Hi there, welcome back and thanks for joining us. We’ve been talking about how the Family Court in Oakland County awards visitation (which is called parenting time here in Michigan), and how you can go about changing your visitation plan. Many parents aren’t satisfied with the parenting time awarded to them by the court – they want more or different time with their kids, and it’s hard to blame them. There are lots of reasons that parents want or need a different visitation schedules. Work schedules change, life events like moves, remarriage or financial difficulties can bring about the need to change a parenting time plan.
However, wanting something and knowing how to get it are two different things. And that’s exactly what we’re hoping to break down for you here – a basic list of what you’ll have to do in order to change your parenting time agreement here in Oakland County. Obviously, we recommend you talk to your attorney and let them help you with the process, but this should give you an overview of what to expect. The information that we’re providing is the tip of the iceberg so be prepared by spend some time with your family law attorney getting the whole picture.
It’s the court, not you, that changes the parenting time order!
Believe it or not, only the court can change a visitation order. That means no matter how badly you want it, you aren’t able to make the changes yourself. It also means the decision isn’t up to your ex. Only a Judge in Oakland County’s Family Court can adjust your court ordered parenting time schedule. It may sound harsh, but there are good reasons for that. However, when both parents agree to change a parenting time schedule, almost always, the court will be willing to change the court order to reflect the agreement made by both parents. As always, before you commit to any changes, speak to your attorney.
Let’s say a couple in Novi gets divorced. She keeps the kids, he gets visitation, but because she’s mad at him, she wants to change his parenting time schedule to something that totally doesn’t work with his schedule (thereby making it practically impossible for him to see his kids.) Thankfully, she can’t unilaterally change the parenting time schedule- not without violating a court order. So you see, it may be inconvenient, but it also protects parents caught up in contentious divorces.
So how do you get a Judge to change your parenting time order?
You don’t start with the Judge, you start with your family law attorney. Discuss your parenting time schedule with your attorney, and explain what you’re hoping to change and why. Your attorney should be able to help you understand what you’re up against, what your chances of success are, and walk you through the entire process, step by step. Your attorney will explain the factors that the court will consider as well as the process that is involved in requesting that the scheduled be revised.
Next, you’ll probably want to discuss the proposed changes with the other parent. If they’re on board, the rest of the process is easy, as a judge is likely to support a parenting time change that’s fair and both parents have already agreed to it. But if your ex doesn’t agree, you may be in for a fight (which is another good reason to have an experienced family attorney – because this part can be real tricky!)
What if we can’t agree and the Judge has to decide?
If you and your ex can’t agree, and you end up in court trying to change your parenting time schedule, the Judge will consider many factors. These include (but aren’t limited to):
- Whether or not the change will alter your child’s established custodial environment
- Whether or not the change will alter how often, or for how long parenting time occurs
- Whether or not the change will add, alter, or remove a parenting time condition (such as supervision or drug tests)
- How the proposed change might interfere with both parents work schedules and availability, and the child’s availability (is your child involved in extracurricular activities that would have to be cancelled to accommodate the changes)
Modifying a parenting time order in Oakland County can be complex.
There’s a lot to consider when deciding to change your parenting time agreement. Overall, judges do what is best for the children and what is fair to the parents. If you have a custody or parenting time concern you’d like help with, or you want to modify your child support, call The Kronzek Firm at 248 479-6200. Our top family law attorneys offer premier family legal services to all residents of Oakland County, including Royal Oak, Inkster,Troy, Farmington Hills and Bloomfield Hills. We’re available 24/7 to help you, no matter how complex, confusing, or stressful the issue. Our office is conveniently located in Farmington Hills.