Friend of the Court

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Midland, MI 48640-5194

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A parenting-time order specifies when a child will spend time with each parent. 

An order that grants “reasonable” parenting time assumes that you and the other parent will agree to a parenting-time schedule that is convenient to both of you and to the child.  If you and the other parent cannot agree on a “reasonable parenting time” schedule, then the Midland County Co-Parenting Plan if incorporated into your order specifies the parenting time for each parent.

Please note, The Midland County Co-Parenting Plan was implemented in 1997 and has been revised through the years.  Quick links to the Midland County Parenting Plans are available on the sidebar of this page.   Each court order has a specific parenting plan.  If you are unsure which parenting plan is appropriate to your order, please contact your Family Evaluator for assistance and clarification.

If both parents agree to change their parenting-time arrangement, they may sign an agreement to that effect and submit to the FOC.  The FOC will prepare the agreement into an order for the judge to sign.  Even though the parties have agreed to a change, the current order remains in effect until the judge signs a new order and it is filed with the court clerk.

If both parents do not agree to change the parenting-time arrangement, either party may file a motion to change the parenting-time order (see Download Forms).  The FOC office has printed forms and instructions for filing this type of motion. Parties may want to hire an attorney to assist with the motion.

The FOC is required to enforce parenting-time orders. If the other parent is not obeying the parenting-time order, to request enforcement you must file a written complaint with the FOC.  The FOC office usually starts enforcement action when it receives a written complaint stating specific facts that show a violation of an order governing custody or parenting time. The FOC may decline to respond if (1) the alleged violation occurred more than 56 days before the complaint is made, (2) the complaining party has previously made two or more similar complaints that were found by the court to be unwarranted and the complaining party has failed to pay the costs assessed in those prior proceedings, or (3) the court order does not include an enforceable parenting-time provision.

If an Access Denial Hearing is held the Court may order:

  • “makeup” parenting time
  • require the party to show cause why the court should not find the party in contempt
  • modification to the existing parenting-time provisions
  • mediation services 

Co-Parenting Strategies

When parents are separated, it may seem unthinkable to begin to build a new parenting relationship with the other parent. But with effort, it can be done. Here are steps you can take to help ensure that your child can continue to know the love and care of both parents. 

Get down to business

Base your new relationship with the other parent on basic business principles, the same principles that guide working relationships. Maintain your privacy and offer minimum self-disclosure. Act courteously, set explicit rules for relating, establish clear boundaries.

Six keys to successful co-parenting

1.  How you feel about the other parent is less important than how you act toward him/her. Putting aside your negative feelings is definitely in the best interest of your child.

2.  Respect your need for privacy and the other parent's too. The only information that needs to be shared between co-     parents is that pertaining to their children.

3.  Each parents' time with the child is sacred. Don't make or change plans for the time your child is scheduled to spend with the other parent. Honor the pre-arranged schedule.

4.  Each parent has the right to develop his/her own parenting styles. As long as no harm is being done, let the other parent relate to your child as they sees fit.

5.  Acknowledge what the other parent has to offer your child. Remember the qualities that first attracted you. Those qualities still exist and are available to your child.

6.  Expect to feel awkward and uncomfortable about this new way of relating. But keep affirming your commitment to the new relationship and eventually the other parent will begin to play by the same rules.

What to say, what not to say

Be clear about what you want. Don't say: "You're always late. Can't you pick up your son on time?" Try: "It seems to be difficult for you to get here at 3 on Sunday. I'd like you to be able to get here on time. Should we try a later pick-up time, like 5?"

Use "I" instead of "you" statements. Don't say "You never give the kids a bath when they are at your house." Try: "I often don't have time to bathe the kids of Sunday evening. It would help me if they got a bath before they came home."

Stay in the present. Don't bring up past failures when addressing an issue. Say: "do you plan to attend the children's parent-teacher conferences next week?" Leave off: "I know you've never managed to make it in the past."

Two homes are better than one

If you are the non-custodial parent, take steps to make your children feel at home when they visit you. 

  • Make a place for your children in your new home.
  • Spend time alone with each child.
  • Encourage your children to have friends over.
  • Make your time together as normal and natural as possible.
  • Establish rules, routines and responsibilities for your children in your home.
  • Make a commitment to be actively involved in your child's life far beyond the time spent at your home, such as school activities and sports.

Spread the word

Don't put your child in the uncomfortable position of having to tell people about your family separation and parenting arrangements. Contact every person and institution who has anything to do with your child and explain your circumstances.

Make sure all pertinent records and directories contain up-to-date information about both parents.

Ask that all correspondence, reports, forms and calendars be sent to both parents.

Make sure the necessary people know that both parents are to be contacted in the event of an emergency.

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 05:40 PM EDT