During the divorce process, one of the biggest decisions the court makes concerns the custody of your children. At the time of the divorce, the court will use the best interests of the children as the guide for determining custody.

However, after the divorce is over, there are sometimes instances where a parent wishes to modify the custody provisions outlined in the original court order. While this is never an easy process, our custody modification lawyers in Minnesota can help you through the process – no matter which side you are on.

Four-Step Analysis

When one party wishes to modify custody, there are four basic elements the court will review:

First, the court will examine whether or not there has been a substantial change in the circumstances since the original order was issued. Substantial changes in circumstances can relate to a variety of factors, including schedule, finances, health changes, and more.

Second, the court will determine whether or not the modification in custody would be in the best interests of the child. This will follow the same basic process that was used to make the original determination of custody.

Third, the court will determine whether or not the child has been integrated into the non-custodial parent’s home based on the other parent’s consent OR whether or not the child’s physical or emotional well-being is endangered by the present environment.

Finally, the court will determine whether or not the burden that is associated with modifying custody will be outweighed by the benefit to the child. In other words, the courts will make sure the potential benefits for the child will not be eliminated by the potential harm of changing custody.

The Court Process

In order to modify custody, the parent seeking the modification must make a motion to the court. Once this motion is made, the court will accept the allegations within the motion as true. If the allegations rise to the level of endangerment or integration, the court will schedule an evidentiary hearing (trial). During this hearing, the court will make a final decision concerning custody modification. Our experienced child custody modification attorneys in Minnesota can provide valued assistance during this complex process.