In many child custody cases, there comes a point where one party wants to modify the custodial arrangement already in place.  This can be for legal custody, the right to make big decisions regarding your child, or physical custody, where your child resides on a daily basis.  Modifying either kind of custody is controlled by Minnesota statute.

Child’s Best Interests

In order to change custody, a parent must prove that circumstances have changed since the prior order awarding custody and that it is in the child’s best interests to modify custody.  In addition, the parties must agree to change custody, the child must be integrated into the home of the noncustodial parent with the custodial parent’s consent, the child is endangered by the current environment, or the custodial parent requested to move out of state, was denied, and did it anyway.

This standard is not an easy one to reach if the parties are not in agreement.  The court must hold multiple hearings to determine whether custody should be transferred, and the final hearing is basically a trial on the issue.

Once the court has heard a case to modify custody, there is a two-year waiting period before it will hear another request on that topic.  It is important to understand the legal standard and make sure you have enough evidence to go forward the first time.  Modification cases are very complex, and it is advisable to have an attorney assist you to make sure you are doing everything properly.