Generally speaking, divorced parents in Michigan are allowed to take an active role in their children’s lives. Noncustodial parents are typically required to provide financially for their sons or daughters regardless of how much time they actually spend with them. A custody or visitation order is based on what is in the child’s best interest, and visitation rights won’t necessarily be revoked for a failure to make child support payments.
Furthermore, these rights may not necessarily be revoked simply because a non-custodial parent fails to adhere to a visitation schedule. In most cases, the only reason an existing visitation order would be modified is if a child’s health or safety would be at risk by allowing it to remain in place. In such a scenario, parents are encouraged to contact their attorneys as well as the appropriate authorities. However, visits must generally continue as scheduled until a judge says otherwise.
It may also be permissible to ask the non-custodial parent to cancel or reschedule a visit if a child is uncomfortable spending time with that person. Custodial parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the benefits of allowing a visit to take place as scheduled. They should also stress that they are not offended or hurt by the fact that their children want to have meaningful relationships with their other parent.
Parents who have concerns about custody and visitation orders are encouraged to address those concerns with their attorneys. It may be possible to modify an existing order if there is reason to believe that doing so would be in a child’s best interest. At a court hearing, an attorney may introduce medical records, witness statements or other documents to show that an existing order is putting a child’s safety in jeopardy.