Sumner PC & Associates
Aggressive Child Visitation Lawyer in Michigan
Scott J. Sumner has been practicing Family Law for 14 years in Southeastern and Northwestern Michigan. Our aggressive advocacy and representation may ease many of the stresses that are placed on your family during these times. Do not wait too long. The legal issues can multiply if you don’t give them attention right from the beginning. Secure your visitation rights with the help of an aggressive Michigan child visitation lawyer. Contact Sumner & Associates today, and get started with a free consultation.
How Does the Court Grant Parenting Time?
The court generally grants parenting time to the non-custodial parent. The judgment may order general parenting time, leaving it up to the parties to decide the dates, or it may provide specific parenting time hours and dates. If the parties must travel long distances to exercise this parenting time, arrangements can be made to share the cost. Our aggressive Child Visitation Lawyer in Michigan can help you in such situations.
Parenting time rights may be enforced in the same manner as rights to spousal support. Judgments of divorce provide that the minor child may not be permanently removed from the jurisdiction of the court without the court’s approval. To move with the child from Michigan, the custodial parent must petition the court for an order.
Either party may modify parenting time orders by showing a change in circumstances. If one spouse has wrongfully denied parenting time to the other, the law allows the wronged spouse to make up this time. It also permits a contempt of court action to be brought against the offending parent that can lead to a fine or jail term. Failure to pay child support is not an acceptable reason to deny parenting time.
To speak to a child visitation lawyer in Michigan, contact Sumner & Associates today.
Court Must Sign Off on Parenting Agreements
While parents may come to all sorts of agreements in the course of their divorce, the court must sign off on any parenting agreements that the parents arrange. In most cases, the court will sign off on whatever agreement the parents come to. If, however, there is serious cause for concern with one of the parents, the court will reject the parenting agreement that the parents have negotiated. This will happen in cases where one parent has a:
- criminal history,
- history of drug or alcohol abuse,
- history of domestic or sexual violence, or
- other issues that they will see as a threat to the children.
The “default” position of the court, however, is that it is in the children’s best interests to have access to both of their parents. It won’t deviate from that position without cause.
Unstructured Approaches to Parenting Time
In cases where both parents can come to an amicable agreement and both parents are willing to accommodate one another, the court may agree to an unstructured approach to dividing parenting time. So in essence, parents are allowed to divide parenting time between each other. That is, so long as both parents have reasonable access to the children.
In other cases, the courts will have to enforce a strict schedule in which each parent has specific days and the parents alternate holidays.
Common Approaches to Dividing Visitation
Typically, one parent will be responsible for the children during the week. Then, the other parent will be responsible for them over the weekend. Another common approach is to alternate weekends.
The paramount question that governs these agreements is the question of stability. While both parents having access to the children is in the best interests of the children, the court also understands the need to have a stable schedule for the children.
Granting Visiting Time to a Non-Custodial Parent
Each state determines whether or not a non-custodial parent should be granted visitation time based on the best interests of the child. In some cases, the court will determine that one parent should not be granted access to the child. Common reasons for this include ongoing drug problems, legal issues, or a history of abuse. In many cases, the courts may reconsider a prior motion to refuse a parent visitation based on a recent history of:
- employment, or
- treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
What Kind of Disputes Occur in Visitation Arrangements?
Most divorces involve some level of animosity between the spouses. In some cases, this can seep into the ongoing relationship that the parents are forced to have. Disputes can arise in terms of scheduling visitation. Accusations may fly when the custodial parent cancels or reschedules a visitation or otherwise fails to fulfill their end of the agreement. One party may feel that the other party is inflexible or unwilling to compromise to ensure the children have access to both parents.
That being said, work schedules, travel plans, and a myriad of other factors can disrupt a visitation schedule. When a non-custodial parent feels that they are being unfairly denied visitation to their children, they will need a child visitation lawyer to help advocate on their behalf.
In this case, either party can file a grievance with the court. The court will make a determination as to whether or not the canceled visitation was justified or not. Your lawyer’s job is to help ensure you get access to your children as agreed upon. The court has a number of ways of putting pressure on a parent who is vindictively denying their children access to the other parent.
Does Child Support Affect Parenting Time?
It does, but probably not in the way you imagine. Paying child support will not affect whether or not one parent has access or visitation with the children. Only a judge can make the order. However, the amount of time the children spend with one parent is factored into child support costs.
For instance, let’s say the children spend the vast majority of their time with one parent. If that’s the case, then that parent should be rightly entitled to more child support. The reason is obvious: They are responsible for the child the majority of the time.
In some cases, parents believe that they can manipulate the situation in order to get more child support. They may do this by denying the other parent access to the child. If that is the case a child visitation lawyer can prove the parent with primary custody is manipulating the situation unscrupulously.
What If One Parent Is Behind in Child Support Payments?
Parenting time arrangements can be disrupted by a number of factors. For instance, let’s say one parent falls behind on their child support payments. The other parent may feel that they can deny that parent visitation. They may try to leverage the other parent into making the required payments by setting it as a condition of visitation. That is not, however, within their rights. The court alone decides how parenting time is divided. It will also impose penalties on a parent who is not paying child support. In other words, one parent may not “punish” the other parent by denying their visitation time. Only the court can punish the parent for failing to make their child support payments.
Regardless of why you’re being denied visitation, the court’s instructions on the matter are legally binding. With the help of your child visitation lawyer, you can ensure that the court-ordered visitation agreement is enforced.
Supervised Parenting Time
In cases where there is a history of drug or alcohol abuse or the parent has a history of legal problems, the court may allow the children to see the parent — but only under the supervision of a social worker, therapist, or another qualified third party. Generally, if the parent is believed to pose any threat to the children, the court will order supervised visitation.
In some cases, the court may order supervised parenting time in the beginning. It may then allow the parent time to sort out their struggles and prove that their relationship with the child is good enough to warrant unsupervised time.
Speak With a Child Visitation Lawyer in Michigan
Scott J. Sumner has been practicing Family Law for 14 years in Michigan. Secure your rights to visitation with the help of an aggressive child visitation lawyer. Contact Sumner & Associates and get the legal help you need today.