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What is Considered a Modification?

by | May 3, 2022 | Uncategorized |

After you have gone through a divorce, a child custody case, or another type of family law matter in Michigan, you will likely have a court order in place. Depending upon the particular facts and nature of your case, your court order may clarify how spousal support (or alimony) will be paid and for how long, how each parent will have child custody, child support obligations, or how parenting time will work. When something happens and you or another party associated with the order cannot uphold the terms, you may need to ask the court to change the order. This is known as a “modification.” When will a court make a modification, and what do you need to know about modifying family court orders in Michigan? Our Michigan family lawyers can say more.

Modifications Require Proper Cause Shown or a Change of Circumstances

If you want to modify an existing family law order—for spousal support, child custody, or child support, for example—the court must see evidence of proper cause shown or a change of circumstances under Michigan law. What constitutes proper cause for changing a family law order? In most cases involving a child custody modification, proper cause means that something significant has happened that affects the best interests of the child. For example, an issue involving domestic violence, or the health of the parties, might represent proper cause.

A change of circumstances is required to change most types of family law orders, including alimony, custody, and child support. While the statute does not expressly define a change of circumstances, this term can involve many different changes in one of the parties’ lives that necessitates a modification of the court order. 

Change of Circumstances Examples That May Necessitate a Modification

What types of changes of circumstances specifically might necessitate a modification in Michigan? The following are examples of changes in circumstance that could lead to a modification:

  • Ex-spouse loses a job and cannot make the same amount of spousal support payments;
  • Ex-spouse receiving spousal maintenance accepts a high-paying new job and no longer has a need for support payments;
  • Parent becomes ill and cannot work, and cannot make child support payments;
  • Parent begins earning significantly more money, necessitating a need for an increase in the child support payment obligation;
  • Parent accepts a new job with a different schedule that requires a change to child custody or parenting time; or
  • Parent plans to move out of state or relocate and needs to change the child custody order;
  • Child develops a health issue and needs additional financial support, or needs additional care from a parent.

These are just some examples of changes in circumstances that could lead to a modification. You should discuss the particular facts of your case with a lawyer who can help.

Contact a Michigan Family Law Attorney Today

If you have questions about seeking a modification, or if you need assistance asking the court to modify an existing court order, an experienced Michigan family lawyer at our firm can help. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to find out more about modifications. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more.