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Crafting a Fair and Workable Parenting Plan in Michigan

Divorce is often a challenging and emotionally charged experience, and dealing with child custody issues can be particularly daunting. Michigan’s Parenting Time Guidelines offer a framework for parents to create a parenting plan that prioritizes the well-being of their children. But with various factors to consider, crafting a workable and sustainable plan requires careful analysis and open communication. 

The following are the key aspects parents should address to develop a parenting plan that is compliant with the parenting time guidelines:

  • The child’s best interests — Michigan law emphasizes the child’s best interests as the paramount concern. This means taking into account such factors as the child’s age, maturity level, emotional and physical needs and relationship with each parent. The court reviewing the plan will consider the child’s current living situation, school involvement, extracurricular activities and any special needs.
  • Parenting capacity — The parenting plan should reflect each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional well-being. This means evaluating each parent’s living situation, work schedule and availability to meet the child’s daily needs. The court can consider each parent’s history of involvement in the child’s life, their parenting skills and their willingness to cooperate with the other parent.
  • Living arrangements and scheduling — The plan should establish a clear and consistent schedule for parenting time with each parent. This might involve a weekly arrangement with alternating weekends and weekdays, or a bi-weekly schedule with longer stretches of parenting time. The plan should consider the child’s age and needs when determining the frequency and duration of parenting time with each parent. The plan should also address holidays, vacations and special occasions, ensuring that both parents have quality time with the child throughout the year.
  • Communication and dispute resolution — An effective parenting plan outlines a clear communication strategy between parents. This might involve using a communication app or scheduling regular phone calls to discuss the child’s well-being. The plan should also establish a process for resolving disagreements that may arise regarding the parenting time schedule. It can be useful to include a mediation clause that encourages parents to seek professional help in resolving disputes before resorting to litigation.

Children’s needs and circumstances can change over time. The parenting plan should be flexible enough to adapt to these changes. Michigan allows for modifications to the parenting plan upon a showing of a material change in circumstances. Regularly reviewing the plan, perhaps every year or two, can help ensure it continues to meet the child’s best interests.

Crafting a parenting plan is a significant undertaking. An experienced Michigan child custody attorney can help parents understand their rights and obligations under the parenting time guidelines and work to devise a plan that prioritizes the child’s well-being.

Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights has extensive experience handling a full range of family law matters for clients throughout Michigan. Call 833-671-4445 or contact me online to schedule a consultation.

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