Our Kids Are Growing Up. Can We Modify Our Custody Order?
One of the greatest joys of having children is watching them grow and thrive. As children grow, however, they need things around them to change in order to fit their new abilities and roles—everything from new shoes to fit their feet to new custody arrangements to fit their schedules and growing sense of independence.
While a child custody order sets rules for your co-parenting of your children, it is not set in stone. The order can be changed to reflect the changing nature of your growing children and your family. Before talking to a custody modification orders lawyer to modify your custody order, keep the following steps in mind:
Start by talking to your child's other parent.
The easiest way to start a modification of a custody order is if both parents agree to make a particular change. Although you will still need to go to court to make the change official, agreeing on the change to be made reduces the difficulty of making the change.
If the other parent does not agree, talk to an experienced lawyer for help. You can still seek to modify the custody agreement, but the process will differ slightly.
File a motion to change custody.
A “Motion Regarding Custody” is typically used to change a finalized custody agreement, while an “Objection to Ex Parte Order and Motion to Modify or Rescind” is used to address a temporary custody order the court entered without a hearing. Your lawyer can help you choose and file the correct forms, with the information required to establish the ways in which the custody change will be in your child's best interests.
Serve the motion (or respond to one).
When you or your lawyer file the motion to change custody in court, you will be notified of the time and date of your hearing. You will want to include this information on the form, and then serve the form and the notice of the hearing on the child's other parent. (If you work with an attorney, your lawyer will take care of these steps for you.)
If you are served with a motion to change child custody, a lawyer can help you understand what's ahead and prepare for the upcoming hearing—or change the hearing date if the scheduled date will not work for you.
Understand what will happen at the hearing.
During a hearing to change child custody, the court first decides whether a change in circumstances or other cause to change custody exists. If not, the court will not reconsider the existing custody order.
This is the point at which you'll need to demonstrate that your children have grown and changed so much that the existing custody order is no longer in their best interests. Because this depends on your specific children's personalities, circumstances, and goals, you'll want to work directly with your lawyer to put these changes in terms the court will understand.
If it's time to make a change in your custody arrangements for your children, don't hesitate to talk to an experienced Michigan family law attorney who can help you establish the need for these changes and propose alterations to the plan that are in the best interests of your children. Talk to family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding today at 248.608.4123 to determine your options.