As children grow, changes in your family situation can challenge an existing custody arrangement. In these circumstances, you can ask the Michigan court for a custody modification.
Follow these steps to request an update to the legal custody agreement for your children:
File the correct paperwork
You must submit Form FOC 87, Motion Regarding Custody, to the county court in the county where your child lives most of the time. Even if both parents agree to the changes in custody, one parent must still submit this form. While your court case is pending, continue to follow the previous custody agreement.
Provide legal notice
The court clerk who processes your petition will provide a date for a new custody hearing. You must give the other parent a copy of the legal Notice of Hearing in person at least seven days before the scheduled hearing or mail it to him or her at least nine days before the scheduled hearing.
Support your position
When both parents agree, the new custody hearing is usually a simple process. If your child’s other parent wants to retain the current custody schedule, he or she can respond in writing to the Notice of Hearing with this object. In either case, however, the judge will not change the custody arrangement unless both parents attend the hearing.
You should prepare to answer the judge’s questions about why you want to modify the custody arrangement. He or she will ensure that the proposed changes are in the child’s interests and stem from a substantial change in circumstances.
Unless both parents agree to the change, the judge will likely retain the current custody order except in cases of substance use, neglect or abuse in the custodial home. You must provide evidence that the current living situation has a negative impact on the child’s well-being. The court intends custody agreements to provide a stable upbringing even in the face of changed finances or when the child wants to live with the other parent.