Reasons for Changing Visitation in Michigan

An overview of the legitimate reasons the court recognizes for needing to change a child visitation agreement.

While it is important to set up and maintain child custody and visitation arrangements during your divorce proceedings, the truth is that life changes as time goes on. While custody and visitation arrangements are made with "the best interest of the child" at their core, those interests alter with changes in your child's life. And with changes in life come changes in visitation. Your child's interests and activities at the time of your divorce will not be the same as he grows up. Because of the changes in his life, your visitation schedule may need to be modified.

The Michigan court will always consider "the best interest of the child" and want to create a stable, nurturing environment.

Change Custody or Visitation Times

At the time of your divorce, the court ordered specific custody and visitation arrangements. The truth is, these arrangements are modified by parents all the time. If work issues arise, or an activity occurs, parents will alter the court's schedule. When both parents are willing to make this work, things continue smoothly. When one parent refuses to adhere to the court's schedule or makes the other parent's visitation schedule difficult or impossible to implement. For example, if you are granted visitation every other weekend, but the custodial parent makes it impossible for you to see your child, the court should become involved.

"Liberal and Reasonable Visitation"

Occasionally, the court will grant the non-custodial parent "liberal and reasonable visitation." While on its face this seems an excellent way for the parents to work out visitation issues as they arise, this could lead to more frustration than a specific visitation schedule. If you and the other party are constantly arguing over what "liberal and reasonable visitation" means, this may be an issue best brought to the court's attention. If you feel that your visitation should be every weekend and once during the week, and the custodial parent feels that every other weekend and no visitation during the week is liberal and reasonable, then the court can step in. An experienced attorney will be able to present your needs in the best way possible. Your Michigan family law attorney may create a stipulated order which both parties agree to, or, if the parties don't agree, your attorney can draft a motion for the court.

Change in Circumstance

If you want the court to grant an order changing visitation, you must show that there is a change in circumstance that warrants this modification. The change in circumstance happens when there is a material change having a significant effect in the conditions surrounding the custody of the child since the last custody order. While Michigan courts have moved to a more relaxed standard of modifying visitation schedules, an experienced attorney is critical in order to safeguard your rights. If you and the custodial parent are not able to work with each other, a modification to the court order will help safeguard your rights and determine what is in your child's best interest.

Custodial Parent Moves

On occasion, the custodial parent may want to move. This will severely alter the visitation schedule.In order for a parental relocation to occur for up to 100 miles from a child's home, or to another state, the court will consider the following:

  • Will the move improve quality of life for the parent and child?
  • Has visitation been adhered to, or is the custodial parent requesting the move intending to frustrate the parent seeking visitation?
  • Will the custodial parent be likely to comply with substitute visitation orders?
  • Is the non-custodial parent resisting the relocation in order to secure a financial advantage regarding continuing support obligations?
  • Are there realistic opportunities for visitation to preserve the parental relationship?
  • Is domestic violence an issue?

Parental relocation requests are difficult to seek and execute, as well as to contest and prevent. An experienced attorney will help you work with the court to determine your child's best interests.

Contact a Knowledgeable, Experienced Attorney

Modification of child visitation is not easy. The laws have changed recently, making it vital that you have a knowledgeable, experienced Michigan divorce attorney working for you. Contact The Law Office of Patrick L. Chatterton to discuss how to best work toward changing your visitation rights for your child's best interests. Flint, MI family law attorney Patrick L. Chatterton will work with you to make sure your rights are preserved. Call us at (810) 767-0407 to schedule a consultation.

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