Child custody cases can be extremely complicated in Michigan, and co-parenting can be difficult and contentious. There are many different kinds of situations in which parents who share custody and parenting time disagree about issues concerning the child, from matters pertaining to the child’s extracurricular activities to how a child should complete schoolwork or chores. Yet some issues can be much more concerning, especially when one parent suspects or has proof that the other parent is engaging in behaviors or actions that could be putting the child at risk. If you suspect or have proof that your ex is putting your child at risk, what should you do? There are a couple of different options, and one of our Michigan child custody lawyers can help.
File a Report with Children’s Protective Services (CPS)
If you have serious concerns about your ex’s behavior or actions and believe they may be putting your child at serious risk, you can file a report with Children’s Protective Services (CPS). Once a person files a report, CPS will conduct an investigation, and the investigation usually must start within 24 hours of receiving the report. According to the Michigan Department Health & Human Services, CPS investigations typically will include the following:
- Interviews with the parties, including the child and the parents, as well as with friends, neighbors, relatives, and others who have interactions with the child and the parents;
- Visiting the home of the parent(s);
- Looking at previous relevant documentation like CPS case files, police reports, or the child’s school and medical records; and
- Assessment of the child’s present safety, the child’s future risk of abuse or neglect, and the family’s needs.
As the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services explains, the CPS investigator who conducts the investigation will consider a variety of factors when doing interviews and conducting the assessment, including the circumstances of the party making the complaint, whether there are alternative explanations to explain the allegations, whether evidence exists to corroborate the allegations, and various other factors.
Modification of Child Custody and Parenting Time
You may be able to seek a modification of your child custody and parenting time arrangement through the court if you have concerns about your ex and your child’s safety or well-being. Under Michigan child custody law, a court can change previous judgments when a party has proper cause or because of a significant change in circumstances. The statute makes clear that the court can only make changes to the existing judgment if the changes are in the best interest of the child.
To show proper cause or a change in circumstances, you will need clear and convincing evidence that your ex is engaged in behavior or actions that are putting your child at risk.
Contact a Michigan Child Custody Attorney
If you have questions about changing or modifying child custody due to safety concerns for your child, or taking other actions, our Michigan child custody attorneys can help. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more about the services we provide.