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Oct 24 2021

Modifying Child Custody Arrangements

The child custody arrangements that you and your children’s other parent originally negotiated between yourselves – or that the court handed down – may have been relevant and workable at the time, but times change – and so too do families’ schedules and children’s evolving needs and involvements. The law recognizes that child custody arrangements that worked when your children were toddlers may no longer apply (as your children continue to gain more independence), and child custody modifications are its response. If you have questions or concerns about modifying your child custody arrangements, reach out to an experienced Minnesota family law attorney today.

When You Are Both in Agreement

If you and your children’s other parent are in agreement about the need for a child custody modification and how you would like to resolve it, you can negotiate the terms between yourselves and present the modification to the court for its approval. It is not, however, a good idea to simply make the changes between yourselves without making it official with the court. 

If this is the route you go, your original child custody orders will remain legally binding, and if your ex decides to pull the rug out from under you regarding your new arrangements, the court can deem you non-compliant, which can make obtaining a child custody modification that much more difficult. 

The Basics

The modification process for child custody arrangements can be complicated, but having professional legal counsel in your corner can prove exceptionally helpful. The most important point to make when it comes to a child custody modification is that the court always bases its decisions on the children’s best interests, and within this context, all of the following apply:

  • A motion to modify custody cannot be filed unless it has been at least a full year since the divorce was finalized and the original custody order was implemented. 
  • If a request for a child custody modification was filed in the past (whether or not it was granted), you must wait at least two years before filing one again. 
  • If both parents are in agreement about child custody modifications, however, the time limitations are waived. 

Additionally, the court will waive the waiting period if there is evidence that the children involved are endangered and/or if one parent is purposefully intervening in the other’s established parenting time schedule. 

A Significant Change

Child custody modifications are often granted in relation to significant change, and both the following apply:

  • A significant change has occurred in the lives of the children and/or one or both of the parents that supports a modification.
  • The change happened after the original order was implemented (or it was unknown at that time).

An Experienced Minnesota Family Law Attorney Can Help

The skilled Minnesota family law attorneys at Atticus Family Law recognize the important role that child custody modifications can play in the lives of families, and we’re committed to harnessing our considerable experience in dedicated pursuit of your case’s optimal outcome. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.       

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