Parenting Time/Child Visitation Lawyer in Oakland County & Southfield, Michigan
Parenting time, also known as child visitation, is an important aspect of any divorce involving children in which there is only one custodial parent. In cases of joint custody, parenting time is part of the custodial arrangement. Almost all parents are eager to maintain loving relationships with their offspring after a divorce and research studies have shown that children do better socially, academically, and emotionally when they interact positively with both parents. Such studies have also demonstrated that parents who spend quality time with their children are much more likely to provide their offspring with financial support, in terms of extras as well as in terms of court-ordered child support.
A Balancing Act
Divorce, like marriage, is a balancing act and, where the well-being of children is at stake, the grownups involved should try hard to maintain comfort and stability by keeping their own tension and animosity at bay. The courts have taken the position that, unless there is a question of endangering a child's health, safety, or emotional well-being, neither parent should be denied reasonable access to his or her children.
What Issues Regarding Parenting Time Often Become Contentious
Unfortunately, parenting time all too frequently leads to disputes between divorced parents. The disputes typically involve one party's inability or refusal to meet agreed-upon schedules or the other party's perceived inflexibility. Clearly, both can be problematic. Work schedules and travel plans change; children develop special needs or interests that must be considered; unexpected events, health issues, and accidents occur.
While such situations warrant flexibility and understanding, we all know that there are also people who take advantage, habitually make excuses, and have great trouble meeting commitments and keeping appointments. In a situation in which one or both parents is manipulative, a strong child visitation lawyer in Michigan can be an invaluable ally, offering an objective view, legal knowledge, and emotional support. At McGuigan Law, our priority is always the best possible results for you and your children.
Complications Involving Parenting Time
There are several types of complications that can interfere with the process of positive parenting time arrangements. These commonly include:
- Parenting time without required support payments
- Parent refusing to see the child or vice versa
- Parent refusing to return the child to the custodial parent
As far as a parent who stops sending child support payments for any reason, the court still considers parenting time a binding commitment. In other words, while your family lawyer can help you receive child support payments through wage garnishment or other methods, your ex-spouse has the right to see his or her children whether or not payment has been received.
In cases where the parent refuses to see the child or the child refuses to see the parent, therapy can be helpful. When the parent and child spend time together in the presence of a skilled psychotherapist, it may be possible to repair the relationship to the point where parenting time becomes acceptable, even pleasant. When this is not possible, it may be necessary to have parenting time aspects of the divorce decree altered.
If the non-custodial parent refuses to return the child at the specified time, the custodial parent has the right to contact the police or prosecuting attorney in order to file a parental kidnapping charge.
In any of these complex situations, you will be much more comfortable with an experienced child visitation attorney in your corner, vigorously defending your rights.
Supervised Parenting Time
One of the most serious complications of parenting time occurs when there has been physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or domestic violence in the household during the marriage or when one parent has been abusing alcohol or drugs or engaging in criminal behavior. In such cases, the court may order supervised parenting time.
During supervised parenting time, a parent who has been irresponsible, neglectful, threatening, or dangerous to the children, or who is considered a threat to them for any reason, is only permitted to see them under controlled conditions. Depending on the nature of the parent's behavior, the parenting time may have to take place at a designated visitation center or government agency, or may have to occur in the presence of an approved third party, such as a relative, therapist, or family friend. If one parent is an inpatient in a hospital, rehab center, jail or prison, the parenting time must also be supervised.
Contact a Child Visitation Attorney Serving Oakland County and Southfield, MI
If you are seeking more parenting time or need to change your current child visitation agreement, contact one of our parenting time lawyers at McGuigan Law.
- Family Law
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Divorce Mediation
- Legal Separation
- Parenting Time
- Property Division
- Spousal Support / Alimony
- Same Sex Marriage
- Post Judgement
- Other Practice Areas