Child custody disputes are some of the most contentious during a divorce. If you were denied child custody, you may think there is nothing you can do about it. Fortunately, that is not always true. Just as judges can issue child custody orders, they can also modify them, so child custody decisions are not always permanent. If you want to modify your child custody arrangements, or need to respond to a motion to change custody, below is the information that can help.
If you want to modify your current child custody arrangements, the first step is to speak to your former spouse. They may agree to the changes you want to make. Even if they do, you cannot change child custody arrangements until a judge issues a new order.
You must file a motion with the court, no matter what the other parent says, asking the family law judge to change the child custody order. You must file an Objection to Ex Parte Order and Motion to Rescind or Modify if you need to change an ex parte order. An ex parte order is one that is issued without the other party being notified or having a chance to respond. You must file a Motion Regarding Custody for any other child custody modification.
You will have to pay a small fee when filing a motion and once it is filed, it will be served to the other parent. You will also be given a hearing date and at that time, you and the other parent can attend and argue for or against the modification. After hearing from both sides, the judge will then make a decision and if appropriate, issue a new order.
Just as it is important that you know how to ask for a modification when necessary, it is just as critical to know how to respond to one if you are served. The first step to take is to carefully read document. The motion will outline the other parent’s requests as well as the specifics of the upcoming hearing.
After being served with the motion, you have three options. You can submit a response in writing and attend the hearing, you can only attend the hearing, or you can take no action. It is recommended that you submit a written response and attend the hearing. The judge can review your response before the hearing and during it, you can raise any arguments you have against the change.
If you need to modify your child custody order, or need to defend against a motion, our Grand Rapids child custody lawyers at Van Den Heuvel Law Office can help. Our skilled attorneys will guide you through the entire process and give you the best chance of success with your case. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.
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