stressful and emotional time for all parties involved. However, sometimes, allocating visitation and parenting time to the non-custodial parent (in most cases, the father) may pose serious conflict and contention.
In your parenting time agreement, the Michigan court will mandate specific amounts of time for the non-custodial parent to be with their child. There is always a legal court order requiring this.
So, under usual (and sometimes unusual) situations, the custodial parent legally cannot simply invent or “make up” reasons to deny the non-custodial parent their parenting time.
If you are the custodial parent attempting to deny the other parent parenting time, you must be aware of specific legal legislation against it. Parenting time and court-ordered visitation is a grave legal issue in Michigan. This legislation legally forbids the custodial parent from denying their ex-spouse access to their children without a strict and valid reason. The Michigan Child Custody Act addresses this subject explicitly and in detail.
Due to this legislation, visitation and parenting time must (and will) be court-mandated by the Michigan court and cannot be restricted or modified without reason or a judge’s approval.
That said, there are rare exceptions to this legislation, such as where the parent’s behavior may harm the child if drunk or attempting to transport the child in a car.
If the child is in danger, action may be allowed, and the court may approve the decision. However, in many cases, if you want to change or halt visitation to the non-custodial parent, you must have your attorney file a request to impose new and legal conditions on them.
As the parent, and per the court, you always want what’s best for your child and their safety. However, due to the severe nature of this subject, you must get the advice and guidance of a Southfield visitation and custody lawyer to ensure you are operating within Michigan law.
Are There Legal Consequences If My Visitation Time is Denied Without Reason?
The simple answer is yes, there is, and these consequences can be severe. Visitation and parenting time are your time, as the non-custodial parent, to be with your child. Therefore, there usually will be harsh consequences if the custodial parent denies you this right.
Examples of some consequences are:
- Contempt of court – If you refuse court-ordered visitation rights, you could be held in contempt of court. As a custodial parent who refuses visitation rights, you could suffer high fines or jail time.
- You could lose custody of your child – If you refused court-ordered custody, you could lose yours. In the eyes of the court, by refusing proper custody and visitation time, it might infer that you are not putting your child’s needs first.
- You could be liable for all payment attorney, court, and legal fees – As the parent that declines custody can be held liable for all court fees and legal expenses.
So, denying court ordered visitation time without the proper guidance of your experienced Southfield custody lawyer is a bad idea and could lead to harsh, lengthy, and unwanted legal consequences.
What Are Some Valid Reasons for Changing My Visitation Time?
First, if you or your ex-spouse has reason to alter visitation time, you must be very careful in legally making this change and have valid, substantial evidence to do so.
Numerous factors go into determining visitation and parenting time in the first place.
It’s always best that you and your ex-spouse initially agree on your own to a workable schedule for visitation for the non-custodial parent. If you disagree, the Michigan court will determine it for you. The court has one primary directive: to do what’s in your child’s best interest when making this determination.
Usually, most parenting schedules are based on the following factors:
- Your child’s (or children’s) age.
- The child’s input and wishes.
- Both parents’ work schedules and their residences.
- How far the custodial parent lives from the other.
- If there is any history of domestic violence or child abuse against the child or other spouse.
- Working out a schedule that should include holidays and weekends.
- And more.
However, life constantly changes; what worked initially may not work now. You or your ex-spouse may move, change jobs, lose jobs, and more. So, whatever the reason, if you are struggling with parenting time issues, you should first get the sound legal advice of a Southfield divorce lawyer to ensure you are within your rights.
Your qualified and experienced divorce lawyer will analyze the specifics of your situation and always advise you on your rights and responsibilities under the Michigan Child Custody Act.
Of course, there are rare times when immediate action may be needed, but even then, getting your lawyer’s advice as soon as possible is the best decision for you and your child.
Is Filing a Motion to Change Visitation Time Difficult?
This answer depends on your unique circumstances for wanting to change parenting time and how critical this change may be.
However, if you feel that you do need to change or withhold parenting time or visitation, you must meet with your custody lawyer to file a motion. Once drafted and presented to the court, your motion becomes a formal request to the Court for relief.
For example, let’s say that the current visitation schedule is no longer in your child’s best interest. If changes have occurred, and there is a “legitimate reason” for the change, it can be legally done once the Court approves your motion.
Once your lawyer knows all the pertinent facts, they will advise you of your rights and responsibilities under the law and ensure your change is made quickly and correctly.
I Must Deny Or Change Visitation; How Should I Proceed?
Having to change or deny visitation or parenting time can be extremely stressful, and due to the harsh nature of Michigan laws, you must get clarification on what you should do.
Therefore, you must consult with an experienced Southfield divorce lawyer to assist you in making this change while preserving your legal rights and privileges with your child.
The ADAM American Divorce Association has managed these complex and emotionally laden cases for Michigan residents successfully and empathetically for years. Take advantage of their experience and thorough knowledge and call them today at (248) 356-2326 to ensure your and your child’s best interests are upheld.