What does a typical parenting time schedule include?

You may be dreading the meeting when you and your spouse sit down and work on your parenting time schedule. In Michigan, there are guidelines for creating this schedule, and this may help to eliminate some of the disputes you and the other parent have over how to divide your time with your child.

If you cannot agree on a schedule, here is one that the Michigan Parenting Time Guideline recommends.

During the school year

The parent who has parenting time on any given school day would ideally have the child from the time that school lets out. If you are scheduled to have your child one evening a week, for example, you may pick up your child at school and keep him or her with you until 8:30. You should be able to spend every other weekend with your child. Unless you are picking him or her up from school, the weekend would begin at 6 pm on Friday and end at 6 pm on Sunday.


These may be split by having the child spend Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends with the father on odd years and the mother on even years. The Fourth of July and Thanksgiving would go to the father on even years and the mother on odd years. You and your spouse may add as many as four other holidays and special days to alternate, as long as they do not interfere with other factors in the schedule. Mother's Day is usually spent with the mother, and Father's Day with the father.

Spring and winter breaks

These longer breaks provide opportunities for vacations and other family bonding time. You may divide the week of spring break by allowing one parent to have the entire week on even years and the other to have it on odd years. Winter break is typically two weeks, and is divided at 9 pm on Christmas Eve, with one parent getting the first half on even years and the other getting the first half on odd years.

Summer break

If you are the noncustodial parent, your parenting time during summer break would begin from Friday evening after the Fourth of July and last for four consecutive weeks. During that time, your spouse would have his or her regular weekend visitation every other weekend.

These guidelines may be helpful to you as you plan the schedule. However, the courts encourage parents to modify the plan so that it best suits everyone in the family and allows each parent to develop and maintain a strong relationship with the child. Therefore, this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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