When the court orders a custody arrangement, both the custodial and non-custodial parents have the right to seek a modification.
However, the Minnesota family court has very strict modification requirements and always considers the best interests of the child above all else.
Factors determining eligibility for modification
To be eligible for a modification of custody, one of the following must be true:
- Both parents agree to the modification presented.
- The custodial parent created an environment that endangers the emotional or physical well-being of the child, making the benefits of modification more prevalent that the harm it may cause.
- The custodial parent consented to the child’s integration into the non-custodial parent’s family.
If both parents cannot agree on a new arrangement, it is up to the parent applying for modification to provide evidence of the need for a change.
Evidence to support a change of custody
Some common examples of evidence used to support a request for modification include:
- Proof of poor discipline in the home affecting the child’s school performance or behavior
- Proof of neglect affecting school or behavior
- Proof the custodial parent is either physically, emotionally or sexually abusive to the child
- A request for modification from the child in addition to supportive evidence
Every case has unique circumstances, and the court will consider everything, including the preferences of older children. The older the child is, the more consideration the court gives to their preference and opinion.
Absent any abuse allegations, parents are often better off working out custody changes outside of the court.