If you have a child custody order or parenting time agreement in place following a recent divorce or separation, an issue might arise that requires you to modify the existing order. There are many different reasons that a parent can seek to modify an existing child custody order, and in some cases, the need to make a change to the child custody arrangement can be quite urgent. As such, the parent seeking the modification might be wondering how long it will take to change the child custody agreement or order. There is no specific answer that applies to all cases. Rather, the complications involved in your particular case, as well as the specific facts surrounding the initial child custody arrangement and the reasons for seeking a modification, can all play a role in determining the likely timetable for your child custody modification. Accordingly, you should get in touch with a Michigan child custody lawyer as soon as you can to learn more about the likely timetable for your specific case.
In the meantime, however, our experienced Michigan child custody attorneys want to provide you with more information about some of the issues that can affect the timetable for your child custody modification.
Are You Seeking to Modify Custody or Parenting Time?
You should also know that it may be faster and easier to modify parenting time as opposed to child custody, particularly if the other parent agrees to the modification.
How Quickly Can You File a Motion to Request a Modification, and Can You Show Cause for the Modification?
The sooner you file your motion to modify child custody, the quicker the case can get underway. When you file a motion to request a modification of child custody under Michigan law, you will need to be able to show that there has been a “change of circumstances,” and then you will need to be able to prove that the modification is in the best interests of the child. Depending upon whether the child has an established custodial environment, the petitioning parent may need to prove, by clear and convincing evidence (which is a high burden of proof), that the modification is in the child’s best interests. Yet meeting that burden of proof comes later. Initially, the court will not be able to move forward with your motion to request a modification unless you are eligible for a modification due to a change of circumstances.
Does the Other Parent Agree to the Requested Modification?
Does the other parent agree to the modification? If so, the case likely can go much more quickly than if the other parent objects to the modification. However, it is critical to know that, even if the other parent agrees to the changes, you cannot modify a court order on your own. You still need to ask a judge to modify the existing court order.
Even if the other parent agrees, the petitioning parent will still need to provide evidence to the judge that shows the modification is in the child’s best interest, based on the “best interests of the child” factors outlined in Michigan law.
Is There an Urgent Safety Issue?
If there is an urgent safety issue concerning the other parent’s access to the child, such as domestic violence or abuse, a judge may be able to issue a much faster temporary order to modify custody until the case can be considered in full.
Contact a Michigan Child Custody Attorney
If you have questions about modifying custody, one of our Michigan child custody lawyers can help. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today to file a petition for modification or to defend against the other parent’s petition for modification.