Navigating the complexities of creating a balanced parenting schedule can be challenging for divorced or separated parents in Michigan. Ensuring a fair and harmonious arrangement that caters to both parents and the child’s needs is of utmost importance. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of crafting an effective parenting time MI schedule, understanding the legal framework, and utilizing various tools and resources to ensure the best outcome for all parties involved.  If you need assistance in working towards the best parenting schedule for your child or children, contact our office for help.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding parenting time in Michigan and its importance.
  • Crafting a balanced holiday parenting schedule that takes into account the best interests of the child.
  • Utilizing tools and resources to create effective schedules, addressing unforeseen challenges with open communication, and dealing with third-party interference.

Understanding Parenting Time in Michigan

Understanding Parenting Time in MI

Parenting time, as defined by Michigan law, refers to the schedule that families adhere to, delineating when a child spends time with each parent and allowing them to exercise parenting time. It plays a critical role in:

  • Sustaining a beneficial parent-child bond
  • Influencing where children reside
  • Determining the frequency of which they see each parent

Custody and parenting time decisions in Michigan are typically determined as part of a divorce case, custody case, or other types of family court cases.

Defining Parenting Time and Its Importance

The Michigan family courts firmly recognize that a strong connection between a child and both of their parents, or her child, plays an important role in the child’s development. Accordingly, they will always strive to enact arrangements which enable such connections to form and grow.

Parenting time significantly contributes to maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship. A well-organized schedule can provide both parents with adequate time with their child, reducing conflicts and misunderstandings.

Crafting a Balanced Holiday Parenting Time Schedule

Parenting Time Schedule

Creating a fair and balanced holiday parenting time schedule may pose a challenge. However, it is important to allow both parents the opportunity to spend quality time with their child during special occasions. Michigan family courts suggest the following guidelines for creating a holiday schedule:

  • Alternate each parents holidays every year to ensure both custodial and noncustodial parents stay connected to the children.
  • Consider the needs and preferences of both parents and the child when determining holiday schedules.
  • Prioritize the best interests of the child when making decisions about holiday parenting time.

By considering these factors and working together, a mutually agreeable holiday schedule can be achieved.

Holiday Schedule Considerations

Creating a holiday schedule requires consideration of factors such as alternating years, special dates like Father’s Day, and the child’s school calendar. For example, in even-numbered years, the father could be granted parenting time on certain holidays, and in odd-numbered years, the father could be allotted custody on different holidays. By taking these factors into account, parents can create a holiday schedule that works for everyone involved and minimizes potential conflicts.

Special Dates and School Breaks

Including school breaks and special dates in the parenting time schedule can aid in seamless transitions for the child during these periods. It is important to be aware of the child’s school calendar and adjust the holiday parenting schedule accordingly to accommodate school holidays and breaks.

This could include determining which custodial parent has custody during particular holidays, such as Mother’s Day or Memorial Day, or organizing for longer vacations and holidays when the child is on leave from school.

Navigating Parenting Time During School Terms

Navigating Parenting Time During School

Managing parenting time during the school year may be intricate, requiring parents to balance their work schedules, the child’s school routine, and the need for consistency. By establishing a consistent weekday and weekend schedule that accommodates both parents’ work schedules and the child’s school routine, parents can minimize disruptions and maintain a sense of stability for their child.

Weekday and Weekend Arrangements

There are multiple options for reasonable parenting time schedules, depending on who has custody and multiple other factors, ranging from week on week off, to one parent having alternating weekends, to supervised time. There is no one size fits all solution, and each families needs are different.

One common arrangement for parenting time during weekdays in Michigan is the “2-2-3” or “2-2-5” schedule, where one parent has the children on Monday and Tuesday, the other parent has them on Wednesday and Thursday, and then they alternate weekends.

This arrangement allows for a consistent schedule that works for both parents and the child, taking into account work schedules and the child’s school routine.

Adjusting for Non-Consecutive Holidays

Adapting the parenting time schedule for non-consecutive holidays, such as spring break or winter break, can help minimize disruptions to the child’s routine. Parents can alternate holidays, share holidays, or divide the time during longer school breaks to ensure a smooth transition for the child during these periods.

By carefully considering the child’s school calendar, parents can create a parenting time schedule that accommodates the needs of all parties involved.

