Southfield Child Custody Mediation | Troy Divorce Mediator

Michigan Divorce Mediation: Parenting Time Schedules

Research shows that children experience great benefits when parents cooperate. In addition, children need to have frequent contact with each parent in order to maintain close relationships. Because of this, the parenting plan is extremely important in establishing and forming productive co-parenting between the parties. A mediator can assist parties in formulating developmentally appropriate parenting time plans that take into account the needs and best interests of the child and cause the least amount of stress and disruption.


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Many factors need to be considered in order to determine the length, frequency and type of parenting time. These factors may include any special circumstances or needs of the child, the age of the child, the inconvenience to or burdensome impact on the child of traveling to and from the parenting time, any health or medical issues of a parent that may affect that parent’s ability to exercise parenting time, and the likelihood of abuse or neglect of the child during parenting time.

A parenting time plan should be specific, detailed and should address many issues including:

  • When and where will the child be picked up and dropped off?
  • Who will be responsible for transporting the child?
  • Who will be responsible for the cost of transporting the child?
  • Will there be restrictions regarding the presence of third persons during parenting time?
  • How will the parents communicate with each other regarding the child?
  • How will the child communicate with the parent he/she is not with?
  • How will the parents ensure that the parenting time exchange schedule does not cause undue disruption for the child?
  • How will make-up parenting time occur when a child has been denied access to a parent during scheduled parenting time?
  • Are there any legal issues that arise with regard to the number of overnight visits?

A parenting time plan should also address educational issues including:

  • How will the parties inform the school about the particulars of the divorce such as the separate residences of the parents and the parenting schedule?
  • How will each party learn of school events?
  • How will each party receive information about the child’s progress in school?
  • How will the parties address the child’s extracurricular activities?
  • Which party will be responsible for enrolling the child in extracurricular activities?
  • How will parenting time be exercised during extracurricular activities?
  • How will the parties share the costs and transportation responsibilities for the child’s extracurricular activities?
  • How will the parties share the cost of education?

Michigan Parenting Time Mediation

The mediation process allows parties to discuss these issues and make joint decisions based on their mutual understanding of the needs of the child, without court interference. A mediator can aid parents in developing a parenting time plan that includes their parenting principles, a vision for the care of their child, their expectations of each other and how they plan to work together to co-parent in the future. In addition, the non-adversarial nature of mediation promotes positive future interaction between the parents and minimizes the negative effects of divorce on the child by helping the parties focus on the future rather than the past.