When you are in the middle of a divorce, or you are just starting to think about filing for divorce, you should know that any divorce case involving minor children will require the court to consider issues of child custody and parenting time. When it comes to making decisions about parenting time and how the parties will co-parent, each parent’s ideas about how the child should spend holidays and summer breaks can result in disputes.
Summer schedules can be particularly complicated because parents typically need to work, but kids are on a break from school. At the same time, parents might assume summer is the best time to plan a family vacation, and they might end up booking a trip without fully considering the implications for co-parenting. We want to tell you more about how you can plan ahead for a summer custody schedule when you are in the process of getting divorced, how you can modify a summer custody schedule if your plans change, and making a plan for summer with the acknowledgement that summer schedules often change.
Creating a Parenting Time Schedule
In order to understand how summer custody schedules work, it is important to understand first how the creation of custody schedules works in general. Under Michigan law, when parents get divorced or separated, the Michigan Courts explains that parenting time is part of the child custody determination, and it refers to the amount of time that each parent spends providing caretaking functions for the child.
Under Michigan child custody law, parents have the flexibility to develop a parenting time schedule that accommodates their specific family situation and that is in the best interests of the child. In situations where the parents cannot reach an agreement about how they will share parenting time, the court may look to a sample schedule in conjunction with a consideration of the child’s best interests to develop a parenting time schedule for a particular family situation. However, Michigan courts prefer that parents develop a schedule themselves.
How Parenting Time Schedules Work in the Summertime
The sample schedule for parenting time during summer break, or the summer custody schedule, looks like this:
“The non-custodial parent shall have parenting time commencing the first Friday after the Fourth of July at 6:00 p.m. and continuing for four weeks until the fourth Friday at 6:00 p.m. During this period, the custodial parent shall exercise weekend parenting time beginning on the second Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ending on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.”
While this schedule may be the sample schedule, parents can develop their own summer custody schedule in a way that fits the needs of their family’s situation. For example, if the parents want to continue the regular school-year custody schedule, they can do so. Or, for instance, if the parents want to plan to alternate summers—with the child spending an entire summer with one parent—the parents can develop a summer custody schedule that is in the child’s best interests.
When You Need to Modify Your Parenting Time Schedule
If a situation changes and you need to modify your parenting time schedule for the summer, it is relatively easy to do with the other parent’s consent. If the other parent does not agree, then you will need to petition the court. The process of modifying a parenting time schedule typically begins by filing a Motion Regarding Custody form. An experienced Michigan child custody lawyer can say more.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney in Michigan
Summer parenting time schedules can get tricky, but Michigan law gives families flexibility in most situations to determine what kind of parenting time schedule works for their needs. If you have questions about developing a summer parenting time plan or modifying one, an experienced Michigan child custody lawyer at our firm can help. Contact Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC today.