ANSWER: It’s frustrating when you’re not receiving support payments from the other parent, and are shouldering the financial burden of supporting your children. But, payment of support and the right to exercise parenting time are two separate issues. Therefore, you’re not allowed to withhold parenting time because the other parent has failed to pay their child support obligation. Parenting time is the right of the other parent to receive, as well as the right of your child. Your child has the right to maintain a relationship with the other parent. Your child shouldn’t be prevented from maintaining that relationship based on whether the other parent’s support obligation is current or not.
ANSWER: If the other parent is violating the terms of the parenting time order, you may file a motion to hold them in contempt of court or you may file a parenting time complaint with your local Friend of the Court office. Before you decide what choice is best for your specific circumstance, contact Schmitt Law, PLLC. We can review the facts and help you determine if you should pursue an FOC complaint or ask the court to intervene.
ANSWER: Even if the other parent were abusive with you in your relationship/marriage, they may still be awarded parenting time. When the court makes decisions about custody and parenting time, they review the best interest factors. And one of the best interest factors sates the judge may consider “Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child” when making a custody and parenting time determination. However, because domestic violence was present in your relationship with the other parent, doesn’t mean the judge will automatically suspend or refuse to grant parenting time to the other parent.
ANSWER: If you and the other parent have a court order that defines parenting time, you may not unilaterally withhold parenting time in violation of the terms of that court order. In Michigan, parenting time orders are treated seriously, and it is forbidden for parents to unilaterally deny parenting time. If you violate the parenting time order, be prepared to be held in contempt of court. If you have immediate concerns that the children will not be safe with the other parent during their parenting time, you must file an emergency motion to seek an emergency order to temporarily suspend the other parent’s parenting time. Or, you may seek a modification of the parenting time schedule. In either event, you will be required to provide the court with evidence that spending time with the other parent is harmful to your children.
If you have concerns regarding parenting time and/or custody, Schmitt Law, PLLC can assist. At Schmitt Law, PLLC, we help parents work together to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children. Through mediation, collaboration, or litigation, if necessary, our knowledgeable Michigan family law attorney will be your advocate and help you through this difficult time. To schedule a consultation or learn more about our services, contact us online or call (616) 608-4634. Our office is located at 401 Hall Street SW, Suite 112D, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.