Parenting Time Guidelines

Parenting Time Guidelines

These general guidelines apply when the Court gives the non-custodial parent rights of reasonable and liberal parenting time with the minor child(ren) of the parties. In the event that a Parenting Time Order is, or becomes inconsistent, with a Personal Protection Order or the conditions of a bond between these same parties, in such case, the Personal Protection Order or the conditions of the bond shall take precedence over the terms of this Order. See MCR 3.706(C)(3).

This Guideline for reasonable and liberal parenting time is a starting point which the Court uses to determine the parenting time which is in the best interests of the minor child(ren) of the parties. The parenting time which is ultimately Ordered by the Court will be based on the facts and circumstances of each case. Parties are always able to negotiate and consent to different parenting time terms which are in the best interests of the minor child(ren).

Minimum Parenting Time:
The parties are encouraged to work with each other to allow the minor child to spend as much time with both parents, as is appropriate. The parties should work with each other, in the event of conflicts with their Parenting Time Order, or special events, which may require that alternate parenting time arrangements be made between the parties. In the event that a cancellation of the scheduled parenting time is required, notice of at least 24 hours should be provided to the other party. Alternate parenting time should be scheduled promptly between the parties in the event of conflicts. The parties should work together for the purpose of taking into account the reasonable activities which the minor child is involved in and its impact on the Court Ordered Parenting Time.

Cooperation:    
The parents should cooperate with respect to a child to advance a child’s health, emotional, and physical well-being and to give and afford a child the affection of both parents and a sense of security. Neither parent should, directly or indirectly, influence a child so as to prejudice a child against the other parent. The parties should cooperate with each other in carrying out the provisions of their Order for a child’s best interests. Whenever it seems necessary to adjust, vary or increase the time allotted to either party, or otherwise take action regarding a child, each of the parties should act in the best interests of the child. Neither party should do anything which may estrange the other from the child, injure the child’s opinion of the other party, or otherwise hamper the free and natural development of the child for the other party.

Extracurricular Activities:    
The parties should cooperate with each other when enrolling the child(ren) in extracurricular activities to ensure that the activities do not interfere with the ability of the child(ren) to exercise parenting time with either parent. Parents should keep each other apprised of the activities of the minor child(ren), so as to allow each other to attend or participate in the activity, and to plan for flexibility in parenting time arrangements.

Presence of other third parties:  
The requirement of the presence of third parties for supervision purposes, or the exclusion of third parties during periods of parenting time with the minor child(ren), are addressed by the Court on a case by case basis upon proper petition filed by either party.

Transportation:  
Parenting Time is for the benefit of the minor child(ren) and the parents should share transportation equally.  It is customary for the parent exercising parenting time to provide transportation for the minor child(ren) at the start of his or her parenting time.  For example, if father is exercising his parenting, he picks the child(ren) up at the start of his time, and mother picks the child(ren) up at the start of her parenting time.  Some parties prefer to meet at a midpoint between the households for all exchanges.  Where the distance between the parties is greater and air travel is required, the parties would share in the cost of the plane ticket.  Transportation for midweek parenting time is traditionally the responsibility of the parent exercising parenting time. 

Phone numbers and addresses:   
Each parent should provide the phone numbers and addresses as to where the minor child(ren) shall be during overnight parenting time periods with each parent.

Telephone Parenting Time:   
Each parent should have telephone parenting time with the minor child(ren), when the child(ren) are with the other party at reasonable times. The frequency of contact should be established on a case by case basis. In the event that the child(ren) are unavailable, the Parent receiving the call should initiate a return call to the other parent within 24 hours. Each party shall provide a working phone number to the other party for the purpose facilitating telephone parenting time. The minor child(ren) should be given reasonable privacy during telephone parenting time with the other parent.

Exchanges of Minor Child(ren):   
The exchange of the minor child(ren) shall take place promptly at the times specified in the Court Order.  A one-half hour grace period (30 minutes) should be given to allow for inclement weather and/or traffic problems.  The parties are encouraged to use cell phones in the event of a delay in meeting for the parenting time exchange.  

