Elkouri Heath, PLC


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Can I Change My Child Custody Order in Michigan?

Posted on in Divorce

Oakland County divorce attorney child custody

The state of Michigan presumes that it is best for children to have both of their parents involved in their lives. Save for situations involving abuse and other issues that could endanger the child, Michigan courts usually favor child custody arrangements that allow parents to share custody. Life is full of unexpected changes, and consequently, parents may need to modify an existing child custody order. Whether you are a divorced parent or an unmarried parent, you can change your child custody arrangement in Michigan but only in certain circumstances.

You Must Show a Significant Change in Circumstances

Child custody is broken down into physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is where the child actually lives while legal custody refers to a parent’s decision-making authority regarding the child’s upbringing. Michigan courts know that change is hard on children, so you can only modify your child custody order for a very good reason. Typically, the court requires there to be a major change in circumstances to even hear a motion to modify child custody.  

Established Custodial Environment

Michigan defines an "established custodial environment" as one in which the child naturally looks to the custodial parent for comfort, guidance, and necessities. Put another way, if a child is already used to being with a certain parent, the court is more likely to favor that parent during a proposed child custody modification. If a custodial environment is established, the parent wishing to modify custody will have to show that the modification is in the child’s best interests. Factors considered by Michigan courts when determining if a child custody modification is in the child’s best interests include:

  • The relationship between each parent and the child

  • Each parent’s ability and inclination to give the child care, affection, guidance, and stability

  • Each parent’s ability to provide necessities like food and clothing to the child

  • Any instances of domestic violence

  • The amount of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the appropriateness of preserving that stability

  • Each parent’s mental and physical health

  • Each parent’s ability to facilitate a good relationship between the child and the other parent

  • The child’s preferences if he or she is old enough to understand the situation and express those wishes

Contact an Oakland County Child Custody Lawyer

Once a child custody order has been issued by the court, divorced or unmarried parents are expected to abide by the terms of the order. If you wish to modify your child custody order, you must petition the court and request modification. For help, contact a Novi, MI child custody attorney from Elkouri Heath, PLC. Call us at 248-344-9700 to set up a free consultation.




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