Ask a Lawyer: Equal parenting time


I have been divorced for a couple of years now. The order in my case refers to “liberal” parenting time for me (the father) and spells out the every-other-weekend schedule as a minimum.
I have worked with my ex-spouse to get up to a point where I have both our boys two overnights a week and I have one of the boys one overnight a week (in addition to the two overnights for both of the boys). These nights are not consecutive so the boys are constantly moving back and forth between their mother’s home and mine.
I have been discussing a shard parenting schedule with my ex-spouse that would put us into a 50/50 arrangement with “blocks” of days/overnights for the boys at each parent’s home. She has told me that “I will never agree to equal time”.
I have set up a mediation appointment with FOC and she has agreed to go to that. What should I expect from the FOC mediator? Will they be truly neutral or is it possible they may lean one way or the other (for or against equal parenting time)?
On a related note I have been paying support based on the every-other-weekend schedule spelled out in the order as a minimum. This has never been the case. Should I be asking for a support review from FOC to adjust the support based on (at least) the two and a half overnights I have every week? If the order is changed to equal parenting time would the support also be adjusted due to the fact that I will be taking on more of the costs of directly caring for / supporting the boys while they are with me?


I cannot answer your question specifically to the laws of Michigan as I am not licensed to practice law in that State.
I am not familiar with FOC. A mediator is to be neutral. However, they are people like us and will have their own opinions too.
Make sure you have all of the information you can tracking the current visitation, your proposed visitation, current income, as well as all of the involvement you have with the children, such as sports, doctor visits, parent teacher conferences. You want to be sure you come off as the loving and involved father that you are, and not someone looking to pay less in support.
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