Parenting Time Guidelines for Minor Child(ren) over 3 years of age:  The standard parenting time schedule serves as a starting point and applies to children over 3 years of age.

1. ALTERNATE WEEKENDS are generally defined as Friday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday at 6:00 p.m

2. MID-WEEK PARENTING TIME generally includes up to two additional dinner time visits, generally from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on           mutually convenient evenings for the parties.

3. SUMMER VACATION for the non-custodial parent generally consists of up to four non-consecutive one week periods, longer                periods shall be permitted upon the agreement of the parties.
       a. The non-custodial parent may not tack on extended summer time periods on to normal weekend parenting time, without                      consideration given to the custodial parent’s weekend schedule.
       b. The non-custodial parent shall give the custodial parent written notice (with a copy to the Friend of the Court) of the requested             summer parenting time by April 1st of each year.
       c. The non-custodial parent shall have preference for their choice of summer parenting times, provided that the aforesaid notice            is timely given to the custodial parent.   

4. SUMMER VACATION for the custodial parent generally consists of two non-consecutive one week periods of uninterrupted time with     the minor child(ren).
       a. The custodial parent shall provide notice to the non-custodial parent by April 15th of each year (with a copy to the Friend of the           Court).
       b. In the event that the non-custodial parent takes summer parenting time in blocks of more than 14 days, the custodial parent                shall have reciprocal parenting time rights during those periods.

5.  HOLIDAY PARENTING TIME:  The parents are encouraged to work together to create a holiday schedule that allows the children to     participate in family traditions and practices of both parents. Holiday parenting time shall take precedence over other regular            parenting time.  Spring Break and Winter/Christmas Break parenting time shall occur in accordance with the school district calendar     in which the child is enrolled.  If the child is not school age, or not enrolled in a traditional school setting, parenting time shall occur     in accordance with the school district calendar in which the child resides with the custodial parent.  If the parents are unable to             reach an agreement regarding holiday parenting time, the following schedule will apply: 
   

HOLIDAY/SPECIAL DAYS AND SCHOOL BREAKS

EVEN YEARS

ODD YEARS

Spring Break

Father

Mother

Easter Sunday

Father

Mother

Memorial Day Weekend (Fri to Mon)

Mother

Father

Independence Day (July 3rd to July 5th)

Father

Mother

Labor Day Weekend (Fri to Mon)

Mother

Father

Halloween (October 31st)

Father

Mother

Thanksgiving 1st Half (Wed to Fri)

Mother

Father

Thanksgiving 2nd Half (Fri to Sun)

Father

Mother

Winter Break 1st Half (including Christmas Eve & Day)

Father

Mother

Winter Break 2nd Half (including New Year’s Eve & Day)

Mother

Father

Mother’s Day

Mother

Mother

Fathers Day

Father

Father

Child #1 Birthday *Includes siblings

Mother

Father

Child #2 Birthday *Includes siblings

Father

Mother

Additional children’s birthdays continue to alternate

 


 
    1. Spring break parenting time shall be from 6:00 p.m. the day school is scheduled to recess until 6:00 p.m. the day before school is scheduled to resume.
    2. Easter, if not occurring during the child's spring break, shall be exercised from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday.
    3. Memorial Day Weekend begins at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before Memorial Day and ends at
      6:00 p.m. on Memorial Day.
    4. Independence Day begins at 6:00 p.m. on July 3rd and ends at 6:00 p.m. on July 5th.
    5. Labor Day Weekend begins at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before Labor Day and ends at 6:00
      p.m. on Labor Day.
    6. Halloween shall be exercised from 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on October 31st.
    7. Thanksgiving (1st half) begins at 6:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and ends on the Friday after Thanksgiving at 6:00 p.m.
    8. Thanksgiving (2nd half) begins at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving and ends on the
      Sunday after Thanksgiving at 6:00 p.m.
    9. Winter/Christmas break (1st half) shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the day school is dismissed and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day that falls half-way through the winter break.
    10. Winter/Christmas break (2nd half) shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the day that falls half-way
      through the winter break and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school commences.
    11. Mother's Day shall be spent with the mother every year, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 6:00 p.m.
    12. Father's Day shall be spent with the father every year, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 6:00 p.m.
    13. Child's birthday shall be exercised from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  If there is more than one child in this case, all of the children shall be included in each of the children's birthday parenting time. *If the child's birthday takes place on the same date as a recognized holiday or school break parenting time, the holiday parenting time or school break parenting time will take precedence over the birthday parenting time.
Parenting Time Guidelines for Minor Child(ren) under 3 years of age:  In all the three young age groups listed below, extended time (e.g. a week or more) away from the primary care giver is not recommended.  This is a level of separation which research has shown to cause distress for the child because the child has not yet developed the concept of object constancy, (knowing mom/dad will be there when they are separated), and need visual (seeing mom or dad) reassurances.  Careful consideration is needed when developing a parenting time schedule for these age groups, and parents are encouraged to develop a schedule that meets the unique needs of their children and family.

