Child Custody Changes

“The term ‘[c]hild-custody determination’ means a judgment, decree, or other court order providing for legal custody, physical custody, or parenting time with respect to a child. ”

For additional information contact Flint Divorce Attorney Terry Bankert (810)235-1970, 

“Child- custody determination includes a permanent, temporary, initial, and modification order….” Shade v Wright, 291 Mich App 17, 22; 805 NW2d 1 (2010) quoting MCL 722.1102(c). ”

“A court may modify a custody order if there is proper cause or a change of circumstances indicating that modifying the order is in the child’s best interests. MCL 722.27(1)(c). ”

“Proper cause exists if there are “appropriate grounds that have or could have a significant effect on the child’s life to the extent that a reevaluation of the child’s custodial situation should be undertaken.” Vodvarka v Grasmeyer, 259 Mich App 499, 511; 675 NW2d 847 (2003). ”

“A change of circumstances warranting a custody change exists if, “since the entry of the last custody order, the conditions surrounding custody of the child, which have or could have a significant effect on the child’s well-being, have materially changed.” Id. at 513.”
“The framework for evaluating ‘proper cause’ or ‘change of circumstances’ when a party requests to modify a parenting time order depends on whether an established custodial environment is affected and the type of modification requested.” 1 Kelly, Curtis & Roane, Michigan Family Law (7th ed) (ICLE, 2011), § 12.33, p 679.”
“[T]he rationale for imposing more stringent constructions on the terms “proper cause” and “change of circumstances” with respect to custody determinations isfar less applicable with respect to parenting time determinations. ”

“With respect to child custody disputes, “[t]he goal of MCL 722.27 is to minimize unwarranted and disruptive changes of custody orders, except under the most compelling circumstances.” Corporan v Henton, 282 Mich App 599, 603, 766 NW2d 903 (2009). “Providing a stable environment for children that is free of unwarranted custody changes . . . is a paramount purpose of the Child Custody Act . . . .” Vodvarka, 259 Mich App at 511. ”

“Therefore, in the context of a child custody dispute, the purpose of the proper cause or change of circumstances requirement is “to ‘erect a barrier against removal of a child from an established custodial environment and to minimize unwarranted and disruptive changes of custody orders.’ ” Id. at 509, quoting Heid v AAASulewski (After Remand), 209 Mich App 587, 593-594, 532 NW2d 205 (1995).”

“Such concerns do not exist, however, when a modification of parenting time does not alter the established custodial environment because determinations regarding child custody and parenting time serve different purposes. ”
“Whereas the primary concern in child custody determinations is the stability of the child’s environment and avoidance of unwarranted and disruptive custody changes, the focus of parenting time is to foster a strong relationship between the child and the child’s parents. See MCL 722.27a. [Id. at 28-29.] ” (05/04/2017, no.33703) @terrybankert

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