When a pair of Minnesota parents files for divorce, they must work out an agreement regarding financial provision and temporal care of their children. If the former spouses in question get along well enough, they can often negotiate the terms of an agreement without going to court, then seek the court’s approval after they devise a plan. Whether achieved through litigation or alternative means, once the court issues a child custody order, both parents must adhere to its terms, no matter what.
While a child custody order remains perpetually valid and enforceable, that does not necessarily mean that the judge overseeing the case will not modify the order. A parent can petition the court to request it. There are numerous reasons that the court may consider legitimate cause to modify its orders.
Issues that may prompt the court to modify a child custody order
A family court’s main objective is to help parents achieve a settlement that is centrally focused on their children’s best interests as they move on in life after divorce. The following list includes issues that might merit modification of a child custody order:
- A concerned parent provides evidence that the other parent is abusing or neglecting the children.
- A parent has remarried and is relocating to another area in or out of state.
- One parent’s work schedule has changed, so the time and location for custody exchanges no longer aligns with the schedule.
- There is evidence that a co-parent is abusing drugs or alcohol.
The average family court judge might consider any of these issues a legitimate cause for requesting modification of a child custody order.
Parents should not take matters into their own hands
It is imperative that parents wait for the court to grant approval of a request to modify a child custody order before implementing any changes to the existing court order. Disregarding an existing court order can spur legal problems, as the judge in question may find a parent in contempt of court. A parent who has questions about the process of petitioning the court may seek answers by requesting a meeting with an experienced family law attorney, ahead of time.