1. AGES 0 TO 6 MONTHS:
Frequent visits (up to three) throughout the week should be permitted, for short periods of time.  This is more tolerable and beneficial for the infant, and doesn’t disrupt their routine.  Recommended amount of time is 1 to 4 hours to begin, and once established (parents are working well together), then one of the visits can be for up to 8 hours.  Parents working together mean they are sharing information about feeding, diapering, and napping routines, and are able to discuss the child’s routine and preferences, and send familiar objects with the infant (blanket, toy, etc.).

2. AGES 7 TO 18 MONTHS:
Frequent visits (up to three) throughout the week are recommended, for short periods of time.  The goal is to build up relationships between the toddler and visiting parent. Up to 12 14 months, these visits should be a half-day in length; after 12 months, visits can be extended to a full day (8 hours), possibly both weekend days, with the child sleeping in their own bed at night in between.  Parents need to spend time sharing information about the child’s routines and interaction patterns.  If there is a high degree of familiarity in both homes, longer visits or extended times may be tolerated by the toddler.  It is not recommended that overnights occur due to the stress created by such a separation from the primary caregiver and the risk to disturbing the child’s routines.

3. AGES 19 TO 36 MONTHS:
Frequent visits (1 to 3) throughout the week, consisting of up to eight hours of time are recommended.  If there is no relationship established, shorter visits are helpful to help the transition. If the relationship is established, overnights may be tolerable for this age if the parents are coordinating the support of these visits: taking blankets/stuffed animals, talking about coming and going, taking a picture of the absent parent, discussing the child’s behaviors and routines (eating/sleeping habits). Two weeks in between overnights are also recommended.

4. HOLIDAY PARENTING TIME:  Holiday parenting time schedules pose unique challenges for young children.  Parents are encouraged to work together to create a holiday schedule that meets the needs of both parents and all the children in the case.  When parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding holiday parenting time during this age group, the following schedule will apply:

HOLIDAY/SPECIAL DAYS Under 3 years of age

EVEN YEARS

ODD YEARS

Easter Sunday (9:00 am to 6:00 pm)

Father

Mother

Memorial Day (9:00 am to 6:00 pm)

Mother

Father

Independence Day (July 4th 9:00 am to 6:00pm)

Father

Mother

Labor Day (9:00 am to 6:00pm)

Mother

Father

Halloween (October 31st 5:00pm to 8:30pm)

Father

Mother

Thanksgiving Day (9:00 am to 6:00 pm)

Mother

Father

Christmas Eve (Dec 24th 9:00 am to 6:00pm)

Mother

Father

Christmas Day (Dec 25th 9:00 am to 6:00pm)

Father

Mother

New Years Eve (Dec 31st 9:00 am to 6:00 pm)

Mother

Father

New Years Day (Jan 1st 9:00 am to 6:00 pm)

Father

Mother

Mother’s Day (Sunday 9:00am to 6:00pm)

Mother

Mother

Fathers Day (Sunday 9:00am to 6:00pm)

Father

Father

Child #1 Birthday (5:00 pm to 8:30 pm) *Includes siblings

Mother

Father

Child #2 Birthday (5:00 pm to 8:30 pm) *Includes siblings

Father

Mother

Additional children’s birthdays continue to alternate