When couples enter into a child custody agreement in Michigan, there may come a time when a plan that was once mutually acceptable no longer works for one or both parents. It’s sometimes possible for parents to directly communicate and make appropriate adjustments with arrangements. However, if this isn’t possible, another option is to seek a formal child custody modification.

In some instances, a child custody modification is sought because the child is either in danger or not in a safe situation with the other parent. This may include instances of domestic violence, or a child being unwilling to remain in a custodial parent’s home because of potentially harmful circumstances. If the reason for seeking a modification involves a physical relocation by one parent, a court often considers whether or not the move renders an existing visitation schedule impractical or entirely impossible. The impact of a custody modification on a child’s life is often considered as well.

If an ex repeatedly ignores a visitation schedule, a court may first attempt to find out why the other parent is not cooperating. It’s also not unusual for a judge to require parents to attempt to communicate with one another to work out custody issues before considering modification. Lastly, modification of custody arrangements would be necessary if the custodial parent dies. Typically, courts favor the non-custodial parent in situations like this. But alternative arrangements may be considered if it’s not possible for a non-custodial parent to assume full custody.

Before an official legal proceeding takes place, a child custody attorney may attempt to negotiate a reasonable and mutually acceptable modification between parents without court intervention. This process sometimes involves mediation or arbitration, which can be less time-consuming than seeking a formal custody modification. If negotiation efforts fail or unique circumstances apply, the standard, court-involved process might be more appropriate.