The Law on Parenting Time in Michigan; a Three Part Series

Shelby Township Custody Lawyer

Parenting Time Rights in Michigan

By: Dennis M. Germain, Michigan Family Law Attorney & Counselor at Law

This is the central page of a three part series by family law and divorce attorney, Dennis Germain.  The series discusses your legal rights in Michigan regarding parenting time, otherwise known as visitation, physical custody, etc.

Too often attorneys forget there are many differences between the laws regarding “custody” and the laws regarding “parenting time.”  If your attorney is not well-versed in the parenting time statutes, case law, state recommended guidelines, and locally recommended guidelines in your jurisdiction, he/she is doing you and your children quite a disservice.

Whereas the primary concern with child custody is the stability of the child’s environment and avoidance of unwarranted disruptive changes, the focus of parenting time is to foster a strong relationship between the child and its parents.  FN1.  Whereas custody is governed only under the “12 Best Interest Factors,” too often attorneys forget that parenting time is governed under the 12 Best Interest Factors and may allow for an analysis under the “9 Parenting Time Factors.”

This three part series addresses the too-often-forgotten section of the Michigan Child Custody Act, entitled “Parenting Time,” MCL 722.27a.

Part 1, “Your Right to a Specific Parenting Time Schedule in Michigan,” focuses on a parent’s right to a schedule clarifying exactly when, where, and how parenting time will occur, particularly where one parent is arbitrarily denying another parenting time pursuant to a vague custody order.

Part 2, “Your Right to Decision Making during Your Parenting Time in Michigan,” focuses on a parent’s right to enjoy unfettered decision-making over routine matters during his/her parenting time, particularly where the parents enjoy joint legal custody.

Part 3, “Modifying Custody vs. Modifying Parenting Time in Michigan,” focuses on the differences in legal standards when trying to modify custody versus modifying parenting time.


FN1 – Shade v Wright, 291 Mich App 17, 28; 805 NW2d 1 (2010); MCL 722.27a.

Please note that this article is intended to be academic in nature.  Its purpose is to serve as a memorialization of research as well as invoke community discussion.  This article shall not constitute legal advice.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Legal advice should be given on a case-by-case basis, as its accuracy is relative to the timing and particular facts of the given matter.  It is important to always consult an attorney regarding legal matters.

I am Dennis M. Germain, a family law attorney who promotes fair resolutions to domestic relations matters.  I primarily practice in Macomb County, Wayne County, and Oakland County, Michigan.  My office is in Shelby Township, Michigan.  My office and contact information is listed as follows:

Best Interest Law
48639 Hayes Road, Suite A
Shelby Township, MI 48315

Ph: (586) 219-6454 Fax: (586) 439-0404 Email:

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