Supreme Court announces updated Michigan Parenting Time Guideline

The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday announced the release of its Friend of the Court Bureau's (FOCB) updated Michigan Parenting Time Guideline to aid parents in setting up parenting time schedules.

The Guideline reflects increased accessibility (e.g., use of plain language, visual representations of schedules and concepts) and acknowledgement that every family and every child has unique circumstances and needs.

The FOCB estimates that this tool could benefit at least 36,000 children annually in Michigan, whose families are affected by parenting time ordered in a new
divorce, custody, paternity, or support case.

Even more children are affected by modified parenting time orders on existing cases each year.

"Courts are resources for their communities," said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. "This valuable, commonsense tool reflects the needs of families today and empowers them to design a parenting time schedule that best works for them and keeps them connected."


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Highlights of the guideline include:

  • 14 sample schedules.
  • Focus on the developmental needs of children at different ages.
  • Information on long-distance parenting time, as well as parenting time for incarcerated and institutionalized parents.
  • Details about how to address domestic violence situations.

The new guideline reflects input from an advisory committee that was convened by the FOCB and included judges, family law attorneys, referees, and friends of the court (FOC) from across Michigan. The committee also received help from the Michigan State University Chance at Childhood Clinic to rewrite the Michigan Guideline.

"Borrowing from the success and experience of the best practices from around the country, the Guideline helps parents, friends of the court, practitioners and the courts develop individualized parenting plans that serve a child's unique circumstances, developmental and individual needs," said advisory committee member Shelley Kester, attorney with Wilson & Kester PLLC and executive committee member of the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section.