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New Child Visitation Guidelines May Affect Some Recently-Separated Families

The Macomb County Friend of the Court (FOC) released significant revisions to its Parenting Time Guidelines (commonly known as child visitation rights) earlier this year. These revisions may have an affect on many families who deal with the FOC and family law, so it’s important to take note. What are the new guidelines? Do they have any affect on your family?

The new Macomb County FOC rules may affect some recently-separated families the most, specifically those who were granted parenting rights after April 2019.

A committee, made up of Chief Referee Brian Nicholas, Referee Lisa Goldstein, FOC parenting time judicial service officers, and representatives from the Macomb County Bar Association, made the following changes:

  • Reviewed parenting schedules utilized by courts across Michigan and the U.S.
  • Recognized a national trend to provide a manual with sample guidelines for various scenarios and ages of children.

The new guidelines implemented by the committee include:

  • Infant specific recommendations
  • Address parenting time with same-sex relationships
  • Provide a variety of custodial options available to parents since more families use 50-50 custody

The guidelines are not intended to be used as default by the court, but rather as a foundation for discussion in hopes that parents reach their own parenting time agreement.

In addition to the schedules, a Best Practice section was added to answer common questions that often lead to parenting time disputes. The Best Practices section addresses common questions such as using a text and/or cell phone, priority of holiday time and special occasions, children’s belongings and other common issues.

If you previously adopted the 16th Circuit Reasonable (now General) parenting time schedule, that schedule is still in effect as opposed to the new schedule.

If you have a question about the new Parenting Time Guidelines, call Linda McGrail Belau, an attorney and shareholder at O’Reilly Rancilio, PC. McGrail Belau has extensive experience in family law matters including divorce, custody and parenting time (visitation) issues. Call 586-997-6440 or email

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