The Legal Framework for Parenting Time Orders

The Legal Framework for Parenting Time Orders

Grasping the legal process for obtaining and modifying parenting time orders in Michigan is vital for parents navigating custody disputes. The initial court order process involves filing a petition with the court and attending a hearing at a minimum. However there can be many steps along the way, depending on the level or cooperation or animosity between the parties, whether mediation or Friend of the Court investigations are necessary, and in some cases a trial.

Modifications to existing orders require proper cause or a change of circumstances that significantly impacts the child’s well-being.

Initial Court Order Process

To establish custody and parenting time, parents must first establish paternity, file a motion with the court, and attend a hearing. During the hearing, the judge will consider factors such as the best interests of the child, the needs of the child, parent availability, and domestic violence, unless the parties have come to an agreement in the meantime.

The court will then issue a reasonable parenting time order that outlines the custody arrangement and parenting time schedule.

Modifications to Existing Orders

To modify an existing parenting time order, parents must demonstrate proper cause or a change of circumstances that significantly impacts the child’s well-being. This may include changes in the child’s needs, the parent’s capacity to provide for the child, or transformations in the parent’s living situation.

Parents must file a motion with the court and request a hearing to present their case for modification.

Ensuring Children’s Safety and Well-being

Children's Safety and Well-being

The safety and well-being of the child is of paramount importance in any parenting time arrangement. Protective measures in parenting plans and the involvement of the Friend of the Court can help ensure the child’s best interests are protected. By incorporating these safety provisions in parenting plans and working with the Friend of the Court, parents can address concerns such as domestic violence or parental kidnapping.

Protective Measures in Parenting Plans

Including safety provisions in parenting plans can help tackle issues such as domestic violence or parental kidnapping. Such measures may include:

  • Preserving and promoting consistency and routine for the child
  • Implementing a safety plan
  • Minimizing ongoing contact between the parents
  • Supervision of time to ensure safe contact

The Role of Friend of the Court

The Friend of the Court in Michigan serves to:

  • Mediate custody disputes
  • Ensure adherence to court orders
  • Conduct investigations
  • Produce reports
  • Suggest recommendations regarding child custody.

Each counties Friend of the Court operates differently.

Utilizing Tools and Resources for Parenting Time Schedules

Leveraging technology and legal resources can significantly assist parents in effectively creating and managing parenting time schedules. Tools like co-parenting apps such as AppClose, Google Calendar, and Our Family Wizard can simplify the process of creating and managing parenting time schedules.

Addressing Unforeseen Challenges in Parenting Time

Unexpected challenges in parenting time, such as disagreements between parents or third-party interference, may occur and disrupt the established parenting time schedule.

Prompt and effective resolution of these challenges is necessary, with an emphasis on maintaining open communication and focusing on the child’s best interests.

When Parents Cannot Agree

In cases where parents cannot agree on a parenting time schedule, they may need to take the following steps to resolve the dispute:

  1. File a motion with the court.
  2. The court may order mediation or alternative dispute resolution to assist the parents in reaching a mutually agreeable solution.
  3. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may schedule a hearing to listen to both sides and make a decision regarding parenting time.

In some cases, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem or custody evaluator to gather information and make recommendations to the court.

Dealing with Third-Party Interference

Dealing with third-party interference, such as a new partner or family member, can be challenging, but maintaining open communication and focusing on the child’s best interests is key. Parents should discuss their concerns openly and work together to ensure that any third-party involvement does not disrupt the established parenting time schedule or negatively impact the child’s well-being.


In conclusion, creating a balanced and effective parenting time schedule in Michigan requires understanding the legal framework, utilizing available tools and resources, and addressing unforeseen challenges. By focusing on the best interests of the child and maintaining open communication, parents can ensure that their children are well-cared for and that their parenting time arrangements are harmonious and fair for all parties involved. Contact our office at Steslicki and Ghannam PLC for help with your parenting time schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

When divorced parents don’t agree on parenting?

When divorced parents don’t agree on parenting, they should continue communicating to reach a consensus. If they cannot agree on their own they will need to involve the Court.

What factors should be considered when creating a holiday parenting time schedule?

When creating a holiday parenting time schedule, alternating years, special dates, and the child’s school calendar should all be considered.