PARENTING TIME ORDERS

A parenting time order grants time between the parent who does not have custody, and the children. The Michigan Child Custody Act (MCL 722.27a, MSA 25.312(7a)) states: "It is in the best interest of the child to have frequent and constant contact with the non-custodial parent. If the parents agree on parenting time terms, the court shall order those parenting time terms, unless the court determines on the record that the parenting time terms are not in the best interests of the child. A child shall have a right to parenting time with a parent unless it is shown on the record by clear and convincing evidence that the parenting time would jeopardize the child's physical, mental or emotional health".

During the person's parenting time, that parent is responsible for all routine decisions affecting the child.

PARENTING TIME ENFORCEMENT

The Marquette County Friend of the Court is required to provide enforcement services regarding orders for parenting time.

The Friend of the Court must begin enforcement when it receives a written statement containing specific facts. This statement should include dates, times and reasons given about any claimed denial of parenting time. A parenting time complaint form is available through the Friend of the Court Office. Contact the Friend of the Court Office to obtain the correct form.

However, the FOC may decline to respond if (1) the alleged violation occurred more than 56 days before the complaint is made, (2) the complaining party has previously made two or more similar complaints that were found by the court to be unwarranted and the complaining party has failed to pay the costs assessed in those prior proceedings, or (3) the court order does not include an enforceable parenting time provision.

The FOC starts enforcement proceedings by sending a copy of the written complaint to the accused party within 14 days after the FOC office receives the complaint.

if the Friend of the Court believes that the parenting time order has been violated, the office may:

(1) Schedule a meeting with the parties and attempt to resolve the dispute; or

(2) Refer the parties to a mediator if they agree to mediation.

If either of the above options are not successful, the Friend of the Court shall do one or more of the following:

(1) Apply local make-up parenting time policy. Each office is required to have such a policy. Contact your local office for more information.

(2) Schedule a contempt of court hearing. At the time of this hearing, the parent who is ordered to appear in court is required to show "good cause" why he/she is not obeying the court's order for parenting time. If the court decides the parent is in violation of the court order, the court may impose penalties including make-up parenting time, fines, license suspension, and jail time.

(3) Petition the court for a change in the existing parenting time order. A report and recommendation will be provided in writing to the parties or their attorneys before any court hearing.

PARENTING TIME MODIFICATION ACTIONS STARTED BY PARTIES

An individual may file his/her own motion for a change in his/her parenting time order. This is known as an In Pro Per, or Pro Se, parenting time modification. The office of the Friend of the Court will provide forms and instructions to any party who wishes to file this type of motion without the benefit of an attorney.

A party may also contact an attorney to file a motion requesting a change in the parenting time order.

If both parents agree (stipulate) to change the parenting time order in a way that benefits their child, they may sign an agreement (stipulation) that is available upon request at the FOC Office. Once that agreement is put in the form of an order, signed by the judge, and filed with the county clerk, it will become an order of the court.