A Modification of child custody is usually the best option when the current custody arrangement is no longer in the best interest of the child. Both parents may or may not agree to the modification. Our Minnesota family law attorneys can help you either bring or respond to a Modification of Child Custody.
Once an initial determination of child custody has been ordered by the Court (in a Divorce Decree or a Paternity Order), child custody can be changed if you can show at least one of the following:
- The other party has consented to the modification; or
- The minor children involved have been “integrated” and have started living with the non-custodial parent with the other parent’s consent; or
- That the environment at the custodial parent’s home is emotionally or physically endangering the minor children or impairs the children’s development.
One of the parents must make a motion before the court and there must be evidence to explain why a change should be made. For example, if one parent becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, it may be in the child’s best interests to modify custody. A parent can seek a modification of either legal custody, physical custody, or both. The Court may find that an immediate change in temporary custody is necessary for the emotional and physical safety of the child.
The parents may also be ordered to participate in a custody study or a custody evaluation in order to determine what is best for the child involved. If the parents are still not able to resolve the custody dispute, the Court will hold an evidentiary hearing where the parties will present evidence in the form of witnesses, documents, experts, and evaluation reports. The Court will then make a decision based on the evidence presented.
Determining child custody the first time can pose a serious challenge, and a modification of child custody is no different. With an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer, you can ensure that the best interests of your children are met.
At Clausen & Hassan, our lawyers pride themselves on how they serve our clients. Please reach out today for your free consultation—you can call our office at (651) 647-0087 or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.