As your children grow up and the circumstances of the parties change, the custody ordered in your divorce or custody case by the court may no longer work for your family. It is possible to modify the provisions of custody order, but you must meet the legal standards for modification. The primary grounds for a modification of custody are:
- agreement of the parties;
- integration (integrated into the family of the petitioner with consent of the other party);
- endangerment (present environment endangers child’s physical or emotional health); and
- persistent and willful denial or interference with parenting time.
In addition, the court must find that there has been a change of circumstances of the child or the parties since the prior order and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child. For information about the best interest factors in Minnesota, please visit our blog post Minnesota’s New Custody Statute and the Best Interest Factors.
Custody modification, when there is no agreement of the parties, is a two-step process. The Court decides at a motion hearing based on the written submission of the parties and their arguments at the motion hearing whether there is a prima facie case for custody modification. This means that there must be clear evidence of one of the grounds for custody modification. If the party seeking a change in custody is successful at this stage, the matter will be set for an evidentiary hearing (trial) to determine if the change of custody is in the child’s best interest.
It can be difficult to modify custody, so it is important to have experienced attorneys on your side. To discuss your legal questions with an experienced child custody modification attorney contact Tentinger Law Firm at 952-953-3330 or use our quick contact form.