How to change custody in Michigan? The checklist

Figuring out how to change custody in Michigan can be complicated.  To make things less complicated, we created the “How to change custody in Michigan checklist” to help you navigate the process.

How to change custody in Michigan – The checklist.

You cannot just show up to court anytime you want to change custody in Michigan or modify a Michigan child custody order.   The first step in modifying a Michigan child custody order is called the threshold requirement

The threshold requirement is set forth in Michigan Compiled Laws section 722.27(c).  Which provides the statutory authority for a court to change custody in Michigan and modify a child custody order.  The threshold requirement is a proper cause or a change of circumstances.  What constitutes proper cause or a change of circumstances is also complicated topic.

  • Identify everything that has changed since the entry of the last Michigan child custody order.

The seminal case of Vodvarka v. Grassmeyer, defines proper cause as:  “the existence of an appropriate ground” and change of circumstances as:  “the conditions surrounding the custody of the child . . . have sufficiently changed.”

In fact, I recently published a Michigan Family Law Journal article on this subject entitled When Circumstances Change.  While the Michigan Family Law Journal article is written for the legal profession, you can review the seminal cases on the threshold requirement to change a Michigan child custody order below.

  • Read the Michigan Family Law Journal article:  “When Circumstances Change“;
  • Refine your list of everything that has changed since the last Michigan child custody order to support a finding of proper cause or change of circumstances;

Once the proper cause or change of circumstances threshold requirement is met, consideration should be given to the existence of an established custodial environment.  An established custodial environment exists with a parent if a child naturally looks to that parent for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life and parental comfort.  If an established custodial environment exists with one parent, a court cannot change or modify an existing Michigan child custody order unless there is clear and convincing evidence.  If an established custodial environment exists with both or neither parent, a court cannot change or modify an existing Michigan child custody order unless there is preponderance of the evidence to do so.

The burden of proof provides insight into how much evidence you need to prove.  The Best Interest of the Child factors, are what you have to prove.  Michigan child custody law provides that child custody orders are subject to modification at any time the best interest of the child so requires.

  • Best interest of the child factor (a);  Love, affection and emotional ties . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (b);  Education and religion . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (c);  Capacity to provide food, clothing, medical . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (d);  Stability of family unit . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (e);  Family unit and home . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (f);   Moral fitness of the parties . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (g);  The parties’ health . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (h);  Home and school record . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (i);   The preference of the child . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (j);   Parents ability to get along . . .
  • Best interest of the child factor (k);  Domestic violence.
  • Best interest of the child factor (l); any other factor considered relevant by the court.

With proper preparation, you can change custody in Michigan with confidence and we can help.

About Findling Lawdivorce and christmas

I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

We want to help you manage your situation. Let our exceptional legal team help you . . .

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By:  Daniel Findling

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How to change custody in Michigan?  The checklist
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How to change custody in Michigan? The checklist
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Figuring out how to change custody in Michigan can be complicated. To make things less complicated, we created this Michigan child custody modification checklist to help you navigate the process.
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Findling Law, PLC
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