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If I pay child support, do I have the right to have schedule visitations? (as well as sharing holidays). If so, how can I start?

Grand Rapids, MI |

I see her already when possible, but my daughter's mother is taking advantage of when I could see her and can not. She already takes every holiday and birthday, no questions about it. I get lucky if I get to have her then. I feel this is so unfair, seeing as I pay child support for my daughter and love spending time with her. I'm just lost and trying to figure out how I can fix this and how/where to get this process started.

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Attorney answers 4


Your payment of child support is not related to your parenting time schedule; it is not like your daughter is a movie and since you paid for your ticket, you are entitled to the show. They are you two totally separate obligations. If you have a parenting time complaint, get in touch with the friend of the court by writing a letter or file a motion with the court.


You should consult an experienced family law attorney in Grand Rapids, of which there are many, to discuss the filing of a motion to establish a parenting time schedule if the case is in the Kent County Family Court. I'm going to assume you are paying support pursuant to a court order. Or, are you voluntarily paying support directly to the mother? If paying directly, is she receiving public assistance benefits of any kind, such as Bridge card, medical coverage for child, etc? These are very important questions to be asked and answered. The long and the short of it is you can file for a structured parenting time schedule. A number of county Friends of Court, and possibly Kent County (or county where case is filed) have a website where there may be posted a standard/"default" parenting time schedule if the parties cannot agree. Look to see if Kent has a standard/"default" parenting time schedule.

If you need names of attorneys in the area, please feel free to contact me.

Neil M. Colman

Mr. Colman is licensed to practice law in Michigan. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Colman strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.


The way to address the problem you are having depends upon a number of things, such as whether you have a court order establishing your rights for custody and parenting time or whether an existing court order in your case currently provides for specific parenting time for you. If you have a court order, then you need to retain an attorney to file a motion to enforce your parenting time. If you have a court order with a very general parenting time provision, you need to file a motion to establish specific parenting time. Last, if you have no court order, you need an attorney to petition for a judgment to establish all of these rights including specific parenting time.


To be clear, you child support obligation and your parenting time are related. In Michigan, your child support obligation is determined by formula. One of the criteria is the number of overnights you spend with your child. The more overnights, the lower the support. Of course, there are other factors that are considered. Like the other posts, I would suggest you consult an attorney in your area or contact the Friend of the Court in writing.

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