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Michigan Family Law Blog

How Do I Get A Modification Order for My Child Custody Arrangement?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Jul 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

Modifying the child custody arrangement you have with your child's other parent can be difficult. Modifications to custody orders are only permitted under certain circumstances. Even if the custody agreement was negotiated and consensual, one of the parties might need to modify the arrangement for a variety of reasons. However, the other parent may be unwilling to modify custody. Therefore, it is prudent to contact a Michigan modifications orders lawyer before taking any actions regarding your custody arrangement. It is wise to learn about your legal rights and options for modifying child custody.

What is the Basis for a Modification of a Child Custody Arrangement?

Before you file a petition for modification of child custody, your Michigan modifications orders lawyer will discuss the reason for your request to modify the custody order. To change a custody arrangement, you must show a “substantial” change in circumstances or proper cause.

For a change in circumstances to be substantial, the petitioner must prove to the judge that the change consists of more than just a normal change in the child's life. The change must have a significant effect on the child to be considered by a judge as a reason to modify an existing child custody order.

The other reason to modify a child custody arrangement is to prove proper cause. Proper cause is something that relates directly to the 12 factors considered when determining a child's best interest. Those 12 factors are:

  • Emotional relationships of the parties with the child;

  • The ability of the parties to provide love and guidance for the child as the child continues his education and religious endeavors;

  • The ability of the parties to provide for the basic needs of the child;

  • The time the child has spent in a stable environment;

  • How permanent is the existing custodial home;

  • The parties' moral fitness;

  • The physical and mental health of each party;

  • The child's school record and his home life and community involvement;

  • The child's reasonable preferences;

  • The parties' ability to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent;

  • The existence of domestic violence; and,

  • Any other factor a judge may consider relevant to the child's best interest.

A substantial change in any of the proper causes could be sufficient to justify a change in the custody arrangement. In addition, you may be required to meet a higher burden of proof if the judge determines the child is in an established custodial environment (ECE).

For cases in which the judge decides an ECE is in place, the party requesting a change in custody must prove by clear and convincing evidence the change would be in the best interest of the child. However, if an ECE is not in place, the burden of proof required to change custody is a preponderance of the evidence.

Contact a Michigan Modifications Orders Lawyer for Help

Filing a petition for modification of child custody can be a difficult undertaking.  You want to consult with experienced Michigan lawyer, Cameron C. Goulding, to determine if you have cause for a change in child custody under Michigan's child custody laws.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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