Your Michigan custody order or parenting time plan breaks down how you share time with your children with their other parent. It also delegates parental authority and financial responsibility to both of you.
The Michigan family courts expect that divorced or separated parents will abide by the terms detailed in their custody orders by cooperating and communicating with one another. Either parent could ask for enforcement if the other won’t abide by the plan.
However, a parenting plan can easily become outdated and leave a family in a difficult situation. Parents in Michigan have the option of requesting a modification hearing to update their custody order in certain situations. These are just a few of the family circumstances that might justify a modification request.
1. A change in schedules
Have your children transitioned into middle school and high school, meaning they now have sports and theater practice in addition to their standard school day? Has one of the parents started a new job?
When family schedules change dramatically, the breakdown of parenting time or the schedule outlining how the parents share that time may need to change. Parents may agree about those changes or may have to go to court to litigate a contested modification request if they don’t see eye to eye.
2. A change in relationships
The teenage years often mean a lot of strain on the relationships between parents and children. Perhaps the oldest child in a family no longer wants to have overnight visits with their other parent because they constantly argue. Maybe it is a new baby in the family or remarriage that has strained the relationship that children have with either parent. Either a significant worsening or improvement of one parent-child relationship could justify a modification request to alter the division of parenting time.
3. A change in health
Issues ranging from a parent’s diagnosis of alcoholism to a child’s diagnosis of cancer could drastically change the needs of the entire family unit. Both a child’s needs and a parent’s ability to meet them can influence custody matters.
The Michigan family courts will allow modification requests when parents agree about specific changes or when there has been a major change in the situation that could affect what is actually best for the children. Recognizing when a situation may justify a modification can help parents who are trying to manage a co-parenting arrangement that is no longer working to their child’s maximum benefit.