When going through a divorce, there are a host of topics to negotiate before drafting the final divorce settlement. One of the most difficult may be determining child custody and customizing a parenting plan that works for everyone involved. While that custody arrangement may work for the time being, a change in your situation may warrant a modification of custody orders.
It is critical that you do not request a custody change over minor incidents, but only if a significant life change has occurred. Just as life is fluid and ever changing, a custody plan can be modified to support the child’s needs.
When should you request a modification?
It is important to understand that all changes made are based on the best interests of the child. The court will look at the specific circumstances surrounding the case, then determine whether a parenting plan modification is necessary, according to Very Well Family.
Some reasons why you may request a modification include the following:
- Parent moves a significant distance away, making the current custody arrangement difficult to maintain
- Parent passes away
- Parent gets fired from a job or gets a new job
- Parent becomes incarcerated
- Parent is deployed for military duty
- Child is in an abusive situation and needs to be removed from the home
In some cases, the judge may listen to the child’s wishes and factor that into the decision to approve or disapprove a modification as well.
Where should you get started?
If you and the other party both agree to the proposed custody changes, you can fill out a simple form online and submit it to the court that currently holds your case, according to Michigan courts. If you do not agree on the change, however, you must set a court date.
Whether you serve the papers to change custody or you receive the papers, you must appear in court on the given date. Make sure to bring documents supporting your argument to change the custody order or to keep it the same. The judge will listen to both sides and make a decision based on the best interests of the child.