Being a parent can be both the most rewarding and challenging experience of a person’s life. Michigan parents who divorce often leave court with one parent being granted child custody and the other, visitation. Being a custodial parent includes many responsibilities, and such parents should build a strong support network from the start.

A custodial parent must agree to allow his or her co-parent parenting time in accordance with an existing court order. It is important that both parents fully adhere to the terms of the order. This means that a custodial parent cannot deny the co-parent a visit, if the co-parent is showing up or asking to meet at the designated time, date and location. If a custodial parent believes visits are placing a child or children at risk, he or she may bring the matter to the court’s attention, but the parent is still legally obligated to adhere to the existing court order unless and until the court modifies it.

If child support is being paid, the custodial parent will want to keep thorough records regarding such payments. If a noncustodial parent is not keeping up with payments, the custodial parent will want to be able to show evidence to the court. Not keeping written record of payments received can make it more difficult to resolve a problem concerning unpaid child support.

A Michigan family court judge makes child custody decisions based on the merits of each unique case. If legal problems arise concerning issues such as leaving the state with a child, making medical or financial decisions without consulting a co-parent or other child-related matters, it is best to seek the court’s intervention if co-parents are struggling to find a solution on their own. An experienced family law attorney can help a concerned parent protect his or her rights and can also make sure children’s best interests are a central focus of all proceedings.