PARENTING TIME COMPLAINTS
MCL 552.511b(1) A custody or parenting time order violation means “an individual’s act or failure to act that interferes with a parent’s right to interact with his or her child in the time, place, and manner established in the order that governs custody or parenting time between the parent and the child and to which the individual accused of interfering is subject.”
Oceana County Friend of the Court encourages parents that are separated or divorced to co-parent their children in such a manner as to bring about acceptable resolutions to parenting time disputes.
In those instances where a parenting time dispute exists, the Friend of the Court office must do one or more of the following in response to an alleged custody or parenting time violation:
A. Clients are asked to submit a written Parenting Time complaint within 7 days of the alleged violation. An alleged custody or parenting time violation that occurred more than 56 days before the complaint was submitted may be declined by the FOC.
B. A copy of the written complaint is sent to the other party with a response required within 21 days for violation of court ordered parenting time.
C. After the complaint and response are received the Friend of the Court must do one or more of the following:
- Apply a make-up Parenting Time policy
- Determine if a client should file a petition with the Court.
- Refer selected Parenting Time disputes to the community dispute resolution center for mediation.
- Commence civil contempt proceedings ( an Order to Show Cause for Alleged Violation of Custody/Parenting Time)
SUPPORT AND PARENTING TIME ARE TWO SEPARATE ISSUES
The parent having custody cannot withhold parenting time due to non-payment of support. The payor of child support cannot withhold payment due to denial of parenting time!
COMMUNITY DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER FOR MEDIATION
Mediation and Restoritive Services
27 East Clay Avenue
Muskegon, Michigan 49442
Mediation allows both clients to present their concerns without the formality of the court’s direct involvement. Mediation is, however, an order to participate from the judge in the client’s case. In the event a custody/parenting time dispute remains without resolution the Friend of the Court may request of the Court a referral to the community dispute resolution center.
Those individuals entitled to Friend of the Court services will be referred for mediation to Mediation and Restoritive Services Center per order of the Court.
The Friend of the Court will send the parties an order of the Court that their dispute has been referred to the Mediation and Restoritive Services Center.
The Mediation and Restoritive Services Center will notify the parties of the date, time and location of the mediation session.
After mediation the Mediation and Restoritive Services Center will notify the Court if the mediation was or was not successful.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING PARENTING TIME
At what age may a child decide which parent they may reside with?
Children cannot legally choose where to live until they have reached the age of 18 or are determined to be emancipated.
May I file for Grandparenting time?
Under the new law, grandparents may seek an order for grandparenting time only in certain circumstances:
* Where an action for divorce, separate maintenance, or annulment is pending or finalized.
* Where the child’s parent who is a child of the grandparents is deceased.
*Where paternity has been established in cases where parents are not married.
*Where someone other than the child’s parent has legal custody.
*Where the grandparent has provided an established custodial environment for the child within the prior year.
What if I want to move out of State with my minor child(ren)?
If you are the custodial parent and desire to move out of the State of MI or over 100 miles, with your children you must petition the Court for permission to reside with the children in another state. You may file a “Change of Domicile” petition with Circuit Court. There is no reason to file a petition if you are the non-custodial parent.
What if I want to change my parenting time order?
Custody and parenting time changes occur in the life of many cases. At such times, either party may file a parenting time or custody petition with the Court to review the circumstances of a request for a change or modification of the current order. Or both parties may file a stipulation and agreement.
Provided that both parties are in complete agreement, an order may be modified if the Friend of the Court receives a written statement signed and dated by both parties that include the reason for the change in custody or parenting time and the date the change in custody or parenting time will begin. Phone numbers of the parties must be included so the Friend of the Court may contact each client separately for questions regarding the agreement. Thereafter, the Friend of the Court incorporates this agreement into the form of an order and provides the document to the presiding judge for approval and signature.
The non-custodial parent will not see the children, what can I do?
Parenting time is considered a privilege to enhance and sustain the parent-child relationship. If the non-custodial parent chooses not to exercise parenting time the Friend of the Court cannot enforce any action on this parent. The custodial parent may consider encouraging dialog with the non-custodial parent about the issue. Or, filing a parenting time petition to change the current parenting time order is another choice.
My work schedule makes it difficult to continue with the current parenting time arrangement, what can I do?
Often, one or both parents in a family must work. Just as often, work schedules and jobs can change. If both parties, in a case, are able to be in complete agreement as to how a parenting time schedule can better meet the needs of parents and the minor children then they may provide the Friend of the Court with a written statement that is signed and dated by both parties with their phone numbers. If there is a dispute regarding the change in parenting time one of the parties must file a Parenting Time petition with the Court.
What if I need to speak to someone about my parenting time issues?
You may contact the Oceana County FOC Parenting Time Advocate by telephone or schedule an appointment to meet with this staff member in person. At the conclusion of the meeting you may still be asked to put your concerns in writing.
When I file a petition or come to Court do I need an attorney?
When any client files a Pro Per petition that client does not have to hire an attorney. However, each person has the right to an attorney in any Court proceedings. The Friend of the Court staff cannot suggest any particular attorney for personal representation of a client in any court matter.