Family Law Attorney Serving Clients in Michigan
Do you have a parenting time agreement in place but you want to modify it? Did you recently go through a divorce in which the court made decisions about child custody and parenting time, but you believe you have the right to modify the parenting time order? While child custody and parenting time matters are closely related, it is typically much easier to modify parenting time than child custody. Generally speaking, some of the life changes or changes in circumstance that would not be sufficient to modify child custody could be enough to modify parenting time.
Michigan family law can be very complicated, especially when it comes to matters concerning child custody and parenting time. If you have questions, a Michigan parenting time attorney can help.
When Can I File to Modify Parenting Time?
The Michigan Child Custody Act governs most issues concerning parenting time in the state. There are essentially three different points at which a parent can seek to modify parenting time:
- Filing a motion to modify an ex parte interim order;
- Filing a motion to modify an order or judgment that has been entered by the court (within 14 days); or
- Filing a motion to modify an order due to proper cause or a change in circumstances (but not as great as required to modify a child custody order).
What Do I Need to Prove to Modify Parenting Time?
As we mentioned, the threshold for modifying parenting time is different from the threshold required to modify a child custody order. A relatively recent case in Michigan, Shade v. Wright, outlined some of the differences between modifications of parenting time and modifications of child custody. Here are some key points to take away:
- Strict requirements of “proper cause” or a “change in circumstance,” which are necessary to modify a child custody order, are not applicable to parenting time modifications;
- When a parenting time modification “does not alter the established custodial environment,” then there is a lower threshold for a modification;
- “Proper cause” or “change in circumstance” remain relevant to parenting time modifications, but the threshold is lower; and
- “Normal life changes” that occur with regard to the child can be enough to modify parenting time.
In other words, a parent who wants to modify parenting time after an order has been put into place will need to show that there is proper cause or a change in circumstance, but the change in circumstance does not need to be extensive. The burden of proof is on the parent who wants to modify the parenting time order. It is important to note that the parent will need to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that modifying parenting time is in the best interests of the child. This standard of “clear and convincing evidence” is very high, and as such it is important to have an experienced Michigan family law attorney on your side.
Contact a Parenting Time Lawyer in Michigan
If you want to modify parenting time, you should speak with an experienced parenting time attorney in Michigan about your case. Contact the law office of Paul J. Tafelski to learn more about our services.