When the court finalizes your divorce, and you and your ex-spouse have an official child custody order in place, you may feel a sense of relief knowing that the divorce process has finally come to end. However, you may soon realize that your life circumstances have changed and that you need to go back to court to file a motion to modify custody.

In Michigan, courts will not approve a change in custody for just any reason. Under Michigan law, a child custody order can only be modified if there is a proper cause or change of circumstances.

What constitutes a proper cause or change of circumstances?

The court will determine whether the proposed modification changes the child’s custodial environment and will consider whether there is a sufficient change of circumstances to modifying the parenting time.

Generally, courts will determine whether there is proper cause or a change in circumstances by referring to a list of factors relating to the best interest of the child and determining whether any significant changes have occurred in the child’s life since the previous order was entered.

Some examples of proper cause or sufficient change in circumstances may include:

  • Parent is abusing drug or alcohol.
  • Parent is abusing or neglecting the child.
  • Parent is failing to provide necessary care to the child.

It’s not always easy to get the court to approve your custody modifications. The court will need to decide whether the change you are requesting is necessary to serve the best interests of your child. An attorney in your area can help with the modification process and all other custody-related matters.