Newton | Plont - Attorneys & Counselors specializing in trial and family law.

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Changes in Custody
and/or Parenting Time Orders


Families change; people change, preferences of the parties and/or the child(ren) change, circumstances – in general – change. You may have already participated in a custody and/or parenting time proceeding and something substantial in your life – or your child’s life – has changed. As a result, you might be wondering: what can I do to change my custody and/or parenting time Order?

Depending on the position of the other parent involved, changing a custody and/or parenting time order may be difficult. For this reason, it is incredibly important to be well informed during your initial custody and/or parenting time proceeding. Regardless, you can ask the court to change your Order and, depending on the circumstances, the court may do so.

The party seeking to change custody must first establish that proper cause or a change in circumstances exists since the date of the most recent order. This requirement is set forth in the Child Custody Act, MCL 722.21 et seq. If such proper cause or a change in circumstances is not shown, the court is precluded from holding a child custody hearing, and, essentially, the request to change custody fails. If such proper cause or a change in circumstances is successfully shown, then the court can consider a change in custody, and conduct a hearing pursuant to MCL 722.23 (a)-(l), or, in other words, conduct a hearing to determine what is in the child(ren)’s best interest. That hearing will focus on what is in the child(ren)’s best interest, and is conducted by focusing on the “best interest factors” as outlined in MCL 722.23 (a)-(l). This analysis is further outlined in Vodvarka v Grasmeyer 59 Mich App 499, 675 NW2d 847 (2003).

The process involving a change in a parenting time order is similar in many ways, yet also different in some. As with a change in custody, the moving parent (or the parent asking for the change) must first show that there is proper cause or a change in circumstances sufficient to modify parenting time. As outlined in Shade v Wright, 291 Mich App 17, 805 NW2d 1 (2010), this burden is a little different from that outlined in the Vodvarka case, which involved a change in custody.

If such proper cause or a change in circumstances is shown, similar to a change in custody the court will then conduct a hearing so as to determine what is in the child(ren)’s best interest. Additionally, MCL 722.27a sets forth the factors the court may consider when determining the frequency, duration, and type of parenting time to be given to each party.

The difference between these two processes, as well as
the applicability of these two processes to your
circumstances can be discussed in further detail to
help you make an informed decision about how to
proceed with your case. Newton | Plont is
experienced in dealing with changes in custody and/or
parenting time orders, and can advise you on this
process as well as answer any questions you may have
about changing your custody and/or parenting time order.

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