Michigan courts recognize that changes in child custody orders are inevitable. However, they will not consider a request for typical inconveniences parents encounter or simply because the child expresses specific custodial preferences.
Thus, parents must only seek custody modification if they can provide a clear and compelling reason to establish a significant change in their circumstances.
What qualifies as a significant change in circumstances?
Judges will always weigh the child’s best interests factors before deciding on a request to modify custody arrangements. So, anything that substantially disrupts the child’s welfare can count as a proper cause. Some examples include:
- A parent engaging in criminal activity, such as substance or sexual abuse, leading to incarceration
- A parent placing the child in imminent danger through their severe mental health issues, and abusive or neglectful behaviors
- A parent willfully violating the existing custody terms, such as not following the agreed-upon parenting time schedule
- A parent relocating to a distant city, state or country can alter parenting plans and the child’s living conditions
With so much at stake, especially the child’s safety and development, judges often launch an extensive investigation into custody modification requests. But parents can also save time and resources if they work on reaching a mutually beneficial agreement that promotes their child’s well-being.
Why do modifications matter?
As a family endures a constant state of flux due to the divorce, their needs also grow. Thus, the existing custody order may no longer reflect their current requirements. It will be wise if parents speak with a counsel who can guide them through their legal options to uphold their child’s best interests, advocate for their rights and fight to obtain favorable outcomes.