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Child Custody: What are the rights of a non-custodial parent?

In most divorce cases in Michigan, both parents want what is best for their children. However, joint child custody is not necessarily perfect for every situation, and the parent who ends up being the non-custodial parent may want to make sure he or she remains a part of the child's life. For this reason, it is important for that parent to make sure the divorce settlement agreement specifies his or her rights as the non-custodial parent rather than having only vague references to it.

Visitation plans must include days and times, along with alternative arrangements when necessary. Detailed schedules for holidays can be added to the divorce agreement. Even if the parents choose to alternate special holidays, recording the dates is important. Another aspect that could become a problem is the type of contact the custodial parent may have with the child during the other parent's time with the child.

Verbal agreements may only last for a short while, and specifying to which school and medical records the non-custodial parent will have access can avoid contention or arguments later. This parent may also make sure the agreement shows that he or she must be informed of extracurricular activities of the child so as to remain involved on all possible levels. If all the concerns and needs of the non-custodial parent are recorded in the settlement agreement, that parent will be entitled to take action in the event of violations of the court-ordered agreements.

Non-custodial parents who are cut off from their children by the custodial parent may be entitled to pursue legal help. An experienced Michigan divorce attorney can explain or confirm the child custody rights of the parent and suggest the most appropriate manner to remedy the situation. A lawyer may even arrange negotiations that might lead to mutually acceptable arrangements -- which can then be put in writing. Apart from getting the court's approval, no other court appearance may be required. However, if the issues can only be resolved through litigation, the attorney will support the non-custodial parent through every step of the way.

Source:, "Rights of Non Custodial Parents", Marcelina Hardy, Accessed on Dec. 29, 2017

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Birmingham, MI 48009

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